Stepping onto the Blue Nile boat in Zamalek, you notice the diverse selection of restaurants, from the Applebee’s to the Far Eastern cuisine of Asia Bar, which strategically overlooks the magnificent waters of the Nile.
One restaurant in particular located on the upper deck is Il Ritrovo Piano Bar, a new, sophisticated bar and dining spot.
My friends and I decided to go for an early dinner at Il Ritrovo. As we entered through the ultra chic designs by the door, we noticed the crème and soft pastel green theme incorporated into all the furnishings.
The modern red and orange lights dimmed over the tables and lavish white tassels draping the windows complement the romantic setting that comes with a Nile view. You can sit and stare for hours at the details of this place; it was impressive.
The main bar is located by the entrance with an area in front of it filled with high tables furnished in white leather. It reminded me of those bars you’d see in old black-and-white movies where a man in a mafia suit is sitting with his whiskey glass and all the women are made up in silky dresses and perfect hair puffing away at their long cigarettes.
As our waiter walked us further inside to our table, we passed by a piano and band set up and reached the dining and lounge area where he seated us on the light green and blue chairs.
The place is not only striking to the eyes but for the mouth as well. The menu consists of a large array of international cuisine including Italian lasagna, Lebanese manakeesh and Japanese sushi as well as other types of seafood, poultry and meat catering to the many different tastes of customers.
To begin our anticipated dinner, freshly baked bread landed on our table with some butter. We ordered the bar menu for something to drink, and found a long list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. We opted for wine and went through the stack of local brands and chose some Grand Marquis which was pricey as I remember, ranging from LE125-135 compared to the normal price of about LE100.
Soon enough, our appetizers arrived with crunchy fried calamari and some Chinese spring rolls. The calamari came with some delicious white dip and to fight off the heat, we sprinkled the spring rolls with some sweet and sour sauce.
Eating our way to the main courses, I had an Italian craving for some Pasta Arabietta which has a spiciness that must be taken as a precaution. My friends had the Chicken Porto Fino consisting of cooked chicken breast with mustard sauce and white dressing which, after tasting a bite, I found to be a must-try.
A friend tried the special Chocolate Fondant for dessert and was forcing us to try, but I passed on a full stomach.
Although the food was undeniably delicious, the down side of this fine dining experience was the relatively high price with the entire meal costing around LE 500.
The waiter informed us the restaurant would transform into a fully-booked night club after nine pm, even though it was a weekday. The retro twist to the setting at night is the live piano band which brings out the energy and dynamic character of the place.
Whether you want to take your date out for some sushi and wine, or if you and your friends want to dine on some exotic new dishes and listen to some piano melodies, head to Il Ritrovo for a modern dash into the Egyptian dining experience.
Address: 9A, Saraya El-Gezira, Zamalek (02) 7353112