In one of the most elegant parts of Nasr City – the centre of Abu Dawood El Zahery Street – lies Gandofli; a chain of seafood restaurants whose branch in Maadi received a very reputable Cairo 360 three-and-half star rating back in 2010.

The restaurant in Nasr City is much smaller in comparison to the Maadi brancg. Although the space is made up of two floors, where the lower one is more spacious, the upper floor – more conducive to an intimate group dinner – was out of bounds at the time of our visit, as they didn’t have enough staff to cover both floors. So taking a seat downstairs by a window, we noticed the décor was still heavily drowned in Christmas and New Year decorations, though beneath them we could detect earthy colours and TVs playing foreign films. Thankfully, the tables were not covered with linoleum – a nice change from Cairo's other seafood restaurants.

From the appetisers, we settled on the seafood soup (29LE) – a perfect test for any seafood eatery. Although prepared with a generous amount of shrimp and crab, the broth itself was little on the bland side.

An order of mixed grills (54LE) comes with filet of fish , small shrimp, calamari, fresh clams and fish cakes made with rice and shrimps. The filet stood out most among what was an uninspiring cocktail of starters. The salads at Gandofli are especially recommended; from the basic tehina and tomato salads (6LE), to the herring and peppers salad (7LE).

T the time of our visit, a fridge displayed a limited choice of fish and shrimps, where only the sole (125LE/kilo) tempted us with its dark skin and pure white meat. We requested that the sole be pan-fried and, once again, the kitchen didn't leave us disappointing. The flaky, soft meat was full of taste and the crispy skin added a perfect textural balance.
We also tried the oven-baked shrimp (160LE/kilo) which is prepared with tomatoes and green pepper sauce; by far the best dish, the shrimp was cooked perfectly and soaked up the juices from the tomatoes to maintain a perfect texture and moistness. Even if you finish the shrimp, you can lather up the sauce in bread or add it to some extra rice – it’s that good.

For two people, we ended up paying about 200LE, which isn’t bad compared to the bloated prices of seafood in Cairo. However, we found the service to be slow and carried out with a sense of boredom – am attitude that left us feeling a little uncomfortable. But if you can overlook this hiccup, Gandofli is a safe bet for any seafood cravings.