Zitouni: Quality & Quantity at Lavish Egyptian Buffet
Four Seasons Nile Plaza, 1089 Corniche El Nil
Open buffets have a bad reputation for focusing on quantity instead of quality, but we all have those days where we just want to head to a big spread of crowd pleasing food. Zitouni, however, ticks both boxes – delicious food and lots of it.
Located inside Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Zitouni is an authentic Egyptian restaurant – with some Lebanese items to boot – that has gathered a reputation over the years for offering the best open buffets in town. As a venue, the interior leans towards a chic Oriental style with its contemporary wooden walls, beautiful patterns on the columns and arches and comfortable seating, all boosted by an astonishing view of the Nile.
We started exploring the buffet by heading to the soup and appetiser zone. Keeping it classic with the soups, they serve Chicken Cream Soup and Lentil Soup with optional toppings on the side like croutons, fried onion, spices and lemon. Meanwhile appetisers were divided into cold and hot mezza alongside a selection of breads and mini mana’esh. From Taboula and Hummus with cumin, to rice-stuffed vine leaves and Baba Ghanough, most of the cold mezza were very good, but we loved the Moussaka the most, thanks to its fantastic garlicky tomato sauce and perfect cuts of eggplant.
As for the hot mezza, we tried the cheese-stuffed spring rolls, beef sambousak and Kobeba. Only the kobeba impressed, though, with its aromatic spices and spot on amount of filling. The sambousak was very tough and chewy, while the spring rolls didn’t have that crunch we all love.
Whether you’re into Macaroni Bechamel, Seafood, Egyptian Fattah or Lamb, the endless variety of mains will cover everyone’s taste. However, the deconstructed/make-your-own Lebanese Fattah station impressed us the most.
Divided into bowls of rice, boiled chicken swimming in soup, chickpeas, crispy bread, pine nuts and exquisite warm garlic sauce, not only did the different elements of Fattah station have remarkable flavours, but it also gave us the chance to mix and match with one of the best examples chicken shawerma we’ve had in a while, and creating Syrian Fattah using the Moussaka from the cold mezza.
Moving to the spinach-stuffed chicken, apart from the chicken being a bit dry, the spinach filling had a good, zesty flavour and the cream sauce complimented it well without overpowering it. We also tried the beef fillet which consists of very tender cuts of beef boosted with peppercorn to add a great spicy kick. The star of the mains would have to be the Seafood Mix, though. A combination of perfectly cooked shrimps, mussels, and flaky, moist fish, all swimming in creamy lemon sauce, the flavours of the seafood mix were well-balanced and showcased the seafood well.
We finished our meal with a visit to Oriental and western desserts buffet. We really enjoyed the konafa with cream, which wasn’t overly sweet as we expected, though there’s a jar of honey on the side for extra sweetness. We also spotted a mouth-watering chocolate cake topped with cranberries; the cake was just a classic chocolate sponge cake, chocolate cream filling and chocolate ganache drips.
With plenty of options, executed with the kind of care you’d expect from a Four Seasons outlet, Zitouni is a great option for a family lunch; the ambiance is relaxing and the variety of food was great – particularly the mains and appetisers. Just remember to save space for dessert.