Wednesday July 24th, 2024
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Everyone is Family at Zamalek’s Zio Marco

Forget the pizza, some things are more important.

Layla Raik

Everyone is Family at Zamalek’s Zio Marco

At the northern tip of Zamalek, near the confluence where the Nile's two streams reunite, stands a quaint restaurant with a humble wooden exterior, offering a steady supply of authentic Italian dishes. During a leisurely stroll through the tree-lined streets, we stumbled upon Zio Marco. With the same naive curiosity that overtook Hansel and Gretel, we couldn’t resist exploring.

Zio Marco’s ‘tagliata di filetto al pistachio’ and ‘risotto allo scoglio’ transported us to a culinary dreamland, and the creamy tiramisu that followed confirmed that something magical was happening at this seemingly modest Zamalek restaurant. The Hansel and Gretel metaphor suddenly felt too real, prompting us to delve deeper into the enchantment. But Zio Marco is no fairy tale; there was no candy house and no witch.

Instead, we met the mastermind behind Zio Marco: Chef Marco. Half Italian and half Syrian, Marco was drawn to Egypt by the most powerful force of all – love. After living in Italy for 40 years and founding four restaurants across his homeland, Chef Marco fell in love with an Egyptian woman and soon after, with Egypt itself. He packed his family’s recipes and pasta machine and moved to Cairo.

“When I came to Cairo, I wanted to find a way to share my love for Italian cuisine,” Marco explains. “So what Zio Marco does is deliver authentic Italian flavours, but with a few twists to cater to local tastes.”

These ‘little twists’ never stray far from the original recipes. We know this because the mascarpone in his tiramisu has never turned into cottage cheese, and because of Marco’s meticulous method. “A key focus at Zio Marco is ensuring the Italian recipes are executed correctly. Everything is made using organic ingredients, without excessive spices or heavy, fatty preparations.”

Committed to maintaining the integrity of his Italian culinary traditions, Chef Marco has created a warm and welcoming space at Zio Marco. The restaurant is renowned for its personalized experience, far removed from the commercialised approach of many dining establishments. At Zio Marco, everyone is treated like family.