Zamalek has too many options for burgers but the tiny cosmopolitan island does not seem to care much for pizza, and besides the fast food options of the genre, places like Pizza Mia were the exception to the rule. The new Il Divino, where Top Dawgs used to be next to the Om Kolthoum tower, might be the beginning of the reversal to this trend with a menu that promises something for everyone.
We were invited to a tasting session for journalists and tried a healthy variety of pizza and dessert plates and are pleased to say Il Divino will probably not be a short-lived endeavour like its predecessor at the same location was.
We first tried their basic margarita option (EGP 45) which was very strong on oregano with excellent crust and cheese that was flavourful but not overpowering; however, we preferred Il Divino’s more adventurous, and in particular, vegetable-based options the most.
We loved its Diva pizza: mozzarella, tomato sauce and oregano with broccoli, asparagus and spinach (EGP 49). Though we are not sure why the pizza is called Diva, the strong earthy tastes of the ingredients made the pizza one of our top contenders.
Another excellent choice is the Rucola (EGP 48), which combines mozzarella, tomato sauce and oregano with rucola, parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes. The parmesan and rucola combination made it burst with flavour and made it a much lighter offering. We were also impressed by their Oceanta: mozzarella, tomato sauce, oregano, shrimps, calamari and smoked salmon (EGP 68).
Not all of their options work as well as others; we found their Pesto Pollo (EGP 52) a bit lacking. Made of mozzarella, tomato sauce, oregano, chicken strips, pesto sauce and sun dried tomatoes, the pizza did not taste as fresh as the other pizzas and the hard cheese did not make for an appetising dish.
For desserts, we tried their two dishes: home baked apple pie (EGP 35) and fresh lemon tart (EGP 30). While we found the apple pie to be excellent at first, but once the vanilla ice cream was finished and we were left with a lot of apple, there was nothing to offset the bitterness of the apples and we felt that the dish needed to be sweeter. The lemon tart was a tad strong but was fresh and zesty; a burst of lemon flavour well balanced by its crust.
Il Divino has a great location in Zamalek but it comes with a price and that price is limited space. There are only a few places to sit down but the place is easygoing and comfortable, with lots of light and a clean feel to it that prevents it from being claustrophobic.
We recommend you try Il Divino the next time you are in the area instead of choosing to eat in the overwhelming variety of cafes. Its wide variety of dishes, fresh ingredients and flavourful pizzas will impress you but be warned that some of their offerings can be pricey. Then again, you came to Zamalek for Pizza.