Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mini-restaurant review: Spaccanapoli, Crowne Plaza, Abu Dhabi

For all the money I've spent on eating out in Abu Dhabi, I haven't had very many good meals. So I've decided to start rating my restaurant meals, perhaps helping others avoid my mistakes. I am not going to get fancy, or pretentious, but I will give a rating: from one to five smiley faces. Cause that's what I look like when I've had a good meal.

Please do not judge me for how often I eat out.

Onto to Spaccanapoli, which I heard about on Twitter (thanks Twitter). I have never eaten at a Crowne Plaza Restaurant before because frankly, one night when I was there having cocktails, I decided that hotel smelled funny. (I can't vouch for the smell now – I entered Spaccanapoli from Hamdan Street and it smelled great. The restaurant, not the street)

On to the first thing I loved about Spaccanapoli: the street entrance. So many restaurants are tucked away in hotels that it's a bit stifling. Going in off the street helps me pretend I am at home. Someplace a bit more normal to me. Points for the trendy clean decor, and the faux library in the tiny bar. The food was delish (although the 1/2 metre pizza, above, was silly-big for three of us). We also had some yummy gnocchi, which was a little too samey to the pizza (our bad for ordering it and not a mushroom papardalle we had previously considered) and an awesome salad with smooth blue cheese and apples. The meal is preceded by baskets of warm flatbread served with roasted garlic (!) and tart chunks of parmesan, with a cool intertwined olive oil and balsamic set of bottles on the table for your pouring. As usual, due to the bread we were all full by the time our mains arrived.

There was also the requisite confusing-service moment, which I find a meal is rarely complete without. After our martinis had taken a really long time to arrive, the server explained "someone took the olives, and we are just waiting".

The best part though, was when the bill arrived. Spaccanapoli is not expensive at all! The massive pizza, most of it sent home in a box, salad, entree, bottle of pinot grigio and 5 martinis all came to a cool Dh630 dirhams. We all agreed we have paid twice that for meals we liked less. Next time I want to try the yummy-looking appetizer bar.

Also, and I consider this a major bonus, the toilets are self-flushing. And that is why, Spaccanapoli gets :) :) :) :)


Hanz said...

Nice interesting website..

Unknown said...

The pizza at Bricco Cafe (Khalidiya and Wahda mall) is pretty tasty, too. The mall atmosphere doesn't lend much to the experience, and it does lose points for inability to pair with a beer, but it's still damn good - especially the roasted veggie. As for Spaccanapoli, you had me at roasted garlic. Will definitely give it a try. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I give this review :):):):):). More please.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

dear ann marie,
On behalf of the Crowne plaza abu dhabi, i would like to thank you for your valuable feedback and review.
I would like to inform you also that we have a new asian restaurant "CHO GAO" which also offer very tasty food & fantastic service and value for money(non-smoking restaurant).
I look forward welcoming you and your friends again in our hotel.
best regards
Cedric Gaillard
Crowne plaza abu dhabi

minpeppex said...

Am I allowed to say that the head chef of Spaccanapoli is my cousin, and I can only confirm he is a very talented young chef, who puts great passion, heart and soul in his work... and I'm so proud of him, especially for the effort in spreading our genuine Italian cuisine abroad!

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