La Chesa: Swiss Eats in Charming Downtown Cairo
Downtown Cairo is often viewed as one of the most chaotic areas of the city, completely
unsuitable for relaxation and leisurely exploration. However, unbeknownst to
many are the string of charming neighbourhoods among the hustle and bustle that
are perfect for just that.
Located along Adly Street
in the old banking sector of Downtown is La Chesa; a sister Swiss restaurant to
Le Chantilly. The neighbourhood
is quiet and rather chilled out, making this charming little restaurant the
perfect place to duck into after a day of walking around Downtown in all of
In true Swiss fashion, the interior of La Chesa is simple, tiny and
quaint. Creamy yellow walls contrast nicely with the hand-carved, wooden chairs
with little hearts cut out of the back. Dim lighting sets over four-person
tables that are arranged close to one another, making space slightly cramped.
While the restaurant’s menu is short, it contains a lot of items that
are not necessarily Swiss but closer to international cuisine. Appetisers (12LE
to 60LE) include seafood dishes, crêpes and salads such as the simple green
salad (12LE). Cleanly served and accompanied by a dainty pitcher of dressing,
the salad was delicious. Filled with fresh greens, sliced beets, shaved
carrots, olives and pickles, the vegetables were presented well while the
homemade Italian dressing complemented it perfectly.
Service might seem confused at first with their blank looks and paused
responses; but have faith because they execute requests perfectly. The drink
menu seems to be going through an identity crisis with its list of imported
wines, which aren’t actually available in the restaurant.
It’s not Swiss if they don’t have fondue; though their options are
limited to a basic cheese fondue (approx. 130LE). Other main courses included
veal steak and veal sausages. This reviewer opted for a beef medallion
(99.50LE) and what was labelled as homemade lasagne (39.50LE). The beef
medallion was swimming in rich gravy, and paired with freshly steamed
vegetables and rice pilaf. Well-cooked in some areas and nearly rare in others,
the beef itself lacked flavour, unfortunately.
For the lasagne, a load of béchamel sauce with little meat sauce left
our palates desiring more. With traditional lasagne in mind, their homemade
version tasted more like a standard pasta dish.
Desserts include a slew of ice cream options. With great gusto, we dove
into the beautiful yet traditional profiterole suchard (28LE). Split into
halves and sandwiched between scoops of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce,
the dessert was divine although the profiterole was a bit on the frozen side.
Our double espresso (22LE) and American coffee (12LE) provided some
redemption. While the food’s quality didn’t match the prices evenly, this made
La Chesa more of a café spot in our mind. With Wi-Fi available, it seemed to be
a more reasonable option.