Crave: Alexandria Finally Has a Quality Seaside Restaurant
One of the greatest mysteries of Alexandria is how the city lacks decent sea-front restaurants despite being Egypt’s second largest city and once a leading cosmopolitan city of the region. Gone are the days of the San Giovanni’s and sea-front private clubs; most of these restaurants have been shut down, pulled down or are in dire straits.
So, when we heard about Crave opening in Casino El Shatby, and saw the restaurant’s spectacular photos on Instagram, we just had to check it out in person.
First of all, the best thing about this restaurant is its stunning 180-degree sea view and the ample layout of the space means that multiple tables get a view of the Mediterranean – and everyone gets access to the sunlight. The lush interior design and furnishing in hues of sedated blue, grey, beige and brown are subtle nods to this sea-side city, and they contrast nicely with the white marble flooring and black on gold kitchen separator. And don’t even get us started on the super cute birdcage-like lighting and (fake) plant baskets hanging from the ceiling.
Gushing about décor aside, we have to make the following disclaimer: as we visited Crave in Ramadan for fetar, we have to acknowledge that this is the worst time of the year to review a restaurant for the first time. Service is usually rushed, the food is usually sub-par and you usually have to deal with buffet cues or cranky fellow patrons. In other words, this review probably applies to fetar only, and we hope the experience will be much better outside of Ramadan.
In booking our spot at Crave, we were asked to make our order several hours in advance. Meanwhile, a soup and salad station is set up inside the venue at 90LE per person. We were asked to show up 30 minutes before fetar despite having made our orders in advance, but our cranky souls were put to rest by enjoying the calming sea view and taking a walk along the corniche outside.
Working a full house on a tight schedule, the waiters rushed around, setting up our tables with water, karkadeh and our appetisers of stuffed mushroom balls (43.95LE), chicken strips and shrimp konafa (70.95LE) were delivered five minutes before fetar. While we can’t fault them for their quick service, we were disappointed to have to eat our food lukewarm.
Our main courses arrived shortly after we dug into our appetisers; the Veal Parmesan (126.95LE) consists of three breaded veal fillets with a side of spaghetti in red sauce. In short, the massive portion is enough to fill a small horse. The chicken lemon dill (80.95LE) was equally satisfying and generous in potion, with a side of mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables.
Full to the top with barely any room to breathe, we decided to miss out on dessert and go for a healthy walk by the sea again. This meal for two, including two soups and salads and three appetisers to share, came to a total of 760LE. While the food was satisfying and the portions generous, we couldn’t help feeling we deserved more flavor and quality for the price we paid.
That being said, we have to hand it to Crave for their efficient service and aesthetically pleasing interior. We definitely recommend this restaurant to families and friends looking for dependable comfort food in a clean, stylish venue. An added perk is the casino’s private parking (15LE per car) along the corniche, which is a huge deal considering the lack of parking spots and the always present threat of the Wensh descending upon your car.