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Restaurants in Cairo, Egypt - Where to Dine and Drink

Oct 25, 2007
Satisfying most edible desires, Cairo, Egypt is home to a never-ending source of eateries. Inexpensive food is always easily accessible everywhere about the streets, as restaurants and snack stalls are all over the place. The highest-rated dining opportunities are most often, but not always situated in hotels and Nile boats. The borders found between eateries and cafes are not clearly defined within the Egyptian capital. In numerous locations, it is rather satisfactory to simply sip on a drink or sheesha. Mid-range and high-range sites may request a minimum charge. The less expensive eateries and some of the pricier outlets typically do not serve alcohol.

Overall, downtown Cairo is decent for eating while on a budget, while a higher level of dining is found in places, such as Zamalek, Mohandeseen, and any other parts of the city considered more well off than others.

The majority of guidebooks and food experts concur that Cairo is not the best place to visit for dining. The ingredients used to prepare food are usually seen as lower in quality, as even the "creme de la creme" of Cairo restaurants may offer dishes that create a question mark. With that being said, there is still an array of restaurants in Cairo to consider eating at.

When visitors possess a desire to explore the culinary treats of Cairo, they should seek out the publication called Cairo Dining, which produces a half-yearly update of the 1,000 of restaurants in Cairo. This also includes locations to check out. The magazine sorts listings by price, types of food, and region. The magazine is on display at chain cafes (such as Cilantro and Beanos). Otlob . com is also known to deliver food from a wide-range of restaurants in Cairo. It is also a practical choice, as it supplies a collection of eateries that are separated by kind of food and region. This English publication also discusses various menus.

Additionally, travelers find that most restaurants in Cairo (with the exception of high-quality establishments) deliver food or offer takeout.

Cairo Restaurant Suggestions

When looking for the best fowl in Cairo, this inexpensive eatery (whose name stands for "the mule") is said to please. The location is great, as easy access to the most revered mosque in Cairo (Seidna Zeinab) and close proximity to Ibn Tulun is gained. Many people enjoy adding this stop to a visit throughout Islamic Cairo.

Kushari Tahrir
Many downtown outlets are associated with this Kushari chain, which is quite popular with visitors. The only type of food served is Kushari, which is known to be quite satisfying.

Abou al-Sid
This chic Zamalek restaurant creates sophisticated Egyptian dishes. It is suggested to make reservations ahead of time and remember to dress up for dinner.

Soqaia, Zamalek
Here, people come to enjoy tasty Lebanese food with an assortment of more than 50 kinds of waterpipe tobacco. Decent beverages and an impressive positioning by the Nile location are seen as one of the best places to visit when looking for someone to enjoy the Cairo evening air.

Maison Thomas, Zamalek
For the tastiest pizza and delicious Italian food restaurant in Cairo, check out this restaurant, which also provides access to an in-house deli that supplies pork, which is quite rare in Cairo.

Euro Deli, Zamalek
To experience the comfort of this international cafe, come to take pleasure in one of the healthiest sandwiches, salads and bagels that the city has to offer.

La Bodega, Zamalek
At this high-end eatery, you will encounter a satisfying menu, great service, and refreshing drinks, which is often hard to locate in the Cairo.

Egyptian and Oriental Dishes

To enjoy traditional Egyptian dishes, these kinds of meals are found nearly in every place. The stalls and restaurants of the street is where traditional dishes, such as foul (bean paste), taamiyya (falafel), and muzagga'a (zesty aubergines) is located. Tourists also encounter kushari, which consists of macaroni, lentils, chickpeas, and the occasional addition of tomato sauce. Other typical meals include fatayeer (Egyptian pancakes with various fillings) and shawarma (pieces of roasted meat often wrapped in bread) an import hailing from Lebanon and Syria.

In less expensive restaurants in Cairo, one may only dine on vegetables and sometimes beef hot dogs or corned beef. It is also common to find salads, eggs, and fried potatoes on the menu. In order to experience the most hygienic of eateries, it is suggested to dine where most people visit, as the standards vary from place to place. Avoiding empty outlets are highly recommended, as the food usually lacks freshness. Downtown is a good place to locate many of the better Kushari outlets.

The selections of traditional Egyptian food are restricted, as you come in contact with mid- and upper- price ranges. While the circumstances are getting better, traditional eating in Egypt is usually experienced within private households. Real Egyptian food is sometimes enjoyed at well-known chain eateries, such as Felfela (which has many different outlets) and Abou Sid (found in Zamalek, Maadi and Doqqi).

Overall, tourists find that Arabic and Oriental restaurants offer varying cooking styles. On the bright side, Cairo is lucky to have a decent handful of Lebanese outfits that offers quality eats. This includes chains like Dar al-Qamar, which join a host of trendy restaurants. Also, Turkish food and restaurants are present, as they usually accommodates guest of the gulf.

Western and Asian Food

There has also been an increase in Western fast food restaurants in Cairo. These establishments are often seen as some of the best hangouts for young Cairenes who are looking for a location to relax. It seems these restaurants are the "coolest" places to hang out with friends. Throughout the city, McDonalds, Hardees, Pizza Hut and KFC are quite popular. An attractive TGI Friday's is also situated on the banks of the Nile, which is also at the entrance of Maadi, offering beer but no wine to their patrons.

Burgers in Cairo are found at Fudd Rocker's (Maadi and Mohandesseen), as well as at the Lucile in Maadi. With a trendy interior, the Mint in Mohandeseen is an alcohol-free Italian establishment. The city also boasts western-style bakeries and cafes, where lighter fare is supplied like sandwiches and salads. A trip to the popular chains of Cilantro and Beanos and The Mariott Bakery will provide similar dishes. Wireless Internet is also available at these sites.

For international dining that is more on the stylish side, Cairo has a selection to consider, which includes Italian, Chinese, and Japanese outlets. Additionally, continental cooking is found in regions, such as Dokki, Zamalek, and Mohandeseen.

Dietary Issues and Cleanliness

A few health precautions are suggested for travel in Cairo, as it is not suggested to consume tap water or eat unpeeled fresh fruits and vegetables. This is usually followed for at least the first couple of days of vacation. To enjoy vegetarian options, L'aubergine located in Zamalek is a favorable eatery that is known for its vegetarian food. If not, you will find that Egyptian cuisine is filled with vegetable dishes, but keep in mind that some meals possess concealed meat in the prepared stock and sauces. When available outside of major hotels, consume sushi and ice cream with caution.


The Metro chain and Alfa Market in Zamalek are convenient supermarkets. Otherwise vegetables and fruit are plentiful and cheap. Bakeries like The Bakery chain sell western-style bread and pastries. Organic food is available at Sekem in Zamalek.

As you encounter Souks and other outdoor markets, you will learn how to grab excellent produce by bargaining with the prices. Freshly baked bread is abundant and found as two different kinds: whole wheat ("aysh baladi") and made with white flour ("aysh shami"). It is quite common to see hundreds upon hundreds of small children on bikes delivering this bread to every corner of Cairo. Each neighborhood also has dedicated streets where produce and other goods are made available.

Small bakeries ("furuns") provide all sorts of baked goods from doughnuts to breadsticks (Italian style). The fresh items at bakeries give travelers a break from the usual breakfast of beans.
About the Author
Traveling is great and preparing for it can be fun. Find the best of both worlds, visit Travel to Egypt - Tours, Hotels and Attractions and discover the best, most fun way to learn about Cairo and Egypt in the Cairo Travel Guide and in our Egypt Videos section. Illustrated articles and loads of Egypt travel videos.
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