La Trattoria: When in Doubt, Go to Zamalek’s Best Italian Restaurant
Located on Zamalek’s quiet El Maarashly Street, La Trattoria needs no introduction, though the low-key Italian restaurant often goes unnoticed on Zamalek’s dining map. Despite having little to no marketing or presence online – compared to other restaurants splashed across social media – La Trattoria was crowded at the time of our visit; a sign of its enduring popularity, which was obvious as soon as we stepped inside.
Similar to small European diners, La Trattoria has a simple yet classy interior; small tables are adorned with simple white table cloths, raw pasta jars are casually placed by the entrance, and posters for old Italian are movies scattered on the walls. It all comes together to create a lovely atmosphere, which doesn’t go overboard.
After being shown to our seats we delved right into the menu, which involves some typical Italian dishes – spaghetti, fettuccine and lasagna –to more sophisticated dishes including Osso Buco simmered in red wine (159LE) and Capesante Con Piselli –scallops served with mushroom risotto (185LE). After some thinking, we opted for a fruitti di mare (69LE) as an as appetiser and as our mains, we went for a Ravioli Spinaci (55LE) and Risotto ai Funghi (69LE).
A combination of lettuce, arugula, smoked salmon, fish and shrimp chunks, the frutti de mare was a delight, boasting a fresh zesty taste – thanks to balsamic vinegar dressing which complimented the seafood flavours— and the well-seasoned shrimps which had discernible consistency and crunch to them; it was a simple salad, which, even though we wished was bigger, worked well as an appetiser.
Shortly after we finished our appetiser, our mains arrived, served with two small portions of parmagiano cheese. Infused with creamy yet light fresh cream, the ravioli spinaci was cooked al dente giving the dough a perfect discernible bite, but unfortunately had a bland taste and lacked some seasoning; that’s when we spiked it up with some ground pepper and parmagiano which elevated the overall taste.
The risotto, on the other hand, was extremely delicious; with perfectly cooked risotto and light yet rich herbal earthy flavours, it was hands-down our favourite dish for the night.
When it was time for dessert, between tiramisu (42LE) and torta de mele (39LE) – apple tart served with vanilla ice cream – we opted for the latter. Drizzled with caramel sauce, the torta de mele was pleasent without being spectacular, but what brought the dish down was the fact that some of the ice cream had crystallized – likely brought on by improper freezing.
All in all, though, what we loved the most about La Trattoria is that it doesn’t try too hard and everything is quite graceful. The food is good and the atmosphere is good – plus, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an occasion that La Trattoria can’t host, be it dinner with friends, a date or a celebration.