Spaccanapoli - Crowne Plaza, Abu Dhabi

Been an interesting few days. Watched about 8 episodes of The Sopranos in the last 2 days, and when I finished Season 1 on Monday, I felt for some Italian food; food is usually a big part of mob movies.  Oh, Italy: the wine, the sausage, the cheese, the bread!

Mitsuki had her piano lesson as usual and I made a last minute reservation at Spaccanapoli at The Crowne Plaza on Hamdan Street.

Now, I have eaten here maybe 10-15 times in the past. Do I like it? It is ok, without wowing. There are nice elements rather than an overall brilliant experience   The restaurant is a block away from Mitsuki's piano lesson, and on a Monday, it makes it ideally located for us in that sense. It is a cosy restaurant with a warm feel to it.

What I like
The menu is impressive with some great salads, pastas and pizza as well as  some poultry and beef. On this occasion we ordered the Gorgonzola salad and Margherita pizza. The salads are indeed usually fabulous with some intersecting combinations and fresh ingredients. I'd like to recommend the Buffalo Mozzarella salad. Best on the menu.

What needs work
The main issue with Spaccanapoli is the service. It is wildly inconsistent. We have been there on days when there were only 6 diners, but had to wait very long for what we ordered, if we were lucky to find a waiter/waitress. The bread and olive oil - sumptuous by the way - is usually held back until we have to ask for it. We have often arrived having made reservations only to be greeted with a friendly but bemused host. The waiters and waitresses have also often been confused with wine and they do not seem to have a decent knowledge of their product.

The second issue is the food. This too can be very inconsistent, notwithstanding the fact that they have an Italian chef. On a couple of occasions I ordered off the menu and o both times I was disappointed. I ordered a very simple spaghetti pasta with garlic and chilli - bland. The same can be said for the spaghetti Bolognese. As a rule, we stick to the salads and pizza.

On the plus side, they have a nice wine list. I am particularly thrilled with it as they have a few South African wines. This is made even sweeter when you consider that if you dine between 4pm and 7pm, you get a 50% discount on your bill. They allow you to order everything before 7 and you can avail of the discount. This means you can order 6 glasses of wine and get the discount. However, don't be surprised if they bring all 6 glasses to your table at once!

If you like a family friendly place with some decent food options but hit and miss service sweetened by a 50% off price, this is a good place to be.