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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Pizza Yalla: Pizza & Pasta on the Blue Nile Boat in Zamalek
With the wonderful arrival of Pizza Mia, it’s hard to imagine that one would go out of their way to try any other pizza venue in Zamalek. But in a cosy location on the lower deck of the Blue Nile boat, Pizza Yalla offers quite a different experience than one would expect from a typical pizza place.
Pizza Yalla has inside and outside seating areas, both adorned with a Nile view. If you’re craving pizza or pasta, the calm and secluded restaurant offers the right getaway for you. The venue is divided into three areas: the first is easily visible upon entering the large and welcoming glass doors. It incorporates an American-style kitchen seating area, with enough space to seat a large group of people. Going further into the venue, more humble, six-person family tables are set up. And finally, the outside area offers glass top tables, that seat four people, overlooking the Nile.
The staff was very friendly and welcoming; they responded quickly to all our queries but they didn’t know much English, so they unfortunately couldn’t understand most of our concerns. The atmosphere was very relaxing, with a nice, fresh feel to it – the overall mood was emphasized by the light-coloured wooden chairs with green and yellow cushion covers. During the day the place is well lit and floods with an abundance of natural light.
The restaurant offers pizzas, pastas, Paninis, salads and desserts. While the prices are a little steep, the convenience of the venue and its amicability more than make up for it. The selection of pizzas is quite limited, with only a few varieties, but it still manages to accommodate to everyone’s taste. We settled for a pizza Quattro Stagiani (50LE) and a Ravioli Al Salmone (65LE). The pizzas were large and though they didn’t look very aesthetically pleasing, their taste proved to be more than satisfying. Both dishes were well proportioned and left us happily full. Most of the pizzas on the menu are about 50LE and pastas 40LE; whereas the desserts are various and range about 25LE; juice and canned beverages are also available. Pizza Yalla does not have minimum charge.
Proving that good things do indeed come in small packages, Il Divino is the latest restaurant in Cairo offering an authentic taste of Italy.
Located on Zamalek’s Abul Feda Street, Il Divino serves up more than just good pizza. The restaurant is split over two floors, with the ground floor boasting the restaurant’s pride and joy for hungry diners to see – a wood-fired oven. Said oven, along with the rest of the kitchen, and the cashier counter surround the stairs leading up to the restaurant’s small seating area.
While the seating arrangement is very limited, the surroundings set the mood for a fast and quite delicious meal.
Though appearing modestly designed at first, it’s not till you settle in that you appreciate décor’s touches of flair. Settling on a table next to the staircase, we couldn’t help but notice the casual and unobtrusive lighting, creamy white bricked walls, the wooden table-wear and even the scented candle, all of which combine to give a casual-chic vibe. Not limited to basic pizzas, the menu also includes a mixture of salads, calzones and desserts.
We started our meal with a simple Insalata Verde (30LE) salad; a mixture of fresh green leaves with a special homemade dressing that gave off a hint of Dijon mustard. Though basic in flavour, the light salad makes for a perfect appetiser as you contemplate which of twenty five or so pizza options to go for.
Soon after, our main dishes of the Piccante pizza (52LE), and the Vegetariano calzone (52LE) were served.
The Piccante pizza combined a mixture of mozzarella, tomato sauce, oregano, chicken, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions and fresh tomato cubes. Hitting our taste buds with a dash of spiciness, the pizza’s thin crust was cooked well, while the combination of ingredients was quite filling. However, there was a displeasing shortage of the most important ingredient of any pizza – the cheese.
The Vegetariano calzone, filled with creamy mozzarella, rich tomato sauce, asparagus, artichoke, olives, fresh mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, was exceptionally flavourful and large in portion. Whilst the dough itself was delicious, the asparagus was horribly overcooked.
From just two choices on the dessert menu, we decided on the Torta Di Mele (35LE); an Italian version of apple pie that has no top crust. Though the bottom crust itself was baked well, the apple mixture sitting on top of it was much more viscous than traditional apple pie. In addition, a creamy white frosting that covered the pie pushed it the sicklier side of sweet.
Overall, if you’re looking for a good atmosphere and wishing on good an authentic version of pizza in Cairo, Il Divino certainly won’t disappoint.