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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.
With its outstanding selection of food covering Greek, Mexican to Swiss and Italian cuisines, El Gouna is known to be one of the best places for food enthusiasts. As soon as we heard the news that Gouna’s Italian restaurant and pizzeria, La Scala, had opened their second branch at Sheikh Zayed's Arkan Mall, we could hardly wait to try it out.
La Scala has a simple interior design with dominant black white and red colours, simple seating arrangements, two prep stations, black and white portraits and an overall calming vibe. While the indoor area was very hot and the AC didn’t work, the weather at the outdoor area was fantastic – except a little ruined by an army of annoying flies.
We kicked things off with Insalata Tropicale (40LE); cubes of Gouda cheese, chicken, pineapples, peaches, oranges, bananas and cocktail sauce, the latter basically tasting like plain yogurt. The combination seemed an interesting one, but the flavours were unbalanced and it seemed like the Gouda cheese and chicken accidently fell into a fruit salad bowl.
We then decided to stick to pure Italian dishes with Spaghetti Con Vitello (195LE) and La Carbonara (89LE) which were far from disappointing. The former came in the form of five pieces of perfectly cooked veal medallions lying over a bed of perfectly cooked spaghetti with generous amount of fresh sautéed mushrooms. The exquisite mushroom sauce had an earthy flavour to it and would’ve been flawless had the veal not lacked seasoning.
Aside from the off-putting slices of red pepper and that the otherwise well-cooked bacon was cut into huge pieces, the spaghetti of the La Carbonara was cooked to perfection and the whole dish was rich in flavours, while the consistency of the sauce was on-point.
We finished our meal with Nutella Pizza with Bananas (27LE). As a soft and thin pizza crust smothered with Nutella and slices of bananas, this dessert was just moreproof that chocolate and bananas are one of the most underrated kitchen couples.
Overall, we had a fantastic time at La Scala, from the delicious food to the friendly staff. The restaurant delivers a promising start in Cairo. Let’s just hope they keep it up - the hardest challenge of all.