Authentic Italian cuisine in City View Compound – Cairo Alex Desert Road for everyday dining.

Location: City View Compound – Cairo Alex Desert Road

Type of cuisine: Italian to the core, all under the supervision of owner/ manager Franco Donato. His family roots go back to the south of Italy, so expect traditional dishes with the highest quality produce. The bread is baked on the premises, and the family produces its own mozzarella and ricotta cheese for guaranteed freshness. The chef and his team came from the iconic and much loved restaurant hosted by the Italian Consulate in downtown Cairo, which sadly had to close. But, well done, Donato’s!

Signature dishes: Hearty lasagna, and be warned, the portion is huge! Also superb thin-crusted pizzas, with the option of mixing and matching your toppings of preference.

Dishes sampled and ingredients: Who could go past the antipasto plate, a choice selection of delightful Italian favorites? Bruschetta with finely diced tomato, herbs and garlic, delicately drizzled with fine olive oil, crisply grilled focaccia topped with a sprinkle of aromatic oregano, along with funghi trifolati (finely sliced mushrooms, marinated in olive oil, garlic and lashings of parsley), small slices of cheese-laden pizza, and our personal favorite, to-die-for arancini, those pop-in-the-mouth deep-fried bread-crumbed morsels of rice with a melting center of mozzarella? It was stellar!  Being one of those cooler winter evenings we were in the mood for really robust food, so opted to follow up with heaping bowls of spaghetti alla bolognese, which came with imported Italian pasta cooked perfectly al dente. The flavor-packed sauce met our expectations, lean beef with precise seasoning and not too heavy on tomato. Actually, throughout the meal we noted the lightness of the food, although the flavors were typically Italian there was no excess oiliness, a pleasant change from many establishments. It was impossible to finish our plates, the servings were really substantial, and we had promised ourselves desserts. Ah, homemade crème caramel, rich and satisfying. Calorific? Who cares!

Other menu options that appealed: The menu is not too long, so everything from the lasagna vegetariana (a vegetarian’s delight, packed with spinach and mushroom) to the tagliata di manzo (sliced veal fillet on a bed of rocket and parmesan) has been marked for future dining. With the promise of homemade soups soon to be added, those will be a must-try as well, and tiramisu, of course. A point to note, many traditional favorites like cannelloni, ravioli, salmone al penne and gnocchi are available if pre-requested.

Décor & Ambiance: A chic update on your traditional trattoria. Blackboard menu against a rustic brick wall, complemented by black tables and stylishly simple chrome-legged chairs in neutral tones, with a choice of low or high seating. The space is cozy, with no more than six tables, but as take-away and delivery account for around 80% of their business it hasn’t presented a problem, as yet. However, as word gets around you may need to book in advance.

Clientele mix: Locals from the area, obviously regulars, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere. Quite a few Italians we noted, a good sign.

Beverages: Tea, coffee, soft drinks and juices.

Opening hours: Daily from 2 pm – 12 am.

Tel: 010 2888 8826

Instagram: Donato.s

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