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  • Writer's pictureHunger Leads

AKIBA DORI | Japanese

We were craving Akiba Dori’s Tokyo Neapolitan Pizzas for lunch and this was sadly a let-down since our visit last year. It’s quite a sad sight when you walk into a restaurant at the peak of the lunch hour to find it empty of diners – unfortunately, that’s the way it is. On seeing it void, the décor seems quite dated and the arcade game industry has passed its peak even in Japan. It doesn’t make you want to spend any great length of time in there except to eat. The only thing missing in this picture is the Mario Brothers theme tune sounding off when you push the door open to walk in.


No fuss was made of us and we had choice to sit wherever we wanted, so we chose to be by the wood-fired pizza oven out of relevance. There were cleaning staff dusting areas and wiping windows at what seemed an odd time to be housekeeping. We ordered a Wagyu Tacos to share with homemade tortillas, yuzu-marinated wagyu beef, avocado salsa, caramelized onions and chives and I’m not going to beat about the bush on this – it was not at all good. If it was wagyu beef, it was wasted in the deep-fried tortilla shells, the chives were missing, and the French fries may just as well have come from McDonalds.

Wagyu Tacos with homemade tortillas, yuzu-marinated wagyu beef, avocado salsa, caramelized onions and chives.

The pizzaiolo didn’t once look up to say hello. When your restaurant is empty, at least make the effort to acknowledge the people about to eat your pizzas. The restaurant only opens at 12pm and we made our entrance just before 1pm, so it had not yet been a long and busy day. There’s no excuse for indifference if business is slow! The Spianata pizza with its scanty servings of mascarpone, mozzarella, pecorino romano, spicy Italian salami, datterini tomatoes, basil leaves and olive oil looked very barren, and an expensive pizza at AED71, especially when it’s mostly dough. I chose the Truffle Strata which, on the other hand, was a far better experience. With oregano, basil, shimeji mushrooms, truffle stracciatella and olive oil, it was a good job its flavour and toppings were more generous, as I was beginning to lose hope. At least we got something positive out of the visit!

Spianata pizza with mascarpone, mozzarella, pecorino romano, spicy Italian salami, datterini tomatoes, basil leaves and olive oil.
Truffle Strata with oregano, basil, shimeji mushrooms, truffle stracciatella and olive oil.

It's an expensive lunch which will unlikely be repeated. Shame, as we could have sworn these were some of the best pizzas in town the first-time round.

Akiba Dori's wood fire pizza oven.
Akiba Dori's arcade theme.
Akiba Dori window art.
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