Italian restaurants in Cairo are a dime-a-dozen; they’re not difficult to find but are often mediocre in quality. We had heard about Ristorante Tuscany for quite some time so when a last-minute affair was calling, we decided to give it a shot.

Boasting a Northern Italian flare, Ristorante Tuscany is located on the first level of the Cairo Marriott Hotel. From the garden area, enter the hotel and you’ll find the restaurant on your right: intimate, quiet and windowless. Simply composed of two small dining areas, the wood décor and dark colours elude to a classy Italian style.

Word on the street is that Ristorante Tuscany’s service is top notch and we can now vouch for that claim. From the moment we entered, and throughout the entire meal, the service was on point: friendly, informative and not too pushy, yet on-call for any request we had. Even after a long day, the waiters took great care.

We were automatically served with a complimentary hot loaf of homemade bread topped with crusted sun-dried tomato and herbs. Accompanying the bread were two mighty fine dipping sauces including a smooth pesto and sun-dried tomato.

Quickly turning to the drinks menu, we weren’t surprised to find their wines and champagnes to be quite pricey. For 240LE, a bottle of the locally produced Beausolis white wine was delivered to the table and introduced by a proper taste test. Clear & crisp, it paired well with our rather small but heavy entrees. Other wines were also available while the champagnes cost around 2400LE.

Ristorante Tuscany’s menu is comprised of an array of mouth-watering options. The restairant is famous for its soups, which include Zuppa Ai Funghi Di Bosco (65LE) and Zuppa Di Mare (120LE). We decided to test their salads, though.

Quite difficult to choose from was the Insalata Caprese, tempting us with its plum tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella (75LE), and the Stufato Di Cariofi Con Mozzarella Di Bufala E Pistacch – an artichoke stew with buffalo mozzarella and pistachio (75LE). Served with 4 thick slices of artichoke, the mozzarella coated rather well the tough-to-eat artichokes. The taste was mild and rich.

The pasta dishes included a variety of raviolis, risottos and pastas ranging between 75LE and 95LE. For 85LE, our Lasagne Ai Porcini E Mirtilli was served in a decadent porcini and blueberry sauce that nearly had us licking the plate. The lasagne itself came in two round stacks and was just as visually delightful. Seafood and meat dishes are also available, including porcini-crusted halibut (195LE), grilled rib-eye steak (320LE) and guinea hen stuffed with foie gras & beef bacon (165LE).

After all was said and done, our check totalled around 470LE and even though our dishes were small, our bellies were full and satisfied – but maybe the wine helped with that. The seclusion of the restaurant makes a perfect place for a private celebration or date in the evening. If you’re lucky, you might find that you have the entire venue to yourself and the special ones you’re with!