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Agouza, Cairo, Egypt.
Flying Fish: Charming Seafood Restaurant in Agouza
A lot can happen in two years. Revolutions, earthquakes, elections, more elections and the miraculous death and resurrection of a former president. Since so much can happen in two years, we always like to to pay another visit to venues we visited a while ago to see if they are still up to par - or perhaps improved, or even gone downhill.
One restaurant that definitely hasn’t lost its star rating is Flying Fish in Agouza. The interior of the restaurant most likely hasn’t changed since the opening and from the looks of the furniture it was probably sometime in the eighties. However, the entire restaurant does look meticulously clean and even the smallest edges and ridges have been dusted off. The restaurant reminded us of family diners when we were young which elicits a feeling of comfort. The ottoman paintings and flying fish on stained glass don’t exactly make sense but who cares, really.
If you choose to dine there then you should absolutely opt for the Flying Fish soup (24LE). The delicious broth was filled with different kinds of fish like cod, calamari and shrimp; it's a full meal on its own. Also, don’t miss out on the fish salad with mayonnaise (10LE) because it will be the best mayonnaise-calorie-bomb you’ll ever have in your life. You can also combine a plate of shrimp kofta (17LE) and calamari (23LE). Kudos to Flying Fish for originality with the shrimp kofta. With the tartar dip on the side, it makes for a zesty dish. The calamari was cooked well and wasn't rubbery as we tend to find around the city.
The grilled shrimp (55LE) was deliciously marinated and grilled. The Flying Fish Bram (30LE) is a stew with grilled fish, calamari and rice inside topped off with mozzarella cheese. Though the combination might not sound appealing, the taste most definitely was. The stew was a bit spicy which perfectly balanced out with the soft texture of the mozzarella. At 31LE, the grilled fish comes very cheap; you receive two big filets with herbs, but while it was grilled to perfection, the flavour was slightly lacking.
The best part about Flying Fish though, is the service. The waiters are extremely polite and professional and are always up for a little joke and banter. Combined with the meticulous conditions of the restaurant, it makes for a perfect combination. Flying Fish is an absolute gem and is well worth a visit for fresh seafood dishes.
Good seafood restaurants in Cairo are hard to find, particularly ones so close to one of the Seven Wonders of the World; the Great Pyramids of Giza. Making the most of their proximity and, as a result, their incredible pyramid view, Caviar boasts full length windows across its entire front side making it a tempting tourist trap.
The décor is typically Egyptian; golden hieroglyphics and scenes of ancient times are spread across one wall, whilst vintage photographs of Egypt are pasted onto several rectangular pillars. Dark marble surfaces and green foliage add to the old-fashioned feel of the restaurant.
Being the only couple amongst two large parties of tourists, we were given a choice of tables but were soon forgotten about. We reminded the waiter that we needed some menus before scouring their wide variety of seafood dishes; seafood soups (30LE), hot and cold appetisers (35LE-50LE), salads (40-45LE), fish fillets, pastas (55LE-65LE) and risottos (35LE-45LE).
The drinks menu is small but adequate, boasting fresh juices (20LE), smoothies (20-25LE), sodas (15LE) and a selection of hot drinks (15LE). We indulged in one Florida smoothie (25LE) and a non-alcoholic mojito (20LE). Both were deliciously fresh; the Florida smoothie was thick with large, real fruit pieces, whilst the mojito was sweet and smooth but lacked any sort of soda, essentially turning it into a standard lemon and mint juice.
To start, we opted for some shrimp fingers with a cocktail dip (35LE) before moving onto a shrimp risotto (40LE) and Cotoletta bolognese fillet (80LE).
We wouldn’t have minded about the long wait that we endured had we been given a bread basket or even a bottle of water to help pass the time. After we requested a large bottle of mineral water (20LE), the waiter simply placed it on the table, unopened.
All the food eventually appeared together, with the shrimp fingers arriving without any cocktail sauce. After reminding the staff, the sauce soon materialised, but was instead a creamy, delectable tartar dip; a switch we didn’t mind too much.
The shrimp fingers looked a little like kofta but were much softer, spongy and on the tasty side of interesting. The risotto was the best of the dishes with al dante, sticky rice, rolled in a flavourful tomato sauce with a subtle, shrimp aftertaste. Unfortunately though, we only found four small shrimp in the entire serving.
The Cotoletta bolognese fillet turned out to be several pieces of deep-fried battered fish, topped with a tiny amount of melted mozzarella and far too many sesame seeds. Despite the fish itself having a melt in the mouth texture, the batter was soggy and the whole thing tasted of little else other than oil. It was served with a side of chewy calamari and undercooked mushrooms in a tasteless white sauce.
Other than being so close to the Great Pyramids that you can almost touch them, our visit didn't yield value for money in terms of either the service or food. They've got their juices and risottos just about right though.