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Eating in Alexandria

Have you ever taken a one-day trip to Alexandria just for a meal at a fish place, followed by shisha in Togareyeen Cafe and then tea and dessert at Delice in Raml Station?

Well, if you haven’t yet, then it's time. Al-Masry al-Youm presents you with a full guide to the main fish restaurants in the Mediterranean jewel.

If the interior and the scenery are a priority for you as well as the quality of food, then the Greek Club is the place. The restaurant is by the sea, right in front of the citadel. The main recommendation is to find a place outside overlooking the private beach of the club. The view of the horizon and the little fishing boats and feluccas is breathtaking.

The food is something else; for the hors d’oeuvre, tarama (the famous caviar paste) is pleasant, flavorsome and goes perfectly with pita bread. Tahini and herring salad are also a good option for an appetizer. But be careful not to overdo it — leave space for the main meal.

For that, the sky is your limit. Grilled jumbo-sized shrimps are definitely something to try. They are meaty and cooked with a tasty tomato sauce, Oriental spices and celery. Baked fish is also a must-try — it takes longer took cook but is definitely worth the wait. The fish is coated with a thick layer of salt, then put in the oven to slowly roast. The presentation is impeccable and the fish meat melts in your mouth.

If you are looking for a more local experience, then Hala’et al-Samak and Bahari are great destinations. Asmak Abu Ashraf (Abu Ashraf Fish) is another well-known fish place. The setting is humble but the fish tastes like it just came out of the sea. Choose your fish from the fridge on your way in. The restaurant is known for their fresh and tasty clams cooked in tomato sauce or boiled with Oriental spices and celery.

Asmak Abu Ashraf's other specialty is singary fish (fish fillet); the flavor of seasoning and the vegetables (small cubes of tomato and onions) with the soft texture of the fish create a heavenly mouth-watering combo that you won’t find elsewhere. It's definitely no Armani Hotel and the setting is pretty basic, but the environment and cleanliness are satisfactory.

Another place to visit if you are looking for a fish thrill is Asmak al-Malleka (The Queen Fish) in Bahary. The restaurant is located between two buildings in one of Bahary’s small alleys. It is spacious and very clean, but your view is basically balconies and laundry hanging from all the windows around you! Be careful not to order too much, as the restaurant is generous with its portions.

Balbaa Food Center in Sidi Beshr is more touristy and well-known although the quality of the food might not be the best. The food center offers an array of food items, including meat, chicken and fish. The place is decorated with aquariums all around containing live little fishes, which could be entertaining while you wait for your food. Balbaa Food Center is are mostly known with its herring salad and herring paste, but avoid the clams, as they are not as fresh as you would want.

All the above fish restaurants offer the luxury of choosing your fish from the refrigerator as you enter. Additional plates of fish, rice, fish soup and drinks can be ordered at the table.

As delicacies from the sea tend to be sleep-inducing, make sure to head to a cafe afterward for some tea. The local Togareyeen cafe in Raml Station is a good destination.

Delice or Trianon,  meanwhile, are good options for coffee and dessert; their eclairs are irresistible, and their outdoor settings are entertaining and fresh.

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