Features - October 1, 2023

In Memoriam: Ettore Cicognini, Manager of Cico’s Italian Restaurant Passed Away on 25 September


With profound sorrow, we announce the passing of Ettore Cicognini, the manager and namesake of Cico’s Italian Restaurant, who departed from us on the morning of September 25, 2023. May he rest in peace.

Adliya, Bahrain, had blossomed into a vibrant dining and entertainment hub, and its transformation owed much to the legendary Cico’s Italian Restaurant, established in 1978; the oldest Italian restaurant in the GCC. Today, we reflect on the extraordinary journey of this culinary icon and his history with the late Mr Faieq Al Zayani, the founder and owner.

Cico’s Italian Restaurant, now a cherished landmark in the heart of Adliya, is not just a dining establishment but a gathering place for diplomats, ministers, ambassadors, and international celebrities. Even Grammy award winner Tony Bennett graced its doors during its zenith. Cicognini’s culinary expertise revolutionised Bahrain’s dining scene, particularly with his innovative approach to calamari and squid, previously discarded by fishermen but transformed into sought-after delicacies at Cico’s.

“I changed the game on calamari and squid in Bahrain. Fishermen used to throw them back, but Cico’s sold them by the kilo; we transformed the dining scene inBahrain,” reminisced the restaurateur. Cico’s Italian Restaurant offers a fusion of northern and southern Italian cuisine, blending tradition with modernity.

While Cicognini departed Bahrain 19 years ago, he continued to cherish the memories of his time there. He expressed his gratitude to the local community and business leaders for their steadfast support and conveyed his best wishes to Bahrain. Cicognini was a devoted family man. His garden bloomed with red and white roses, reminiscent of Bahrain’s flag, a daily reminder of his cherished memories.

As we remember Ettore Cicognini, we also pay tribute to the owner and founder of the late Mr Faieq Al Zayani. Together, they embarked on this remarkable journey, turning a vision into reality. Today, Cico’s Italian Restaurant remains a cherished legacy, exemplifying the spirit of passion, dedication, and community. Our thoughts are with Cicognini’s family and loved ones during this challenging time.

A Message from Ettore Cicognini’S Family:

To all Cico’s friends in Bahrain,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt messages after the passing of our wonderful and much-loved dad, Cico. Your thoughts, stories, prayers, and love have brought comfort to our mum and us. Dad loved talking about Bahrain and the restaurant. His happiest times were when he was wearing his braces, chatting, and laughing with all of you, preferably holding a glass of wine!

And you’ll be glad to know he never changed – he was just as warm, loving, cheeky, and full of life right up until the end. Please know that dad passed away peacefully in his sleep, in his home, knowing that our mum, his Loly, the love of his life, was close by. We three girls have been blessed to have the most loving, present, gentle, protective, and caring dad, who was also a very loving and playful grandfather to our children.

Our hearts are completely broken, but they are also so full of love. If you are able to send stories, photos, and messages for a keepsake book we are putting together, please email cicogninifamily@yahoo.com

Finally, our dad may have been Italian by birth, but his heart belonged to Bahrain.

All love and best wishes,

Maite, Sam, and Irene, and on behalf of Loly

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