With so many new restaurants having opened recently, we tend to forget about the classics. When I had the opportunity to visit Bocca located at Hilton Abu Dhabi I was curious to see if this classic Italian restaurant matched up to the newer contenders.
Firstly, the location, Bocca is slightly hidden away at the far side of the hotel, although easily signposted from outside we do have to ask for some assistance finding the restaurant once in the hotel. However, as we arrive we receive a warm Italian welcome.
The restaurant has an open pizza kitchen where guests can watch the pizzas being freshly made. The décor itself is refined, burgundy leather seats, low lighting and dark wooden floors make for a stylish venue. The floor to ceiling windows ensure we can watch the world go by as we dine, with views overlooking the Corniche.
As we look through the menu we enjoy warm home-made breads with a selection of dips, ranging from the creamy pesto and cheese, sundried tomato and chili to the salty olives and anchovy. Finally, after much deliberation we decide on the burrata and bruschetta, two classic Italian dishes.
Served on a bed of tomatoes and olives and finished with balsamic reduction the burrata is light and smooth, the thick outer shell quickly breaks to the touch of my knife, a great start to our dining experience. My dining companion is enjoying the bruschetta. The bruschetta is not your typical bruschetta, served on grilled sourdough bread with buffalo ricotta and wild forest mushrooms. If you love mushrooms you will love this bruschetta.
Up next our mains. I select the calzone, whilst my dining companion selects the pizza Napoli. After seeing the pizzas being freshly made we couldn’t resist a pizza even though the pasta dishes sound delightful. The calzone is packed with gooey mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers and tomato sauce. If you like mozzarella this is the pizza for you, it literally flows out of the calzone. The pizza Napoli smells amazing, topped with a generous helping of mozzarella, capers, anchovies and black olives, this pizza has a thin crusty base, unlike the light and fluffy folded calzone.
Finally, dessert. I’m a huge fan of Italian desserts, so I was curious to see what was on the menu. The team advise me that the chocolate fondente is made fresh and takes around 20 minutes to bake. The thought of a warm chocolate fondente was too much to resist, even for me. My dining companion goes totally the opposite way and orders the traditional Sicilian cannolo with flavoured ricotta and pistachio. Both desserts were yummy but the chocolate fondente was excellent, served with vanilla ice cream and cut strawberries, it’s one to try.
Overall Bocca provided a lovely dining experience. The team are very welcoming and the restaurant manager Luca and Chef Leonardo both took the time not only to welcome us, but other guests in the restaurant. This classic Italian still has a place in Abu Dhabi’s dining scene.
Bocca, Hilton Abu Dhabi, 02 692 4247