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The Fairmont Hotel Cairo
One of the many restaurants down at the Fairmont is Leonardo. This Italian trattoria, with beautifully set tables, offers a wide range of specialities from the land of pizza and pasta, including an extensive wine list. Located between the hotel lobby and towers, Leonardo is where we had dinner during my last visit to Cairo.
The experience started with focaccia bread, dip and grissini finger breads. Crunchy grissini, tender moist and fluffy bread cut in cubes with a real tapenade served on the side. That's a good impression especially after all the average food we had in Cairo to date. I ordered a Budweiser beer, San Pellegrino sparkling water and Evian still before moving on.
Frederico is the chef; straight from Naples, he has worked around the world perfecting his Italian know how. I'm not sure if Frederico is always in the kitchen because the food we tried was not up to Italian standards.
On the menu, you'll find a selection of Italian classics, starters, pasta, meat and chicken, fish, pizza, dessert, vegan and vegetarian.
- Pizza Diavola to start. A fluffy dough, yet chewy on the side, filled with cheese and spicy cold cuts. An interesting spicy taste, lots of cheese and black olives.
- The buffalo mozzarella was hard and didn't look fresh but it was not that bad for an Italian salad.
- Classic homemade lasagna: a generous portion of tender lasagna, layers of pasta with minced meat and a tasty sauce. That was the best that night. It's that kind of homemade lasagna indeed and not like something you expect from a restaurant.
- Roasted cuttlefish and sea asparagus salad: large chunks of squid that were not grilled enough offering a hard texture and a chewy feel while being salty. They're mixed with chunks of potatoes that look like the cuttlefish, tricking the mind. I've had better.
- Homemade ravioli: the ravioli were too big in size, hard on a side, tender on the other, lacked juiciness and body, the pasta part needs a bit more cooking for the place to be good.
- Mushroom risotto: a soup of undercooked rice floating in its juice. To be honest, the plate doesn't have a bad taste but the hardness of the rice was surely unpleasant to handle. The kitchen has a cooking time issue.
I was honestly so hungry that I ate from everything. It's not the best of Italian restaurant I have been to and I recommend that the chef puts more effort into the food. But I have to say that the restaurant is a good for a business meeting and the staff is nice and friendly.