While Sharm abounds with restaurants offering to tickle your palatte with different cuisines at all price points, the one place that must be visited is the El Fanar restaurant located in the Ras Umm Sid bay.
"El Fanar" actually means "lighthouse" in Arabic, and the restaurant is located on a cliff overlooking the Ras Umm Sid bay with a Lighthouse located right there. Its essentially an Italian food place, and I believe, in the earlier years, it was frequented mainly by Italians who used to throng to Sharm in large numbers. This is the reason why you will find that by far, Italian is the most popular cuisine on offer at Sharm.
As you walk in, there is a tent like structure housing tables built in the fashion of cave dwellings giving the impression that the restaurant has been carved into the rock face (maybe it was?).. Its quite rustic and attractive, but the evening breeze tempted us to sit out in the open, next to the edge of the cliff.
If you look down, there is another ledge with thatched bamboo sunshades and chairs laid out. I believe for a fee of LE 20-30, you can use these sunshades. A level below, is a pier jutting out into the sea, which is the most fascinating part of this restaurant. You can clearly see the coral beneath the pier as you walk towards the end of the peir, and, then suddenly, it just drops away to a deep deep blue ocean..the effect is breathtaking, even at night! Other than the food, I think the place is a must visit just to see this!
There is a round bar in the open, built in an open air beach style. The menu is fairly large, offering decent choice for vegetarians as well (and this time I was not alone!).The prices were also reasonable but the service was a mixed bag! We ordered the food for the kids first, and, that came super quick. My son ordered a gnnochi which was soft, melt in your mouth. Pizzas were a decent size and were delicious, our appetites having been whetted by the salty sea breeze.
However, our food was a different story, with it taking time, and they forgot our order of bruschettas and diet cokes! But the pastas were good, my mom-in-law liked her fish, the sea food platter was good and so was the grilled chicken. My husband said his pepper stake was ok. Despite the confusion on the orders, the general service is with a smile, and the atmosphere is so relaxed that you really do not mind waiting a wee bit!
To me, the highlight of the restaurant was not only the food, but also the view of Ras Umm Sid that it offers. As we paid our bills, I resolved to return during the day to get a good look at the reef and the marine life that is visible to the naked eye, and, of course , the fascinating sheer drop of the ocean! So if you are in Sharm, do go and have a meal at El Fanar, you will not regret it!