Alexandria beckons FooDiva
Alexandria, October 9th, 2010; As you know, the purpose of my Egyptian visit was Alexandria, and I am finally here to rediscover my Greek roots, or Cypriot I should say. Perhaps I am feeling a tad homesick…or those that truly know me perhaps not. According to the Four Seasons, where I am now ensconced (in their beautiful bar with a very old England library feel), the famous British author Lawrence Durrell referred to Alexandria as the ‘Capital of Memory’, so I am hoping my brief stay will be memorable. If not, you won’t be reading much.
When I say rediscover my Greek roots, I mean eat my way through as much Greek food as possible. Now that’s one thing I do miss. Thanks to Alexander the Great conquering Alexandria in 330BC (and hence the name), the Greek heritage is evident throughout Egypt’s first capital. Set on the Mediteranean Sea and surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings, you are transported back in time, well I was anyway.
Anyhow moving on, FooDiva’s first stop last night was the White & Blue Santa Lucia restaurant, commonly known as the Greek Club – it came highly recommended so let’s see. Don’t let the name confuse you, it’s far from a dance and music club, but a restaurant serving traditional Greek cuisine. We sat at our al fresco table on the second storey of the Greek nautical club, overlooking the citadel, with fishing boats glimmering in the dark. With an enticing menu of traditional Greek dishes, we opted for deep fried fetta, ‘kolokithokeftedes’ ie. shredded zucchini balls, fetta with tomato dip and traditional ‘choriatiki’ salad – accompanied by freshly baked pitta bread Egyptian style. Our main courses were beef souvlaki (kebab) and grilled chicken. Well apart from the ‘kolokithokeftedes’ which were foodelicious, the other dishes disappointed, mainly because they were way too salty and lacked flavour. The meat was also tough. So all in all, the Greek Club failed the FooDiva test…oh well, so much for my Greek Alexandrian experience.
On the sightseeing front, I would recommend hiring a guide and driver for the day to wizz you round the key sights. Naturally, we had to fit in a couple of beautiful Greek Orthodox churches – otherwise the citadel and lighthouse are worth visiting, and the highlight hands down is the Bibliotheca Alexandria. Wow, what an impressive building, it’s the second largest library in the world (after the US Senate) housing two million books and plenty of shelf space for more!
The Fish Market restaurant is a great lunch venue overlooking the corniche – an array of traditional Egyptian appetisers, followed by freshly grilled fish…squid, prawns and sea bass. I guess the Egyptians mastered the art of cooking better than the Greeks here.
Before I sign off, I completely forgot to mention the Sayadin (Fisherman) restaurant at the Moevenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna. Perched on stilts right on the beach, it’s Greek taverna style feel really captures my attention every time I visit. An extensive menu, my favourites are always the grilled seafood catch of the day, but you can’t go wrong with other specialities – for lunch it’s lovely and casual, and the evening’s are very romantic – take your pick.
Anyway as my friend Elena always says. ‘afta’ , ie. Greek for ‘that’s all’. On that note, a bientot – more later.