CAIRO: Imagine yourself sitting in a garden with grass swaying to the rhythms of a cool summer breeze on a hot sunny day; sipping an icy chocolate drink under the cool shade of an umbrella and reading a book or just relaxing in the sun. La Pietra s new branch in El Gezira Club offers just that.
Since its opening in 2003 in Mohandiseen, La Pietra has become one of the top favorite hangouts. After the restaurant and café became the place to be seen, owners decided it was time to open a new branch in El Gezira Club, Zamalek.
The branch created the perfect atmosphere for friends and families of different age groups to meet and socialize. “Guests we get in La Pietra El Gezira Club are the regular guests we get in Mohandiseen, in addition to their families and members of the Club itself, saysHaytham Mansy, owner of La Pietra.
“What I like about La Pietra El Gezira is that I can wait for my daughter to finish her basketball training without worrying about where to stay, or what I’ll eat or drink, and if I’ll get bored or not, says Hoda Enany, a club member. “She can take as much time as she wants, as I know I’ll definitely find someone I know there and hours will pass like minutes. Both La Pietra branches share the same decorations and menus. However, the only two differences are the prices and the lack of shisha due to club regulations. The same rules, however, are what resulted in the drop in prices at the El Gezira branch; rental fees and electricity prices are lower than that in Mohandiseen. But of course, portions are a bit smaller.
The restaurant’s menu has food from different international cuisines, from Italian salads, pizzas and pastas, to French steaks, chicken and fish, to fresh home-made desserts. Fillet Balsamic, Pasta Fungi and the house specialty La Pietra drink are the three most popular entrees on the menu.
La Pietra is known for its house specialties. “Every now and then, my partner and I spend some time in the kitchen and start mixing things up to finally come up with a drink or a dessert that is exclusive to our restaurant, Mansy says. We try it on our friends, and if we get their approval, we add the item to the menu and it becomes our secret recipe dish.
“The only thing I cannot resist is the iced apple cinnamon drink, it is so refreshing that a week never passes by unless I go several times to order it, says Nermine Rostom, a regular guest.
The Italian word La Pietra, meaning the rock, was chosen for its representation of the overall ambiance of the venue. “I wanted a name to match the warm feeling of the old Italian mood of the place, with all the antiques, lamps, radios and house appliances [that] I collected for my restaurant, explains Mansy, I wanted a name to reflect all that, and what can be older and stronger than a rock? Plus, it sounded good.
The Mohandiseen and El Gezira club branches, however, are not the only ones La Pietra offers. This summer, starting July, there will be a branch at the North Coast beach in Marina; another Heliopolis branch is due to open in few months. Mansy dreams that one day expansions will increase to become an international chain of restaurants.
“What I’m trying to achieve is providing my customers with the perfect service, food and atmosphere to meet their A-class standards. However, I never thought that La Pietra will be that successful, but thank God, my dreams were more than fulfilled, says Mansy.
La Pietra Mohandeseen opens from 10 am to 2 am. La Pietra El Gezira Club opens from 10 am to 1:30 am and La Pietra Marina will open from 5 pm to 5 am.
La Pietra El Gezira Club, Zamalek, and 34 El Hegaz St., off Wadi El Nil St.Tel: 344 6643