Italian food group Barilla, which has three restaurants in the US, has opened its first outlet in the Middle East.

Barilla opened the restaurant in Dubai on Monday (28 November) through a partnership with UAE-based conglomerate The Al-Futtaim Group. The companies plan to open another outlet and said the restaurants will “lead the way” for more outlets in the Middle East.

Omar Al Futtaim, vice chairman and CEO of The Al-Futtaim Group, said: “Barilla is one of the most famous food brands in the world, with many years of history and warm Italian culture. For us, these first two Barilla Restaurants in Dubai represent the start of much bigger plans.”

Barilla opened its first restaurant in New York City in 2013. Last year, the pasta maker opened two more in the city. Next year, it plans to open three outlets in Los Angeles.

“The long-term objective is to create a chain of restaurants where people can become familiar with the Mediterranean diet, eat quality Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza, sandwiches and salads at the right price, in an informal setting,” Barilla vice chairman Luca Barilla said. “Our arrival in the Middle East is part of a growth plan in an area which sees an increasing interest in pasta and high-quality Italian cuisine. The success of the restaurants in the United States has prompted us to tackle this new challenge.”

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By GlobalData

A spokesperson for Barilla told just-food the company has “no plans for now” to open restaurants outside the US or the Middle East.