Egypt is the perfect location for foodies; thanks to the fantastic dining experience this idyllic country offers. The delicious eateries here offer wholesome, homemade dishes. Choose from sandwich bars, bagel stalls, pancake houses, sizzling street food and gourmet bistros offering world-famous falafel to tuck into. Indulge in plates of flavoursome yet nutritious Egyptian cuisine at the charming Zooba restaurant, in Cairo.
The Birdcage Restaurant located inside the InterContinental Semiramis Hotel is an award-winning restaurant serving tantalising Thai food. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with natural materials, from wood to stone and accented with pops of vibrant colours. Soft Asian music plays in the background adding to the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
The menu is extensive and offers dishes such as a classic green chicken curry with just the right amount of spiciness, balanced out by the creaminess of the coconut milk and the sweetness of the chicken breast and tri-colour peppers stirred in. Another favourite is the prawns in red curry, complete with pineapple, perfectly cooked and beautifully spiced or what about the shrimp konafa, king prawns, perfectly wrapped in spindly konafa, and deep fried a golden brown, presented in a fried wonton wrapper and served with sweet and sour dipping sauce? Heaven on a plate.
The Egyptian Pancake House is located in the heart of the Khan-el-Khalili souk in Cairo. It is quite a small restaurant favoured by the locals as well as tourists and serves a huge selection of sweet and savoury pancakes (fetirs) and pizzas.
There are many varieties of fillings to choose from but the most popular savoury filling is ‘gibna rummy’ (which is a local cheese you will only find in Egypt) and green pepper and olives. Out of the sweet pancakes they offer, the favourite seems to be ‘bil kuli hagar’ a pancake filled with sultanas, coconut, crushed nuts, honey and topped with cream.
The outside tables are perfect for watching all the chaos and colour of the souk without being in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. The best of both worlds.
El Fishawi is located right next to the Khan-el-Khalili souk in Cairo. This authentic, historic café has existed for over a hundred years and is still used by locals as a place where friends get together to chat and relax over dark Egyptian coffee, regular tea, yansoon, an aniseed tea, or karkaday, a hibiscus infusion and have a smoke (shisha).
The décor is very traditional with large pitted mirrors and beautiful chandeliers and there is an inside and outside seating area. Take a seat, relax and soak up the wonderful atmosphere all around you, smell the coffee and the shisha, listen to the chatter and laughter and just enjoy the feeling of being in another world. The locals are always happy to chat with tourists about the history of the café and to reminisce about old times. This café really is somewhere you must visit when in Cairo.
Esplanade Café Restaurant is located inside the InterContinental Cairo Citystars Hotel and offers a range of meals from tasty snacks to a la carte meals to full buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Breakfasts are served from 8 am to 12 pm and the three-egg omelettes with beef bacon, mushroom, onion, tomato, and cheese is a particular favourite. If you have a smaller appetite, why not try the continental breakfast of juice, bakery basket, sliced seasonal fresh fruit, freshly brewed coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
Main meals include wonderful dishes such as the Grilled Honey Lime Cilantro Chicken, which is boneless chicken, honey, soy sauce and fresh coriander and the Pan-Fried Sea Bass Provencal, sea bass with tomatoes, olives, herbs, capers, Dijon, mustard and olive oil.
The Esplanade is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Jared’s Bagels is located in Maadi, Cairo and serves wonderful, freshly baked bagels as well as wraps, delicious burgers, French fries, salads, toasted sandwiches, omelettes, muffins, cheesecake, cookies and a variety of other pastries. Their espresso coffee and speciality coffees are delicious and they also have a variety of cold drinks.
The number of fillings to choose from is amazing, for example, you could have turkey and salad on the olive bagel or Spanish omelette on the onion bagel. Some of the fillings for the bagels and wraps are suitable for vegetarians, as are the salads.
The dining area is small but very nice, the staff are friendly and helpful and the service is extremely good. They are open from 6 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday, and they also offer a delivery service within those hours.
The Left Bank in Zamalek is located inside the Sequoia complex, with views of the river and the houseboats moored there. The terrace is a great place for breakfast with options ranging from French toast to a traditional Cairene plate with fuul (fava bean paste) and feta. Later in the day, there is a wide selection of salads, pasta, and mains such as grilled sea bass and chicken stuffed with mushrooms and mozzarella.
The interior is brightly decorated with an amazing mosaic floor recreating the map of downtown Cairo and book shelves filled with classics and the latest releases.
The left side has seats with comfortable couches and in the centre of the space there are low tables with equally comfortable seats or why not sit at the 18-metre-long community table and relax while browsing the magazines or chatting to the other people at the table?
If you are looking for a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Cairo, the Lebanese restaurant Sabaya, located in the heart of the city is certainly worth trying. The restaurant offers real authentic Lebanese food in a plush, sumptuous but relaxed atmosphere. The menu is extensive and all meals are freshly made.
The Sabaya is known for its incredible mezze. You can choose from old favourites such as hummus and sambousek (stuffed pastry triangles), some salads, chicken livers doused in pomegranate molasses and bel kawarma (mashed potato doused in lamb’s fat), and you’ve got yourself a real Levantine feast.
There are also plenty of grilled meat main courses, along with chicken kidney, falafel, and metabbel (grilled eggplant, tahina, yogurt, lemon and garlic).
The service is good, the staff friendly and the food absolutely delicious. What more could you want?
The Windows Restaurant is located inside the Cairo Holiday Inn, Cairo Citystars and is open 24 hours a day. Widows offer breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, as well as an a la carte menu featuring a selection of international dishes and a large variety of local Egyptian specialties. Enjoy an exceptional “all you can eat” live cooking buffet on weekends as the chefs prepare your favourite meals right in front of you using the freshest ingredients. There are also a variety of meals suitable for vegetarians.
The décor is very modern, colourful and comfortable, the service is good and the staff are very friendly and helpful. This is the perfect place to enjoy a good meal in extremely pleasant surroundings and then relax with a drink or two in the evening before going home or on to somewhere else.
Yokal is a small, sandwich bar located in Heliopolis, Cairo. They have a very simple set-up and offer four main types of sandwich fillings: grilled sausage (sujuk), Alexandrian liver, chargrilled kofta and sausage and egg. You can mix and match your fillings to suit your taste and they will always be packed in a handy little box. You can also order French fries, sauces, pickles and soft drinks to accompany your sandwich.
Although the choice is limited, the sandwiches are lovely and freshly made. The sandwich bar is clean and tidy and has a small seating area with tables, where you can eat in if you don’t want take-away. The prices are very reasonable, the staff friendly and the service is quick and efficient, even when it’s very busy and crowded your order is ready as soon as you finish paying for it.
Eating at Zooba is an experience in itself. All visitors sit at one long table and choose from delicious Egyptian meals that would normally have only been served as street food. The restaurant offers traditional dishes served without preservatives, additives or artificial colour and prides itself on providing food that is wholesome, nutritious, and unique Think eggplant in your Ta’amia, homemade olive paste with your Roumi cheese, and oriental pastry in your rice pudding. Don’t miss the spicy falafel, whole grain koshary and their yummy red pita bread made of beetroot.
Zooba is also open for breakfasts and the menu has a list of traditional Egyptian breakfast dishes to choose from served in simple metal dishes with the traditional Egyptian Baladi bread. A wonderful way to start your day.
All portions served are generous, the service is quick and friendly and if the restaurant is busy you can order take-away.