Nestled in a quiet Maadi neighborhood is a little Italian gem by the name of Estro – which also happens to be the Italian word for ‘inspiration’. This charming little rooftop restaurant and bar happens to be as inspiring as its name evokes, boasting a beautifully serene 180 degree view of the Maadi skyline.
From a menu full of dishes with names one will enjoy trying to pronounce accurately, to freshly made food that oozes with vibrant flavor, Estro is as authentic an Italian dining experience as it gets. The venue plays on perfecting Sicilian cuisine with a trendy edge, rather than bombarding customers with the typical ‘Italian themed’ dishes that are ultimately not very Italian at all.
The space itself may not be vast, but there seems to be something about its limited seating that adds an air of exclusivity to this novel Italian restaurant. Rather than playing on a typical Italian theme, the venue’s interior itself is tasteful in its sleek and modern atmosphere, making one feel as though they have entered a trendy restaurant in Italy, rather than an Italian restaurant in Egypt.
Estro specializes in Sicilian cuisine, which adds a sense of authenticity to their menu in that they have chosen to focus on a specific type of Italian cuisine rather than opt for the general. This goes to show the understanding of Italian culture, and – in very Italian nature – the importance of distinguishing one type of cuisine from another.
The menu itself is wide and diverse, and is also divided according to how it would be done in Italy. One can start with an Aperitivo – a light alcoholic beverage to ‘prep’ oneself for the courses to follow, something that is traditional to Italian cuisine culture. Estro generally offers a wide range of alcoholic beverages, from your typical local beer and wine to the delectable cocktails they mix themselves – an aperitivo will cost around 120 – 160 EGP.
Following the Aperitivo is the Antipasti, which are basically the appetizers. They have a variety of wonderful appetizers, from different types of bruschettas (tomato of garlic bread) to arancini (risotto balls) which all vary in price and quantity. The Funghi Al Forno Ripieni Di Ricotta (baked mushrooms with stuffed ricotta – 145 EGP) is particularly worth trying, with its aromatic flavors all coming together for an utterly satisfying starter. Prices of antipasti range between 55 – 195 EGP.
Estro also offers a wide range of salads and sandwiches on their menu, sectioned as Insalata and Panini. Both the salad and sandwich selections are simple dishes that are rich in flavor and stay very true to the use of Italian ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella and a whole lot of freshly baked bread and olive oil. Prices of salads vary between 45 – 125 EGP, while sandwich prices vary between 90 – 135 EGP.
The Primi and Secondi Piattis (first and second dishes – akin to the main meal) offer a selection of dishes that truly steal the show. The Primi Piatti section showcases a diverse range of pasta and risotto dishes that are as authentic and as delicious as they get. Their prices range between 120 – 380 EGP.
A particularly standout dish is the Risotto Con Zucchini E Gamberi (risotto with zucchini and shrimp), which is cooked to perfection as it simply melts in the mouth in a burst of flavor. The food generally also stays true to its Italian origins in that the dishes are not particularly salty and may seem bland to those not accustomed to authentic Italian cuisine – however, the mix of flavors speak for themselves.
The Secondi Piatti dishes range in price between 145 – 450 EGP and consist of a variety of meat, chicken and seafood plates, such as the Pollo Grigliato in Salsa Verde (grilled herb chicken breast with salsa verde and cherry tomato salad), the Seppie Alla Griglia Con Pure Di Piselli (grilled calamari with anchovy caper oil and green pea puree) and the Filetto Alla Griglia Con Verdure E Patate Arrosto (grilled aged beef fillet with olive oil, grilled seasonal vegetables and rosemary roasted potatoes).
You can top your dining experience off with a very palatable Italian dessert – sectioned as Dolce in the menu. One can take their pick between the restaurant’s Sicilian cannoli (80 EGP), panna cotta (75 EGP) and of course, tiramisu (125 EGP) – each of which are wonderfully flavored and act as the perfect complement to a hearty meal.
Estro offers a truly beautiful night out where one can enjoy the sparkling night lights flickering across the city, all whilst enjoying a delectably authentic Italian meal and slowly sipping a glass of red wine to go along with it.
Estro Sicilian Rooftop is located at building 11, Road 18 – Royal Maadi Hotel 9th Floor Maadi – Sarayat, 11728.
*Featured image courtesy of Estro Facebook page