Olivia’s Italian Restaurant

Flawless business lunch spot at Adnec Discuss this article

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A pizza joint in an exhibition centre. Hmm. Call us snobby, but we didn’t have high hopes for Olivia’s, especially since the only other eatery we saw on the way through Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre was a branch of Chipstix. But we shouldn’t have been so quick to judge, as Olivia’s turned out to be the perfect place to enjoy a smart business lunch. Although it’s at the heart of Adnec, Olivia’s is completely closed off from the hustle and bustle of the grandstand area, so you immediately feel a million miles away from whatever exhibition is being held. The atmosphere is smart but not stuffy, with formal tableware and decor in subtle shades of olive purple and plum, while, unsurprisingly, most of the guests are businessmen and women from the nearby conference centres. Given its location and business hours (Olivia’s is only open between noon and 3.30pm) the restaurant has kept the menu short and classic, with just a salad bar, pizza and pasta on offer. But the food is anything but simple.

For starters, the salad bar was a real treat. We’d rarely lavish praise on something as humble as a help-yourself salad station, but this one included a mouth-watering selection of cheeses, gourmet options such as pulped melon with pesto, as well as a fresh array of vegetables, fish and meat. Considering a helping costed a ridiculously low Dhs25, it was all surprisingly good quality and needless to say, we piled our plates high. The pizza was also a treat. We couldn’t help but order the camel pizza (mainly for the novelty factor), and found it had an intense flavour with a strong kick of cinnamon. It was so strongly spiced, in fact, that we could easily have mistaken the meat for beef or lamb, but, regardless, it was certainly a pizza we’d order again. As for the quattro formaggi, it had pools of blue cheese melted on top, just the way we like it, and a perfectly thin, crispy base. Everything was served as quickly as you’d hope for in a restaurant catering to busy business people, so all in all it was a pretty flawless lunch.

The bill (for two)
2x salad bar Dhs50
Camel pizza Dhs48
Quatro formaggi Dhs35
Total (excluding service) Dhs133

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Al Safraat, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 444 6900
  • Travel: Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street

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