At Sporting, right on the Corniche of Alexandria, and in Smouha, in the more residential quarter of the city, and in Marina, the ultimate destination of summer holiday-makers, AlReef ElDemashqi is proving to be able to attract more clients who are encouraged by its delicious and not-overly expensive food – “which is also prepared with unmistakable hygiene,” one client noted.
And whether clients park to pick up their lunch or call to order a dinner, “ya hala”, is the typical welcoming words that the staff offers - be they the Syrians or the Egyptians who have recently joined the successful culinary operation.
The original venue that was opened close to three years ago at Sporting is still the most popular of the three branches – “people say they want to get off at Sporting by AlReef ElDemashqi; so we know the place by heart”, as one taxi-driver said.
The branch in Smouha is more popular for delivery service that is said by a regular client to be “highly efficient; they take the order right and they never mix the orders; and the food is clean and very well-packed”.
The Marina branch is very seasonal but it is particularly popular for light dinners during the months of July and August.
The menu of is predictable: kebbah, shawerma – both chicken and meat – and the typical Syrian appetisers of fatoush, baba ghanouj and hummus.
These items are offered in many varieties, however: the chicken shawerma is served in the typical Syrian bread sandwiches, with pickles that are really nice and not too salty, and a bit of french fries or in the format of a Syrian bread-based pie, with the shawerma put along line with some slightly super-imposed mozzarella cheese - that being excused by the chef as “an adjustment to appeal to the Egyptian clients who love the taste and smell of the melting cheese."
Also to appease to the clients, AlReef ElDemashqi offers a selection of not-so-Italian pizzas and the all-time Egyptian favourite cabbage and mayonnaise salad.
Set meals that are largely chicken- and ricebased are also offered in perfect packaging and at adequate prices.
For those who are willing to put their orders in advance for large group lunches, AlReef ElDemashqi offers a selection of dishes to share from the heart of Syrian cuisine - with some Jordanian and Lebanese additions.
Overall, the service is prompt, pleasant and efficient; the food is good, fresh and tasty.
The stores of AlReef ElDemashqi open earlier than most other places in Alexandria, at 9am, and stay open as late as the restaurants of this harbour city and maybe even later - until 3am, right before the crack of dawn.
A group of four people could get a relatively large lunch for EGP 200.