Johnny Carinos In the Nile City
By Dr. Maged El-Bialy
You might have heard of Johnny Carinos before. Johnny Carinos has finally arrived in Cairo. You can find this fine Italian restaurant,Johnny Carinos, in the Nile City Boat. It is among three other restaurants, Studio Misr, The Fish Market and Sundeck Caf.
Over the last three months, Johnny Carinos has become the most popular restaurant on the Nile City Boat. The restaurant has an outdoors seating area and another one indoors. Indoors or outdoors, both are enjoyable.You can sit and enjoy the summer breeze and the passing by feluccas outside. The seats are comfortable and the tables are well spaced out to give the guests privacy. As for hospitality, you are served in a five star fashion. All the waiters were friendly and quite hospitable with a lovely smile. The orders were a little late but may be because at night the place is packed with guests all anxious to eat what they ordered.
Johnny Carino's outdoor section is shared with the Fish Market restaurant but both blend in beautifully to hide the contrast of each restaurant menu. If you prefer to sit indoors, then you will enjoy the live show of cooks doing their magic in the open kitchen. Indoors, Johnny Carinos is very cozy. There are large windowpanes that overlook the Nile so you can still enjoy the view.
For the menu there is a great variety of Italian dishes to choose from. The menu varies from soups and salads to main dishes and sandwiches. If you are wandering if there are pizzas well you will definitely find a variety which range from 14 L.E to 20 L.E (U.S$ 3-5). As for the salads you can order the Caesars Salad or the more luscious but rather expensive shrimp and artichoke salad. Fried calamari is a delicacy at Johnny Carino's yet the amount needs to be increased to be satisfying. However fried calamari is perfect in quantity for an appetizer.
If you plan to have lunch at Johnny Carinos then check out their special lunch menu and you can enjoy a nice Ravioli or an Egg plant permesean. Whether you are having lunch or dinner the Johnnys Combo cannot be missed. You get a huge plate of spaghetti, Lasagna and a juicy piece of chicken permesean. For my order I took a special favorite of mine that I did not find in any Italian restaurant around Cairo, Chicken Milano.
This plate can either come for a single person or for two. Chicken Milano is composed of chicken medallions topped with turkey ham, provolone, basil and mushrooms and is served with fettuccine Alfredo. Take care this plate is extremely filling. They do serve cold beers at Johnny Carinos but that seems to be the only alcohol served. I did not spot any menu for drinks, not even soft drinks. However there are free refills of soft drinks (about US$ 1).
There are kiddy rides and arcade games for the kids to enjoy as well as face painting and silhouette drawing. However one drawback in Johnny Carinos is the music and entertainment. The music was distant and could not be heard and that was the only source of entertainment in the place. Parking is a hassle and it is better if you park your car away from the designated parking area or you could just take a taxi. Nile City is located in Zamalik under sixth of October Bridge.
Finally, I was able to catch a few words with the manger of Johnny Carino's. Ibtesam AKA Sam was a very friendly person. I thank her for allowing me to take a couple of photos of the restaurant, after I promised her to keep the guests out of the photos. This was because her main concern was that some guests do not like to be photographed. I think that is hospitality in a way. But you can find a friendly crowd anywhere. Sam is the first and the current manager if Johnny Carino's and on asking her if the place was easy to run she answered, Not that easy but enjoyable.
In conclusion, Johnny Carinos is considered a hot spot in Cairo at the moment. The atmosphere is nice and the hospitality is wonderful. The music is terrible but who cares about music when you have a beautiful view of the Nile. For L.E 100 (US$ 25) two persons each can have a main dish one appetizer (to be shared) and a soft drink each. You judge the value for the money. Dr. Maged El Bialy