Sign in using your account with
Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Felfela: Traditional and Tasty Egyptian
If you’re looking for a flavourful, traditional several-course Egyptian meal that won’t cost you an arm and a leg but is nonetheless a step above most hole-in-the-wall eateries in the area, Felfela’s sit-down restaurant is the place to go. The perfect spot for those that appreciate a diverse menu in a casual atmosphere, Felfela is often dismissed as a tourist haunt by many but nothing beats its quality food and very reasonable prices.
Step inside away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Cairo and you’re bound to start chanting ‘Serenity Now’ like it’s your mantra. The interior has bubbling fish tanks on one side of the entrance, and a comfortable dining area made of dark wood and an ornately carved wooden ceiling. Large, potted hanging plants are arranged throughout the venue, and for some odd reason a life-size wooden statue greets visitors at the door; it seems a bit silly but still makes for a charming atmosphere.
It’s best to stick to the basics at Felfela. Ordering any combination of oriental salads is a great way to whet your appetite; and the baba ghanoug and tehina dishes are especially delicious. Different kinds of bread tend to be served on each visit; so it’s recommended that you request your preferred kind, whether it’s soft pita, baladi or toast. The waiters are happy to warm the dipping bread for you if you ask.
In general, the service is good; though it slows to a near halt whenever the restaurant traffic gets heavy.
If you want to play it safe, hamburgers and some pasta dishes are available but undoubtedly the best dishes are the foul Eskanderani (Alexandria-style fava beans), kebda Eskanderani (Alexandria-style liver) and last, but certainly not least, the molokheya or ‘green mallow stew’, as the menu reads. The latter is thick, slightly sticky and compliments a simple plate of rice, French fries or chicken. The tagine dishes are also worth trying; they’re more Egyptian than Moroccan cuisine but nonetheless tasty. Beware of the foul with tehina, though; previous diners have found that the tehina drowns the foul’s flavour. A small selection of beer and wine is also available with your meal.
It may be known as a tourist attraction, but Felfela does offer a solid meal and a nice option for some sit-down foul and taameya.
After rushing around the mall, shopping like a maniac and going from shop to shop, you ultimately find yourself in the food court yearning for a quick bite to replenish all the energy you spent on finding the biggest bargains. Wanting, however, to still fit into our newly bought clothes, we opted for healthier, grilled options from Shakra to Go.
Located in Cairo Festival City Mall’s considerably large food court, one can easily spot the place as it boasts Abou Shakra’s classic logo. It is, in essence, a small-scale Abou Shakra restaurant offering many of the original chain’s wholesome, grilled delicacies.
We grabbed one of the menus laid out by the cashier and began scanning them, not letting the sizeable queue in front of it shake us one bit. The place offers all kinds of meat and chicken sandwiches, including shawerma, kofta and pane options, as well as full-on meals that consist of a meat option and two sides of French fries, rice or sautéed vegetables, or dips such as tehina and tomeya (garlic dip). We also spotted some classic appetisers such as samboosak, kobeiba, stuffed vine leaves and even some pasta.
Upon ordering and paying at the cashier, we were told that our food would take about fifteen minutes to be ready, though it took a little more than that.
Efficiently packaged and well-organised, our order looked promising. Our Mix Grill meal (50LE) was, quite surprisingly, small with only a couple of tiny pieces each of shish tawook, kebab and kofta to speak of. The rice, however, was plentiful and the side of sautéed vegetables was efficient. Our second meal was the Shish Tawook meal (30LE) and looked pretty much similar to the first one in overall size and presentation.
Our food lacked the freshness one always expects from Abou Shakra. Sure, the taste was alright and the food was not at all inedible, yet it was sadly stale and just did not taste like it was fresh off the grill. The rice was filled with chicken liver and raisins, which we were not quite huge fans of either and the sautéed vegetables were a tad too oily.
All in all, for its quite lower prices and smaller venue, the lower quality of the food in comparison to the original Abou Shakra restaurants was quite expected. Shakra to Go does, however, offer more diversity to the food court which is laden with unhealthy fast-food options relying on deep-fried food.