Throw three of our favorite words into one sentence and you have our full attention. Execute the concept of pub-resto and tapas bar with finesse and a dash of humor, and you have us hooked. La Taberna has pulled off a tour de force by creating a warm and welcoming meeting spot and eatery, with amazing cocktails, addictive tapas and some impressive Spanish cuisine, which in our opinion, may be the best Spanish cuisine in Cairo.
Type of cuisine: There is a strong Spanish influence here, evident from the tapas selection through to traditional favorites and desserts. Although La Taberna is undeniably a great place to hit for lunch or dinner, it is also a perfect hub to catch up with friends over a drink, with a few tapas to nibble on.
Dishes sampled: The sun was sinking slowly under the horizon, so we felt it appropriate to head straight for the cocktail menu before even thinking of food. Our Cosmic Beauty and Berries Addict came with whimsical presentation, one in a very organic looking earthenware bowl, the other in a huge ‘light bulb’ perched on a bed of ice in a large cocktail glass. The mix of ingredients hit the spot and perked up our appetites in a flash, and we just loved the precisely formed ice cube in the Cosmic Beauty, a miniature replica of a Wimbledon-worthy tennis ball.
We started off our meal with La Taberna Bread, lightly toasted brown bread loaded with tomato, capers, anchovies and Parmesan. The flavors set each other off to a ‘t’, and we finished off the wooden platter in no time. Looking for a contrast in mood, we then shared a Tartar of Avocado and Mango. Perfectly diced and delicately seasoned, the avocado and mango were made for each other, and the addition of large, juicy pink shrimp worked well. More shrimp arrived, this time served hot, with a powerful punch of garlic and chili, drizzled with a lemon-butter sauce.
How can you skip paella when you have the chance to indulge? We couldn’t, and it was every bit as authentic as we had hoped for. Moist grains of saffron-infused rice, more shrimp, fresh green peas, sweet red and green pepper, tender rings of squid, octopus and mussels working in harmony; it is a dish we can heartily recommend. Although we had lunched extremely well we couldn’t resist sharing a Mixed Grill, our curiosity was piqued when we heard the presentation was a quirky as the other fun touches we had come across. No spoilers here, you can find out for yourselves.
Our notorious sweet tooth had to take a rest, even though the desserts on offer were drool-worthy, we had reached our limits. Next time, for sure!
Other menu options that appealed: Ah… where to start. It all looks good, and we have been told the fillet steak is superb. We would also keep working our way through the cocktail menu, if only to enjoy the innovative and never-ending variety of presentation, of course! The Saffron Crème Brûlée would be a ‘must try’ too.
Beverage options: Being a pub-resto, there is a full bar, but non-imbibers are well catered for with fruit infusions and other ‘soft’ options.
Décor: Plenty of brick, dark wood and splashes of jewel colors in the various seating options. We liked having a choice between high stools along the bar, low velvet banquettes and comfortable chairs arranged around circular tables. Oh yes, there are also discreetly placed flat screens for viewing the important matches. Our stools are already booked for the World Cup!
Clientele mix: Thirty-somethings predominate, but slightly younger or older customers would not feel out of place. There is an up-market urban professional vibe, in a casual mode.
Price range: Food and local beverage pricing is moderate. Cocktails veer towards the splurge category, as only imported alcohol is used. But why not push the boat out, they are totally worth it!
Opening hours: 2 pm till late.
Address: Guezira Plaza, main level.
Tel: 012 384 7374