2011 has been a prolific year for dining in Cairo, with a host of new restaurants opening up all over the city. Sifting through the best and the worst, Cairo 360 has deemed the following restaurants worthy of your undivided dining attention.
The people behind Adam’s & Blend have taken it upon themselves to unleash that most Turkish of foods, the doner kebab, on Cairo. Divided into two sections, Adam’s and then Blend, the Heliopolis restaurant provides the perfect oxymoronic meal. After scoffing down a delicious doner dish from Adam’s, you can hop over to Blend for a fresh juice or frozen yoghurt. The combination of a hearty Turkish dish and the sweet and creative drinks makes for perfect comfort food.
Ignore the haters that are calling Ahwak pretentious, because this is one of the best eat-and-chill spots to open up in Zamalek in years. The understated flamboyance of the interior had our reviewer feeling like she was in Paris, and everything from the steak with red grape sauce to the high tea make this elegant little place a haven for any Cairene looking to escape the toil and trouble of Cairo
Situated on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road inside Season’s Country Club, Alto’s Bistro may be a little out of the way for centrally-located Cairenes, but it’s well worth the effort. TV chef Andrew Mitchell – of Fatafeet fame- is a perfectionist, and it shows everything from the unbelievable tempura mussels, to the Australian prime cuts of beef used in their meat dishes. Alto’s Bistro serves up some of the best food we’ve tasted all year.
Only weeks old, Asha’s in Giza has already firmly established itself as the go-to place for top quality Indian food. It’s not often we’re as impressed with a restaurant as we were with Asha’s before we’d even tasted the food. Great service, a view of the Nile and comfortable surroundings added to the delicious and eclectic menu. Try the Murgh Makani; we guarantee that this delicious buttery chicken dish will immediately become your favourite.
There’s only really one place we might choose over Asha’s, and that’s its neighbour Chop Chop. While the dilemma of choosing one of the two restaurants over the other will have you scratching your head till it’s bloody and roar, settling for Chop Chop’s far eastern delights will reap no regrets. With a full blown dim sum counter, fresh sushi and a wide range of dishes from all over Asia, Chop Chop is perfect for any occasion.
The Semiramis InterContinental in Garden City is home to the Grill; an absolutely lush restaurant that serves up some of the best French cuisine you’ll find in the city. Setting the mood is a pianist who entertains all evening, and you’ll find yourself playing up to the grandeur of the whole dining experience. Although it’s pretty expensive, one taste of the duck liver terrine will turn you into a careless gourmand. That and the French digestives.
Mall of Arabia is growing by the week, and one of its best additions by far has been restaurant Pestle and Mortar. Its mall setting and modest interior doesn’t do it justice; it’s only when you peruse through the menu that you realise that this is a serious restaurant. Serving everything from coconut curry and prime Angus steak to grilled shrimp konafa, the creativity and innovation of the menu is something to admire, as is the liquid nitrogen ice cream and the huge amounts of vegan-friendly dishes.
This petite Italian spot in Zamalek has gathered somewhat of a cult following, and with its delicious pizza and authentic pasta dishes, it’s no wonder. The mixed bruschette and garlic bread had our reviewer swooning with delight, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is so laid back that you’ll want to spend all night in there. Residents of Zamelek have been truly blessed.
Our only other hotel-based choice is the Dusit Thani Lakeview’s Ruen Thai. Although the hotel in Fifth Settlement has been under construction in one way or another throughout the year, this thankfully has had no bearing on Ruen Thai’s serenity, luxury and delicious food. Spicy Thai dishes, an impressive selection of imported wines, a candle lit terrace and a gorgeous garden makes this an unbeatable spot for a classic romantic evening date.
Another restaurant that shouldn’t be judged by the fact that it is in a mall. Firstly, said mall is Nile City Towers- not shabby at all. Secondly, Zeitouna Lebanese Bistro has fused the best of classic Lebanese cuisine with some imaginative twists. The grilled meats are seasoned like nothing else you’ll ever taste, as is the hummus and the Lebanese lemon-sausage appetisers. We also recommend the Frankenstein-creations that are the halawa and om ali ice creams. Those desserts sum up the restaurant pretty well, in that it has brought together high-end dining and good, simple, hassle-free food perfectly.
The Tahrir Table is the only Swedish restaurant we know off and Express by Mo in Dandy Mall is cheap, healthy and uses touch screen computers to allow eaters to order for themselves. Raj at the Fairmont Heliopolis and Towers does great high-end curries, while Fas’hat Somaya is a quaint little back-alley restaurant in Downtown Cairo that serves up delicious Egyptian dishes.