‘Cheese, wine and a friend must be old to be good.’ Cuban Proverb
Spaccanapoli Ristorante, located right in the heart of the city at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, is the understated Italian restaurant known throughout town for its signature metre long pizza creations. We have visited many times for dinner but what I didn’t know until now is that this rustic restaurant offers diners a competitively priced weekly five-hour cheese and wine night that certainly attracts an avid weekday crowd.
As culinary pleasures go we all know cheese and wine make an excellent pairing and what better thing to do on a Monday evening then feast on imported Italian formaggio washed down with a variety of house red and white wines. Alongside the centrally displayed cheese boards, Spaccanapoli offers diners a hot soup starter (a delicious leek and potato variety when we visited) and an antipasti bar offering a mix of cold Italian dishes and salads. Those not content with just antipasti and cheese can order a main course from the regular a la carte menu for just AED 50*, desserts are also available for those with a sweet tooth at an additional cost.
Ten varieties of Italian cheeses are artfully arranged on slate boards at various levels, jars of nuts, chutneys and jellies are placed sporadically alongside with assorted fresh and dried fruit along with crackers and baskets of different types of breads and breadsticks. Choose from soft cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk varieties as well as hard cheeses, the mellow Provolone and the creamy Capre Fresca were two notable varieties that I enjoyed. Chunks of parmesan displayed in a parmesan wheel at one end of the display were a perfect accompaniment to the antipasti dishes such as the zucchini and eggplant dishes.
It was great to see the restaurant so busy, the downside of its popularity is that the staff are hard-pressed and while we were very well looked after initially the other half had to wait quite a while to attract someone’s attention to order his main course (a rather large plate of mixed seafood and roasted vegetables). We were also only offered a dessert option as we were preparing to leave after another member of staff told us it was unavailable, while this was a tad disappointing as Italian desserts are always so scrummy it was in hindsight a blessing after all the cheese I had already consumed.
Located on the Mezzanine level, Spaccanapoli (named after the busy narrow touristy promenade in old Naples) has a charming authentic trattoria feel with its stone clad walls, wooden shutters housing paintings of Italian streets, miniature orange trees, vintage lanterns and a large fireplace at one end adding to the cosy ambiance. Like the rustic decor the menu offers a good selection of Italian culinary favourites that includes homemade pasta, seafood, salads, classics such as lasagne, ravioli, tiramisu and of course the renowned metre long pizzas that can feed a whole family (trust me seeing is believing they are gigantic, we once foolishly ordered two). The restaurant offers lots of vegetarian options and gluten free pizza is available on request.
So what makes a good cheese and wine night? Contrasting flavours I would say are a good start, a cheese selection comprising of different strengths and textures is a must, throw in some decent crackers and freshly made bread, a handful of nuts and maybe some crunchy grapes and dried fruit paired with some free flowing vino, preferably like that at Spaccanapoli laid out at a help yourself station.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a little slice of Naples for yourself right here in the capital as the lovely folk at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a dinner for two at Spaccanapoli worth AED 400 via the anexpatabroad Facebook page.
To be in with a chance of winning this great prize you just need to……..
Visit anexpatabroad on Facebook and like the page (not just the post).
Tag the person who you would like to take to dinner at Spaccanapoli Restaurant.
Click here to enter – the competition will close at midnight on Thursday 10th November. The winner, who will be chosen at random, will be announced on the anexpatabroad Facebook page on Friday 11th November. The dinner for two voucher must be used at Spaccanapoli Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi within three months of issue, after this date the voucher will be invalid. This competition is open to UAE residents only.
Location: Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street
Telephone: 02 616 6261
Opening Hours: Daily for lunch and dinner from 12 noon until 11:00pm
Cheese and Wine – Monday 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Cost*: Cheese and Wine Night AED 119 per person with free flowing wine, unlimited cheese and antipasti (add a main course for just AED 50*)
*Prices are subject to 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and 4% municipality fee.
I was invited to review this restaurant. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photos used courtesy of Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi