Some restaurants just hit a soft spot. It doesn't matter that the food misses a beat here and there, there is something that makes you return time after time. Tomato in the Muscat InterContinental hotel is such a restaurant.
This Italian themed restaurant is pleasantly located in the garden of the hotel, and has a casual, yet elegant feel. Its outside location make it especially pleasant in the cooler months. It's closed in the hottest summer months.
Now, why is this a favourite? Certainly not because of the wine list. There isn't any. Unless you count the short selection of mediocre wines as such. Better stick to beer, unless you're a fan of JP Chenet. The menu isn't spectacular either, but lists a good bunch of well-made classics. The carpaccio is an all time favourite, although Mr. R usually orders this without the annoying pile of mushrooms that comes with it. The mushroom risotto is seriously good, and the pizzas are well-made and thin-crusted.
But there are disappointments too. There are hardly any changes in the menu. And if new dishes appear (as they did not too long ago), they are not always a success. All too often dishes are not in line with the pure and honest Italian kitchen. If you stick to your favourites, you're alright, but if you dare to experiment, you might end up with a less than stellar experience. And it's not exactly cheap either. Expect to pay around 20 to 25 OMR per person (including drinks).
Then why do we keep coming back to Tomato? Simple. It's a nice place to be. The atmosphere is friendly, the service good, the view stunning and the food decent. Don't think about it, and enjoy. That kind of place. And that's just what we're looking for every now and then.