Italian cuisine is undoubtedly one of the most popular cuisines in Cairo. There are pasta restaurants all over the city and pizzas are just as commonly found as koshary. Cairo is full of Italian restaurant chains, including La Casetta, which has several branches all over town. The restaurant’s branch in Heliopolis is located at the end of El Merghany Street close to Alle Botti.

The interior of La Casetta is like that of a tavern with brown wood used throughout the restaurant.The decoration comes close to being hilarious with antique ironers on side tables and wooden forks on the walls next to replicas of famous paintings. La Casetta is appropriate for big groups with tables serving from two persons up to twelve persons.

The menu is huge with lots of different meals ranging from pastas, pizzas and meat to fish dishes and curries as well. On a healthy spree, we sampled the tuna salad (24LE) as a starter. What looked like melted cheese was actually dressing all over the salad. Aside from the enormous amount of tuna, there were tomatoes, onions and olives but only two leaves of lettuce; so much for our healthy eating. While the salad was filling enough to be a main meal, the garlic bread that arrived as a side was strong, and appropriately buttery.

For our main courses, we had the pasta salmone (40LE) and the vegetarian pizza (35LE). The salmon pasta’s white sauce was a bit sour and not even the capers could make it taste better. Although the salmon portion was disappointingly small, the pasta was cooked well and because of the creamy texture of the sauce the meal was very filling.

Unfortunately, the vegetarian pizza wasn’t satisfactory: its base was very thick and hard to bite through. Although it was topped with an abundance of cheese, the mushrooms, peppers and onions were scarce. All in all, the food wasn’t terrific.

However, service at La Casetta was very fast. The waiter memorised our orders, which arrived exactly as we had requested them and within fifteen minutes of ordering them, even though the restaurant was packed at the time of our visit. The background music is your typical elevator music; think Peter Cetera and the Eagles.

If you are in the area and need a quick bite, La Casetta is a great option for fast service: you can be in and out within half hour with a full stomach. However, this restaurant definitely doesn’t serve authentic Italian cuisine; so go elsewhere if that’s what you’re looking for.