As the sound of live Italian music and the smell of cigar smoke wafted through the capital's Cristal lounge on Saturday night, business owners and government officials with links to Italy huddled together in rapt conversation.
They had plenty to talk about.
This month, Italians have seen the ushering in of Mario Monti, the new prime minister, following Silvio Berlusconi's resignation after a tumultuous 17-year career in politics. Some felt it was finally time for the flamboyant leader to move on.
"I think Berlusconi should have done more" to prevent the current economic crisis, said Michelangelo dal Bianco, a consultant with Nexus Insurance Brokers in Abu Dhabi.
Sweeping reforms have also been unveiled in a bid to keep the country from falling deeper into economic troubles, and the recommendation to reintroduce a property tax, which could raise as much as €9 billion (Dh44.46bn), has been especially controversial.
Even some Italians living here in the Emirates "are going to be thinking, 'what's going to happen with the impact on the houses?' because many of us still have houses back home," said Alessandra Priante, the cultural attaché for the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.
"So we're not going to be happy about that, but we are ready to make sacrifices, because we understand that this is a way to go somewhere better."
For the most part, Italian business owners and working professionals who live in the UAE said they had been unaffected by the economic scares back in their homeland.
Cinzia Gambini manages a wood-oven pizzeria, Biancorosso, near the Al Mamoura building in Abu Dhabi.
She said her business had been busy since she officially opened last month and did not expect the political changes in Italy to have any negative impact on her venture, or other local firms run by Italians.
Some Italians, noting success stories outside their homeland, are leaving their own struggling businesses behind. "Many of them actually have given up and have gone abroad, including [to the UAE]," Ms Priante said. "Because here, there are still opportunities."
Some of these opportunities seem to arise through the closer ties being forged between the business communities in Italy and the Emirates.
The Italian industry and commerce office in the UAE is running its annual Italian Festival Weeks event, which includes business networking events along with cultural programmes scheduled into next month.
And yesterday, officials from the Italian embassy in Abu Dhabi were set to attend the inauguration for The Big 5 International Building and Construction Show in Dubai.
"We have many, many Italian companies [at the show,]" said Giorgio Starace, the Italian ambassador to the UAE, who mingled with members of the local business community at a gathering on Saturday night.
"We will discuss with them how to grow even more in this market, and the region."
Last year, Italian companies won about €7.5bn worth of contracts across various sectors within Abu Dhabi. Italian exports to the UAE, meanwhile, rose 19 per cent last year and are expected to reach about €4bn this year, Mr Starace said .
That makes the UAE the top destination in terms of Italian exports to the Arab world, he said.
The Italian embassy in the UAE plans to work with the Government's Ministry of Economy on a project to help boost the investments of Italian companies in the Emirates.
Mr Starace noted that in Italy, the level of domestic demand for small to medium-sized enterprises "is not healthy" and that owners were facing "the necessity to move to find new consumers in other markets".
"[The UAE] is the country that is demanding high [proportions] of many products that are made in Italy," he added.