Housed in the Crowne Plaza on Hamdam Street, Abu Dhabi, Spaccanapoli is a beautiful Italian restaurant-like tavern that ensures a dining experience as if you were in Naples! Well known for its 1-meter long pizza, the name of the restaurant means much more than a tongue twister. The city of Naples features a long & narrow street which splits the historic centre in two and acts as a promenade for visitors. This resemblance is also seen in the restaurant itself! Entering the restaurant via a flight of stairs, you are greeted into a warm, yet cozy restaurant setting. Prior to that, you enter a “tavern” (so to speak) that features a very ambient room for a “pre-meal”. Quite desperately waiting to try out the restaurant’s classics, we headed in..
Sitting down at the restaurant spoke vibes of comfort, coziness and had the elegance of a “Fine Dining” establishment. With hints of wooded walls and quite a romantic ambient lighting, this was definitely an Italian heaven! We were greeted by very warm and friendly staff who explained to us about the menu and the offering for the day. And of course, which Italian restaurant wouldn’t serve you bread? The best part I found about Spaccanapoli was that the warm bread is accompanied by Roasted Garlic. Don’t get me wrong, I think bread goes perfectly well with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. But this pair with roasted garlic actually seemed really good!
As usual, we did a bit of looking around. We discovered…the cheese barrel!
There’s more than the cheese barrel that attracted us though. It was the overall look and feel of the restaurant itself. Well, in some eyes, it may not be the most perfect place for a date, nonetheless, it still is a warm and cozy dining room!
Let’s Start with Starters or Antipasti
Who doesn’t love a good plate of Italian starters? From Insalata Caprese (yes, I know its a salad) to Fritto Misto to Carpaccio! With this dilemma, it was a bit difficult to point on one dish itself. However, we did opt to go for the sharing platter which provided a good balance of all the dishes we wanted to try! (Side note: we requested the staff to sub the Eggplant Parmigiana with Scallops). A bit more bread and garlic and mocktails down… Oh wait, the mocktails! So I called for a virgin Piña Colada. Guilty as charged, I shamelessly went for two…
With a bit of conversation about the beautiful restaurant, were were greeted with our (beautiful and slightly customized) sharing platter…
Let’s work on it one by one. Before I get to that, you must know that being a foodie is always about deconstructing what the plate offers. Presentation is obviously key, but a sharing platter like this can obviously be a bit more complicated. I mean, you literally have five dishes put in one. This isn’t a very easy task (to be honest), however, it was presented to us in a beautiful way.
The scallops were quite perfectly cooked! Simple and seared to perfection, I do wish we had gone for a plate of its own. It was honestly incredible! Perfectly soft and tender, the scallops had a beautiful creamy bite to it with each fork-ful!
The Fritto Misto
With a mix of seafood essentially made up of squid, mussels, prawns and a white fish fillet, this deep fried dish was as simple as it can be. Bear in mind that Fritto Mistos are usually oily and quite greasy, however, this one was absolutely perfect!
The Buratta (middle)
Quite a special to this dish itself, Burattas are a favorite! Having worked in an Italian kitchen, I know how Burattas are supposed to be. And my, this did take me for a surprise. Rich and creamy, I loved how this cheese just melted on the pallet. I’d definitely go back for more.
A lot goes on about how bruschettas are simple to make and contain virtually no ingredients at all. However, chopped tomatoes (with a hint of basil), served on a warm toast of garlic bread, was just a beautiful combination!
The Beef Carpaccio
There’s a reason why I put this last – because it was just too awesome! Now if you read my post about the Saturday Brunch at Koi, you’d find that I spoke about a Salmon Carpaccio. Quite simply put, this version of a carpaccio was absolutely melt-in-the-mouth! Yes, I know it’s raw beef and it might be a bit “weird” for some of you folks, but trust me on this one, the beef carpaccio at Spaccanapoli was absolutely amazing! This slices of heaven, with a squirt of mayo on top of it (to give it that bit of acidity), and of course the peppery notes from the Rocket leaves was a beautiful combination!
Let’s get on with the mains…
Who doesn’t love pasta at an Italian restaurant? Well, it seemed like a pasta day, which is why we didn’t go for the 1 meter long pizza! However, the choice of going for a ravioli was definitely the right choice! Most certainly elegantly served on a long rectangular plate, the dish contained little pockets of heaven tossed in a bisque sauce. The lobster meat inside each homemade ravioli was amazingly delicious. With sweet notes from lobster meat itself, and more creamy notes from the sauce, I can’t seem to explain how amazing this dish was! And apart from just being a ravioli dish, you do have pieces of lobster meat in & around the sauce, so you can always nibble on that!
Dolci o Finito (Desserts)
As stuffed as were, it was that time of the evening to opt for desserts. Honestly, what Italian meal is complete without Tiramisu? I know this might be the 150th time, but its been a bit of a struggle to find a really good Tiramisu. And while we continue the hunt, I most certainly will add Spaccanapoli’s version on the list!
Rich and coffee soaked finger biscuits (or Savoiardi) layered in between a rich an creamy Mascarporne Sabayon. Of course, this version seemed like it had a bit of whipped cream in the mixture, nonetheless, it was still very very good! Oh, and a small cookie on top!
Last but not least, was a gorgeous chocolate fondant. Personally, I am not a big fan of chocolate fondants. However, this particular dessert actually tasted quite good, and for those who fancy the chocolate oozing out, yes it does so!
Spaccanapoli features a beautiful array of events everyday:
- Business Lunch – Sundays – Thursdays from 12pm – 4pm
- Cheese & Vino – Mondays from 6pm – 11pm
- Mare e Monti – Wednesdays from 6pm – 11pm
- Italian Mania – Saturdays from 12pm – 11pm
- and a Happy Hour – daily 4pm – 7pm
- In addition to this, the restaurant also invites its guest to celebrate the festive season ahead of us.
An “Italian Mania” that runs for three hours from 7pm to 11pm on Christmas Eve (24th December 2016) and offers an unlimited antipasti buffet, your choice of pizza or pasta and unlimited brew or grape bevs for AED 199 net per person.
The same offering as above from 12pm to 11pm on Christmas Day (25th December 2016).
A lavish 5 course menu to ring in the countdown on New Year’s Eve (31st December 2016) from 7pm till late for AED 356 net per person
Be sure to check them out on facebook –> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spaccanapoli-Crowne-Plaza-Abu-Dhabi/173264832727840?fref=ts