Restaurants in Cairo
Diners in Cairo should take advantage of the unique, plentiful, and very cheap restaurants serving Egyptian favourites. By sitting down in the neighbourhood café and enjoying some light eats and sweet drinks travellers can easily immerse themselves in the local dining culture. This is also a great opportunity for people-watching and mingling with the locals. Favourite Egyptian meals to try include falafel (made out of crushed fava beans), kushari (a tasty mixture of staples like rice, lentils, pasta and caramelized onion) and fattah (a meat, bread and rice dish similar to Biryani).
Although Egyptian cuisine is worth investigating and has a lot to offer, some of the best restaurants in Cairo have an eclectic international focus. Previously largely restricted to hotel restaurants, everything from sashimi to cheeseburgers is now prepared by top chefs in trendy venues. Even traditional local food is getting a creative facelift.
For your pick of the trendiest restaurants in Cairo, Zamalek is a dining hotspot. The downtown areas near Khan al-Khalili are great for cheap local haunts.
In Cairo it is considered unclean to eat with the left hand, and visitors should remember that alcohol is usually not served unless at a hotel restaurant. It is considered good manners to leave food on your plate, as it shows that the host has been generous. It is considered impolite to stare at another person's food in a restaurant. During Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day, many restaurants are closed and, again, travellers should head to a hotel restaurant and avoid eating in public.
Delicious food and an inviting, cosy atmosphere have made this Italian restaurant one of Cairo's favourite eateries. Soft lighting and tasteful décor create the perfect atmosphere to dine on such dishes as creamy onion soup, veal cordon bleu stuffed with mushrooms and topped with cheese and tomatoes, or thick-crust pizzas loaded with delectable toppings. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations essential.
Address: 14 Samir Mokhtar, Str, Al Golf
Telephone: (0)2 24 14 2202
With authentic ingredients flown in from Bangkok and a highly skilled Thai woman at the helm, it's no wonder the food at Bua Khao keeps guests coming back for more. Renowned for serving the best Thai food in Egypt, the massaman and penang curries are to-die-for and the tom kar gai (chicken and coconut milk soup) is a great way to start things off. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations advisable.
Address: 9 Road 151, Ma'adi
Telephone: (0)2 378 3355
Towering 41 floors above the city in the Grand Nile Tower Hotel, diners can enjoy truly panoramic views of Cairo as the scenery circles by. Besides taking in the Nile, the city and the pyramids, an open kitchen in the centre of the restaurant puts on a show serving up an eclectic range of multi-national menu choices. A slightly formal setting is perfect for romantic evenings and a reprieve from the congestion 41 floors below. Reservations are advised.
Address: Old Cairo, Cairo Governorate
Telephone: (0)2 2365 1234
The Fish Market
Gone are the days of travelling to Alexandria for good fresh fish. Nowadays, those looking for decent sea fare can book a table at the Fish Market, situated on the upper deck of a boat permanently moored on the west bank of the Nile. With no menu and just a display of some of the freshest seafood Cairo has to offer, diners pay by weight and choose their own fish, shrimp, calamari, crabs and shellfish, which the kitchen will prepare beautifully. Couple that with a slew of Middle Eastern salads and deliciously home-baked bread and diners have a recipe for success! Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations advisable.
Address: 26 Shara al-Nil, Giza (on the American Boat)
Overlooking Maydan Sphinx and complete with exquisite woodwork detailing, the lavish dining area in Kandahar features authentic Indian furnishings. The food tastes as good as the restaurant looks. The Baingan Bharta (creamy smoked eggplant baked in a clay oven and perfect for dipping fluffy Naan bread in) is an absolute must and Murgh Tikka (spiced chicken kebabs marinated in yoghurt) is a firm favourite. Service is excellent. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations advisable.
Address: 3 Shara Gameat al-Dowal al-Arabiya, Mohandiseen
Koshary Abou Tarek
Consistently ranked as one of the most popular restaurants in Cairo, Koshary Abou Tarek serves up a uniquely Egyptian dish, koshary (sometimes spelled koshari), best described as an Egyptian-style chilli, in large portions for prices even the most budget-conscious travellers will love. As ubiquitous in Egypt as curry is in India, Koshary is available at nearly any street vendor in Cairo, but Abou Tarek's koshary is among the best in the city.
Address: 16 Maarouf, Shamplion Street
Telephone: 202 2577 5935
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