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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Grizzly Diner: Burgers at New American Diner in Zamalek
We recently asked what Cairo’s favourite burger joint was, and the responses threw up everything from Fuddruckers and Burger Kitchen to the baladi burgers of Amo Hosny. We were recently very impressed with the burgers at Jobo Sports Bar in El Gouna, so now we’re on the lookout for something as good here in Cairo.
The newly opened Grizzly Diner has filled the gap next to Coffee Shop Company on Zamalek’s Abul Feda Corniche, promising an authentic American diner experience.
Two seating areas are available. The indoor seating is a shiny black space with a decent view of the Nile. The steps to the side of the entrance take you to the slightly larger outdoor area on a lower deck, where the kitchen also is. The decor only really mimics the bright red of a diner in its chairs, although metal plaques featuring the names and badges of American football teams and doo-wop music coming through the speakers add a little atmosphere.
The cuisine at Grizzly Diner includes burgers, steak, pasta and chicken. The combo platter (34.99LE) consists of mozzarella sticks, mushrooms onion rings and chicken wing lollipops – all fried. Nothing really stood out, but the serving was generous and would satisfy two or three people.
Two versions of every burger are offered; home-grown and Australian Angus. The menu tells us that the former is made of meat grazed locally, and that the latter is imported prime beef. There’s about a 15LE difference in price, and anyone who has had Australian Angus before won’t mind paying the extra.
Each burger comes with several options for sides. You can choose between variously prepared potatoes (fries, wedges, mashed, skins), a serving of Caesar salad or a small portion of one of the varieties of pasta that the menu offers.
The burgers arrive at your table on a wooden serving paddle, and the generous portion of wedges is served in a small bucket. The mushrooms in the shitaki mushroom burger (44.99LE) were barely discernible, but the meat itself was cooked to a perfect pink inside, and the salad was noticeably fresh. The same applied to the BBQ onion straws burger (44.99LE), though it barely had any of the BBQ sauce that the menu promised. The wedges were chunky, seasoned well and served hot, and the Caesar salad was fresh though its dressing was quite runny.
The obvious choice for afters was the apple pie (24.99LE) – the most American of all desserts. Expecting a slice of sweet golden-crusted pie, we received two squares of a floppy brown goo with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and lines of caramel sauce. The apple was well overcooked and the crust had the consistency of a layer from inside a bowl of om ali.
Milkshakes are offered in a range of different combos at 21.99LE. The cookie dough shake and the rolling stones shake were both more watery than the American versions that they try to imitate, although they’re served in metal tumblers as per American tradition. The rolling stone shake is made of pineapple, banana and coconut. Without getting too scientific about blended fruits, we found that pineapple and banana are generally too different in consistency to go well together.
Zamalek locals can pop by Grizzly Diner in the morning for a pancake breakfast, but the burgers are absolutely where Grizzly can make its mark. Trying so desperately to imitate an American diner, however, may send it off track.
Finally, a new venue has opened in Cairo serving something other than sushi, cupcakes or exotic shisha. WIF, which stands for Wings in Flavours, has opened up its doors on Taha Hussein Street in Zamalek and specialises in crunchy buffalo wings.
enter the tiny space, take the very cool wooden stairs up. The restaurant is
divided into three different sections, each of which is decorated slightly differently.
Design-wise, WIF is a dream with wooden and stone walls, and chains and
oriental lamps hanging from the ceiling.
At the time of our visit, flat-screen TVs around the room were screening a football match, while LCD screens showed the WIF Twitter account's live feed; so your tweet could be up there too. The wooden tables are relatively low and have either a couch or different seats. The egg-shaped pepper and salt shakers are possibly the coolest that this reviewer has ever seen in Cairo. Dettol dispensers are on every table because the management understands that eating buffalo wings is messy business.
WIF’s menu includes several appetisers such as mozzarella sticks (28LE), spicy wedges (22LE) and onion rings (25LE). There is a salad bar where you can make your own salad for 30LE. You can create your own burger (46LE) or just opt for the evil burger (52LE).
course, we opted for WIF’s signature wings. We had the nine-piece original
(42LE) with sides of honey mustard (5LE) and orange glaze sauce (6LE). We also sampled
the six-piece blue cheese wings (34LE) and the six-piece teriyaki wings (32LE).
The original wings are very, very spicy, so if you can’t handle it, take a mild
sauce like the orange glaze to sweeten the wings up a bit. The blue cheese
wings are a must-try for every blue cheese fan. The sauce is creamy
but still has that authentic blue cheese taste, while the teriyaki wings are
The wings are quite big with tender meat; they’re well-prepared, so the meat comes easily off the bone and the skin is tasty. You can choose from portions of six, nine or twelve pieces. We also sampled the mashed potatoes (15LE) as a side, which tasted fine but wasn’t particularly special.
For dessert, we sampled Willy’s ice cream, an Egyptian brand specialising in natural ice cream and local flavours. We had a scoop of guava, karkadeh and peanuts (10LE per scoop), all of which were delicious and well worth the trip to WIF alone.
At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the restaurant’s background music was significantly loud and pumping, making it difficult to have a conversation. But then again, this was on the venue’s opening day, and we’re sure it will be much quieter in our future visits.
So if you’re in the mood for a new type of junk food with flavour, head over to Zamalek to grab yourself some juicy wings and be prepared to get messy.