Just in case it slipped by you, UNESCO has officially added Neapolitan pizza to its list of civilization’s glories. A step we heartily endorse. To celebrate we started our weekend early and slipped across to the authentic Italian restaurant in Sheikh Zayed, Olivo at Arkan Plaza to have a pizza binge.
Type of cuisine: Pizza, pizza, pizza. And some really good salads.
Signature dishes: Truffle Oil Margherita pizza, a deceptively simple but indulgent artisanal delight, Bresaola pizza, Sausage pizza, Spicy Salami pizza and 4 Stagioni pizza.
Dishes sampled: Whilst nibbling on pretzels to stave off our hunger pangs, we deliberated over our choice of pizza. The menu may be concise, but there are a lot of tempting options. The Sausage and 4 Stagioni won, and didn’t disappoint. The pizzas are huge, so we were happy to share. The winner had to be the Sausage. The spiciness of the generous chunks of sausage was set off by the mound of fresh rucola placed directly on top, a great combination. The 4 Stagioni was a work of art, with slices of smoked turkey, artichoke, mushroom and glistening black olives, a real flavor fest. Bear in mind that although the pizzas are really large, the carb element is kept to a minimum. The pizza base is made from top quality Italian flour, oven-fired and wafer thin, so the flavor is there, but without unwanted stodginess.
Our Caprese Salad was fresh; the mozzarella melted in the mouth without any hint of the rubbery texture so often encountered and the portion was easily large enough to serve four. We also loved the Rucola Salad, a visual treat as well as being tasty. The garnish of pomegranate, sweet corn and cherry tomato was well balanced and enhanced by the light coating of balsamic vinaigrette. Although we wouldn’t have said no to a glass of something to wind up the workweek, we contented ourselves with a soft drink and Virgin Piña Colada. The full bar is available too.
Other menu options that appealed: The Baby Artichoke with Truffle oil, and definitely the Quattro Fromaggi pizza with a combination of blue cheese, Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella.
Beverage options: For the moment, only soft options along with Nespresso and tea, but a full bar coming soon.
Décor: The interior is simple and rustic with plain tables and Bentwood chairs. The simple whitewashed brick walls have heavy iron framed mirrors as decoration, with a burst of color coming from the huge red wood-burning pizza oven and the vintage tiles adorning the bar front. There is a choice of low or high seating, so everyone is catered to. The outdoor area will be a delight in summer, the ‘distressed’ effect pastel tones of the simple wooden tables and chairs work nicely with the fresh foliage and flowers. We can’t wait.
Ambience: Casual, food focused, with a down-to -atmosphere. It’s more about the pizza than having a romantic date night. The music is an upbeat mix of Latino and mainstream pop, so the mood stays cheerful.
Clientele mix: Anyone and everyone who likes pizza. Couples, groups of friends and families would all feel at home.
Price range: Moderate, but considering that the portion sizes can be shared it needn’t break your budget.
Opening hours: 12 pm to 1 am.
Address: Arkan Plaza, Sheikh Zayed
Tel: 0122 077 7680