Thursday, April 8, 2010

La Bodega Restaurant


An email from Mina over at the  Sending Postcards blog asking for my Cairo restaurant recommendations reminded me that I should enjoy fine dining in Cairo a little ore beyond the Sweet Chili Doritos ( those things are good!) at the snack stands on the corners. Thus, I made a list of places I want to visit based on recommendations from different sites and I've decided to make a better effort at reviewing the restaurants where I eat. Of course, I began with Easter Sunday brunch, as any self respecting member of the Talented Tenth would.

After making reservations, I dragged my friend Jessie to La Bodega Restaurant (★★★1/2)  Sunday because the reviews said it was moderately priced and the dining experience was exceptional. It is composed of four parts; the restaurant, the bar, a cocktail lounge and the Barten, all of which occupy the whole floor and are spread on two large apartments.  Bodega's is located inside the Baehler Mansion with a bar on the first floor and the restaurant on the second. When we arrived, the place had just opened at noon and no one else was dining. Having the restaurant to ourselves, Jessie and I sat at a table for two near a window to enjoy the view. The restaurant has a subtly expensive decor that doesn't overwhelm your senses by appearing gaudy or nouveau-rich. Dark woods are complimented by old paintings in exquisite frames,high ceilings, and colorful old curtains. The waiter immediately poured bottled water into our wine glasses and presented us with the menu before returning with a basket of bread. Unfortunately, the bread wasn't fresh. I also realized that the restaurant was actually on the expensive side of the Cairo dining experience, not moderately priced as the review had said. 

Although the original review I'd read of Bodega was also brunch review, Bodega had no breakfast menu. All the dishes are Mediterranean style meat and seafood, with a vegetarian option, making for a hearty lunch but a heavy brunch. The waiter kindly informed us that the restaurant had a 100LE per person minimum as well. My instinctive reaction upon  hearing that was to bolt out of my chair but I calmed myself, sat erect, and I reminded myself that that was less that $20 for a gourmet meal...not necessarily going to break the bank anytime soon. Besides, everything on the menu sounded delectable!

We began with appetizers, Jessie had a salad and I had the seafood stuffed crepe. I'd expected a bite sized appetizer that would tease my empty stomach and leave me wanting the main course. Instead, the waiter presented me with a large crepe the size of a hearty burger and deliciously stuffed with an array of seafood and vegetables. I was full before the next dish was brought to our table!

I followed my crepe with the Moroccan Chicken dish. The dish is was amazing... The chicken was well marinated, every bite left an unexpectedly pleasant mint after-taste. I couldn't even finish it all and I had to take it home in a doggy bag. Jessie had the steak which was rich in flavor and tender, I know this because, although I don't like steak,  I tried it so that I could review it for you lol. After we ate, we chatted and sipped our drinks at our leisure as the waiter refilled the bread basket and our water glasses. Other  patrons began trickling in for lunch as we were leaving. I'd definitely return to La Bodega to try another delicious dish on their menu or the bar.

157, 26th July St., Zamalek
Tel: +20 2 7350543/ 7356761

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