On the once very prestigious Fouad Street in the heart of Alexandria, close to the intersection with Safiyah Zaghloul Street, Fernando’s is giving a new face to Italian restaurants that have always been closely associated with the Alexandria dining out tradition.
The interiors are pleasant – though the style verges more on the American than the Italian – and the waiters are immediately welcoming without being overbearing.
Typical of the trend of big chain eateries, Fernando’s menu is done the modern way, which might not appeal to the old-fashioned, with big pictures next to the listed items.
The drinks that Fernando’s offers, in considerable variety and all alcohol free, are a good way to entice first timers. From the many coladas, mochatils and frizzes, the red basil, which is a mix of 7Up, strawberry juice and basil, and the blue basil, where strawberry is replaced with pineapple, prove to be the perfectly refreshing start to the meal to follow.
A variety of starters — fried mozzarella sticks, fried chicken sticks, mix and vegetarian spring rolls — are decent enough, especially when dipped in the side sauces.
The mix of fried calamari and shrimps is served with a considerably good tarter sauce that somewhat compensates for the over-frying that rendered the little items a bit too dry.
The temptation of pizza or pasta is inevitable at an Italian restaurant, but the main dishes are also very inviting for a dinner of the hungry who missed lunch after enjoying the beach during the day.
If in Alexandria, the wisdom would go, it is time to indulge in fish and seafood. This was not necessarily the sentiment inspired by the too crunchy calamari and shrimps.
An order of the firmly play-it-safe chicken with red sauce and potatoes, with white rice and vegetables on the side, proved as perfectly safe as it promised.
Another order of grilled fish fillet with a brown shrimp sauce, made only little success in overpassing the experience of the calamari and shrimp appetiser and gave dominance to the wisdom of indulging in fish and sea food, but only at a fish and seafood restaurant.
The dessert on the menu looks inviting, especially in its chocolate variations, but then there is always the wisdom that in Alexandria you cannot miss Gelato Azza.
The coffee is okay and so are the prices, at around LE350 for the meal, drinks, coffee and water.
Fernando’s is open until 1am and according to the waiter it takes its last order a little after midnight.