If you don’t want to walk the length of Al Seef (nice now but hellish in the summer) the only parking alternative is to use the non-refundable AED55 valet service which, thankfully, is conveniently located less than a minute from the restaurant. Ila is a Middle Eastern-accented café and restaurant located just opposite the US Embassy (besides Kona Grill) in Meraas’s beautiful Al Seef complex. The restaurant has an expansive outdoor terrace which looks on to the Creek. Sadly, on the day I visited, what should have been a beautiful view was blocked by a bunch of yachts moored right in front of the restaurant – bummer.
I was there with a friend to try their breakfast and, after a quick scan of their menu, ordered the Zooj Traditional Fetour (for two). We chose Shuk Shuka over an omelette (any day) and asked for spicy Foul, the two choices you are given. In addition, they also serve halwa, falafel, olives, honey, cream and two pizza like slices of feteer, a paratha-like flaky layered pastry commonly found in Egypt. As good as the shuk shuka and foul were, it was the fateer with honey and cream (which we saved to eat last) which was the highlight of our meal. It was as delicious as it was nostalgic. Thanks to the foul and falafels (which I simply cannot resist) this turned into a filling breakfast for two.
Perhaps it was the blustery morning but neither my friend nor I were impressed with the service. There was a young Filipino with braces who came to the rescue every time we were about the blow a fuse (from waiting for someone to come to our table) but even so, as pretentious as this may sound, we did not feel special or well looked after. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a venue which has much more to offer than what we briefly experienced. I, however, will take future scenic breakfasts at La Mer, Kaftan or Zou Zou to be specific. Tamam.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.