Il Ritrovo: Not-So-Italian Restaurant on Zamalek’s Blue Nile Boat
Anne de Groot
hot, humid and almost foggy night we found ourselves hungry as could be and
ended up on Saray El Gezira Street. With a host of Nile-side boats to choose from, we were drawn by a blue
light and strolled down to the Blue Nile Boat.
the few restaurants we hadn’t tried out yet was Il Ritrovo. Blue Nile
itself claims that it is a piano bar but in fact it is a pretty big restaurant. Il Ritrovo also claims to specialise in Italian cuisine.
restaurant is located at the bow of the ship and therefore is kind of pyramid
shaped. There are lots of tables; some with couches, some with chairs and others
with couches built in the wall.
ordering some drinks we took a peak at the surprising, suspicious and
at times freakish menu. The first thing
that caught our attention was a dish called the elephant ear (81LE). Yes,
elephant ear. The description thankfully told us that it was actually veal.
Other dishes on the so-called Italian menu were shawerma and hawawshi (51LE),
chicken pop corn wings (47LE) and lots of dishes with offal meat. Next to that
was also an extensive sushi selection. Very Italian.
to go for the endives salad with Roquefort (51LE) but unfortunately it wasn’t
available so instead we settled for the goat cheese salad (49LE). It was
rather small and presented in some sort of a soup bowl. On top were six
crackers with goat cheese covered with honey and topped with a slice of olive. The
dish made a nice tasty snack but isn’t exactly a starter and a bit pricy for
such a small dish.
For our mains we would have loved to try the steak al’ espresso
(72LE) but this was also unavailable, so we took the grilled tenderloin with
pepper sauce (90LE) and the grilled sea bass (85LE). The tenderloin with pepper
sauce was simply delicious. The meat was a perfect medium rare as we requested
and as soft and tender as could be. The pepper sauce was nice and spicy and for
once the peppercorns tasted fresh.
bass was a bit of a miss. The fish wasn’t seasoned well giving it a very salty taste.
Also we were promised accompanying lemon caper sauce on the menu but this was
nowhere to be found. Since the staff was also nowhere to be found we finished
the fish without sauce. The mashed potatoes on the side were nice but we had
doubts about its freshness. We also took the mushroom risotto (55LE)
and were glad we did after the fish debacle. The risotto could have done with some
more bouillon to avoid dryness but was nevertheless very tasty and
prepared with fresh mushrooms.
music in the restaurant is provided by a self playing piano which we found
rather scary as you see the piano keys going up and down by themselves. Despite this, we had generous
glasses of Grand Marquis wine (42LE) and spicy Virgin Mary’s
(25LE) which was a nice way to top off a fairly average evening.