Au Ritrovo

If rue Cherif is Alexandria’s financial street, then Avenue Fouad is its entertainment street. It was on Avenue Fouad (the world’s oldest living street, which was laid by Alexander the Great’s engineer Dinocrates and was called the Canopic Way because it led to Canopus, the old name for Abu Kir) that Alexandria’s cinemas and theaters were built. Theater Zizinia, the first theater built to purpose in Egypt, is no longer on Avenue Fouad, but the Cordahi complex, once owned by the wealthy Lebanese George Cordahi, included the Mohamed Ali Theater (later renamed the Sayed Darwish Theater and now the Opera) as well as Cinema Royal and Cinema Plaza. Pericles Dimitrio rented the Cinema and cafeteria in 1935 from the Cordahis. He restored them, and installed the first talking apparatus, or sound system, in 1936. He converted the cafeteria into Chocolaterie Royal. He gradually bought out the small shops on the side street, which he transformed into Au Ritrovo in 1948. It was a luxurious restaurant with a foreign chef. The clientele was the elite of Alexandria. After his death, his son Michel Dimitrio inherited with his sisters Marguerite who was married to George Milonas and Denise who was married to Pierre Thomoglou. Together they ran the establishment. Later on George Milonas was in charge of the complex till he died and his wife took over. Gabriel Asaad rented Au Ritrovo from them.

Il Ritrovo started out at the end of the 1940s as a restaurant. Matinée dancing was held with a live orchestra from 6-9 pm. Then the soiré would start, with dinner and dancing. The Greek singer Esterlita sang there in the 1960s. She was very famous and many people flocked in to hear her sing. A lot of people hired the place for private parties, dinners and receptions.