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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Pomodoro: Possibly the Best Seafood Pasta in Downtown Cairo
Delicious spaghetti in clam sauce is but wishful thinking in Cairo, right? Think again. A hidden restaurant inconspicuously located off Bab El Louk and nearby El Horreya serves the best seafood pasta south of Alexandria. Two years ago, Cairo 360 visited Pomodoro when it was just a baladi street eatery barely occupying more than a hole in the wall. Since then, the restaurant has changed, but it still serves up one of the best seafood meals money can buy in Cairo.
After buying a much more spacious adjoining storefront, Pomodoro shed the tiny plastic chairs and miniature ahwa tables for much more trendy leather chairs and glass tabletops. The red and black colour scheme, warm atmosphere and enticing aromas combine to make an ambiance that is not altogether unlike an upscale pizzeria. Word on the street is that the owner studied culinary arts in Italy, and furthermore he insists on hand cooking each and every plate that comes out of his kitchen. Whatever the truth may be, the attention to detail in the kitchen has certainly satisfied many hungry patrons.
As one can only expect with the burgeoning of a successful business, there have been some modifications to the menu and prices over the last two years. The simple menu contains pasta dishes with either seafood or meat toppings in addition to offering a few sandwiches. The seafood pasta plate starts at 25LE and goes up to 50LE depending on size as well as your choice of ingredients which include calamari, crab, shrimp and clams. We ordered the 35LE shrimp pasta and it was delivered piping hot with shrimp scampi smothered in rich, peppery tomato sauce complete with four good-sized crawfish on the side. The generous portions, herbs, spices and fresh vegetables make for nothing less than seafood heaven. If you cannot decide on ingredients, simply order the seafood pasta combo, and you will receive a smorgasbord of seafood cuisine.
Operating within the same price range, chicken and meat pasta combos are available for those patrons who may not be in the mood for fishy plates. Those looking to avoid meats altogether will enjoy the hearty vegetable pasta (25LE) comprised of carrots, peas, onions, zucchinis, and tomatoes. Still others looking for lighter orders or lunchtime options will find seafood (20LE), shrimp (20LE) and chicken (15LE) sandwiches.
Though the heaping portion of seafood pasta for 15LE that could be ordered two years ago is no longer available, this should by no means discourage you from visiting Pomodoro. You may have to fork out a few more pounds, but you will not have to eat in the street nor use your shirt cuff as a napkin. With a comfortable atmosphere, plenty of napkins, and most importantly scrumptious seafood pasta, Pomodoro remains in a league of its own when it comes to seafood in Cairo.
Home to some of the most unique bars and restaurants in Cairo, the Four Seasons First Residence has long been considered one of the best hotels in the city. Its latest culinary addition comes in the way of STRADA; a chic Italian restaurant that goes all out to deliver a fine dining experience.
Located on the third floor, STRADA is hidden behind a vintage wooden door, engraved with Tuscan designs. Boasting an impressive Nile view, the setting is chic, creating an undisturbed, sophisticated mood. The venue is wide and spacious, with several different seating arrangements; we were seated alongside the window at a round, modern wooden table, with refined leather chairs with patterned backsides.
Designed with an urban-Tuscan interior, the restaurant gives off a rich, deluxe ambience. While the bright yellow shade of the walls brightens up the restaurant, the massive circular centrepiece is an Italian, stained glass window, which floods the space in natural light.
The food menu offers a variety of refined Italian dishes, covering soups, risotto, pastas and pizzas, alongside a section for fish, and another for red and white meats. The wine menu was also vast, with a selection of local and imported wine included.
For our starters, the Caprese Di Bufala (80LE) was rather standard in taste, yet ideal in portion to start off a meal. Served on a round platter was six pieces of rubbery buffalo cheese, topped off with a slice of crisp tomato, some Zucchini Linguini and a dash of Parmesan.
Moving on to the main dishes, the Salmone Arrositio (170LE) – roasted salmon, coated with glazed fennel and lemon sauce, served alongside sautéed vegetables – was flawless. Maintaining the balance between being impeccably grilled and perfectly marinated, the salmon had an external thin layer of crust, whilst remaining soft and pink on the inside.
The Risotto Porcini (120LE) transpired to be a light creamy mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese. The dish was a little on the small side, and the risotto itself seemed rather bland and undercooked. In spite of this, the creamy mushroom sauce was impressively light.
We ended our meal with a traditional Italian dessert, the Cassette Gelato (40LE). Served with two full scoops of ice cream, and mixed with ground nuts, dried fruits and chocolate, the gelato brought a refreshing end to our three-course meal.
Though as a whole dining experience, STRADA delivers what you’d expect from an international hotel chain; however, at the time of our visit, the lofty prices simply didn’t justify the food served at the time of our visit.