It is with full bellies that we look back fondly on some of our favourite restaurants in Cairo reviewed in October. Our November Restaurant Guide is a mix of some of Cairo’s old favourite eateries and a few new spectacular menus around the city. So if you’re looking to change up your dining routine or rekindle a culinary romance; read on.
Gandofli: Cairene seafood lovers have long loved this restaurant. With several branches scattered around Cairo, Gandofli is known to serve up some of the freshest fish around. We simply cannot get enough of the creamy seafood soup, which is so popular among customers that waiters walk through the restaurant with a kettle and ladle to pour bowls upon bowls of the delectable potage. While the restaurant has been known to expertly grill a fish or two, most diners go for the delicious deep-fried marine cuisine and who are we to argue? Their fried clams give this restaurant its name and its fame.
Essence: Our love of curries has led us to some of Cairo’s best Indian and Thai restaurants; so when we heard there was a new kind of heat in town, we had to check it out. Essence in Mohandiseen serves up the rich, layered flavours of Pakistani, Afghani and Indian cuisine, contributing to the ever-expanding diversity of Egypt’s culinary scene. Take advantage of the wait staff’s knowledge and order according to their recommendations. We were definitely steered in the right direction with their suggestion of smoked yogurt lamb. And we appreciate any restaurant with an elegant atmosphere, where you can have a delicious dinner for two for under 250LE.
Floor 10: It is without bias that we state the following: the Kempinski Nile Hotel Cairo has been raising the standards for hospitality and food since their mid-summer’s opening in Cairo. The recent opening of Floor 10 is no exception. It was love at first bite of foie gras for us, and the restaurant’s elegant yet creative pairing of flavours was spot on from beginning to end. Oh, and there’s a Nile view at this chic and expensive tenth-floor dining room, but you’ll likely be too enraptured in your culinary experience to notice.
Shogun: We find that many of Cairo’s teppanyaki restaurants are a little heavy handed with the salt and soya. Thankfully, this is not the case at Intercontinental Heliopolis’ Shogun, where the food is fresh and the flavours are clean. Although we might go elsewhere for a sushi roll, Shogun slices fresh sashimi and knows their way around the teppanyaki. From the grill to the customer in a matter of seconds; the meat is tender, juicy and full of flavour. This is a restaurant to head to after some bargain hunting at Citystars, since it’s going to set you back a few hundred LE a head; but they have unlimited sushi on Monday.
Fandira: Craving some seafood, but can’t be bothered to leave the house? Well, if you live in Maadi you’re in luck.Brand new delivery and take-out restaurant Fandira has got you covered. Do not pass on their garlicky stir-fried prawns or their tuna steak, both prepared exquisitely. We suspect having a chef with Four Seasons experience has something to do with the elegant flavours of this upscale take-away restaurant. With a variety of preparations ranging from deep-fried to Thai curries, simple grills and sautés; there is something to please every seafood loving palate.
Nola: Okay, we know that Nola is technically a pastry shop and not a restaurant, but try convincing us of this on Cupcakes for Breakfast Tuesday. Starting off with apple cupcakes and moving right along to peanut butter, we can satisfy our fruit and protein needs before preventing scurvy with lemon meringue. We usually finish with one of Nola’s smaller-sized red velvet cupcakes, because one should be sensible when eating dessert. In all seriousness, though; Nola’s cupcakes are artistically prepared and come in two sizes and a slew of sweet flavours. Nola delivers; but we recommend at least one visit to the adorable Zamalek shop.
French Cultural Centre: A low-key al-fresco lunch at the French Cultural Centre has some of the best value for money that we’ve seen in a while in Cairo. Serving simple but fresh omelettes, crêpes, pastas and paninis; the restaurant manages to keep costs low while using a number of hard-to-find and imported ingredients; this is one of the few places around Cairo that still serves ham. This is not fine dining; but for what you pay, you’ll be pleased, and a large crowd of regulars is testament to that. With free wireless internet available; this is the ideal spot for students on a budget.
Aura: Located inside The Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence, Aura serves Levantine food in a gorgeous Lebanese-themed dining room with a contemporary edge. In addition to the warm and welcoming interior, the fourth floor, poolside restaurant has outdoor seating; making it an utterly romantic location for late-evening dining under the full moon. We admit that the fatta falls a little flat; but the flavourful shish barak is a delightful dish. For Four Seasons dining, Aura is not as expensive as you might think, so if you’re looking for an Oriental evening of luxury before a night out at Club 35; head here for some scrumptious mezzas.