Tripoli, March 23: Tripoli’s Radisson Blu Mahary Hotel reopened its Filini restaurant on Wednesday evening with a grand buffet dinner . . .[restrict]party attended by many of the city’s leading business community as well as a number of diplomats.
The restaurant is another of Libya’s recent reopenings. Before the revolution, it was arguably the best Italian restaurant in the country but had been closed for months.
It is, so far, the only Italian restaurant in Tripoli and looks set to become the most fashionable eating venue in the city.
Before Qaddafi seized power in 1969 and then expelled the 30,000-strong Italian community, Tripoli had a number of superb Italian restaurants, one of which, Bologna on Istiklal Street, was regarded as the best restaurant in the country with a reputation that stretched even to Italy itself. Today, unlike most countries in the world, there are none — apart now from the Filini.
The restaurant is a named for a type of pasta and there are Filini restaurants specializing in Italian cuisine in Radisson hotels around the world.
Despite the similarity of name, it has nothing to do with the Italian film director Federico Fellini. Nor does it refer to the Philaeli Arch (in Italian, Fileni), erected between Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in 1937 and demolished in 1970 by Qaddafi.
The arch commemorated the two brothers who were chosen to represent Carthage in a race some 2,500 year ago to define the border with rival Cyrene. To the latter’s fury, the Fileni brother were faster than the Cyrenians and the two groups met far closer to Cyrene than expected. Cyrene then demanded that as the price for its agreement to the border being set at the place, the Fileni should be killed. They accepted for the sake of their country. [/restrict]