La Vela: Half-Hearted Italian
confusing maze of Cairo, there are many hidden gems of restaurants that
only hear about through word of mouth. La Vela is a tiny Italian eatery
Maadi Nerco that has had several Italian cuisine fans singing its
is indeed a hidden gem, emphasis being on the hidden: trying to find La
a little like an expedition adventure, thanks to this reviewer’s knack of getting lost in Maadi and the management’s inability to give directions. After a
argument with the waiter on the phone as to whether it was or wasn’t a
street off of Nasr Street, we were able to track down the restaurant.
you’re wondering, the restaurant is located around the corner from the
Onion on the ground floor of a residential building with a small garden
entrance. La Vela’s walls are decked out with Italian
memorabilia in an attempt to give off that Italian tavern charm, but in
the result is an atmosphere that feels cluttered, harried and
to eat outdoors and found ourselves prey to noisy neighbours and their
dogs, as well as the restaurant owner who had no problem having
conversations with the waiters over our heads: at times, it felt less
Italian restaurant and more like Camp Mussolini.
friendly but slightly harried waiter was unable to explain the menu, and
forgot to take down our main course orders; but we forgave him as he was
complimentary dish of two bruschettas was a good start to the meal and
than any other burschettas we’ve sampled around town. A large,
dish of hot bread garnished with basil and olive oil appeared, and
huge bread fans, we found the white bread to be flavourless and in need
of the supreme
quality Italian balsamic vinegar that accompanied it.
starters, we ordered the artichokes and pumpkin cream soup; its
and spicy flavour worked well with the croutons and shredded parmesan
The soup’s portion was so massive we had to split it between the two of
the main course, the ravioli with ricotta and spinach in walnut sauce
surprisingly fresh and cooked to al-dente perfection, while the creamy
sauce was delicate yet just buttery enough.
beef with cream mustard and pink pepper sauce was a disappointment; the
idea of medium-well was medium-rare, and the mustard sauce was
unimaginative. The cook had probably dumped a dollop of mustard straight
the jar and mixed it up with a little cream. For 75LE, the vornoff beef
have included a side dish of rice or potatoes.
For dessert, we shared a slice of Tiramisu, which had a subtle sweetness, but
cake layer should definitely have not been frozen.
the ravioli was good enough to tempt us back for another visit.