There is nothing astounding about an Egyptian restaurant in Cairo that serves up a wealth of grills, kofta, mezzas and more. There are a few notable restaurants that rise above the rest, and Abou Shakra is one of them. Lauded in the past as a high-quality venue with traditional Egyptian cuisine, Abou Shakra is today a mid-range eatery with fairly satisfactory local cuisine. The restaurant is an excellent choice if you are craving a substantial lunch; we suggest you bring friends to share your many courses.

Start with an order of their seasonal lentil soup (6LE), which comes with a wedge of lemon to add a kick of flavour. The tehina, baba ganough and fresh salads all fall under 10LE. The tehina and baba ghanough dips are tart and creamy all at once, although you might want to give the hummus a miss; on our last visit, it had a dry and pasty texture, which was nearly impossible to manage with the fresh and steaming bread.

While the kitchen receives considerable praise for its mixed grill and kobeba, we recommend the grilled chicken (23LE). Sizzling and tender, the dish is presented with your choice of potato fries, sautéed vegetables, or rice. For something a little richer, the roast duck arrives atop a plate heaped with cardamom-seasoned rice. For 48LE, the half bird portion makes for a hearty (though pricy) entrée. Also available is a grilled turkey main dish, as well as more moderately priced chicken rolls, meat, and kofta, all in the 30LE to 60LE range.

Abou Shakra’s Maadi branch leaves little to the imagination in terms of atmosphere with its two-story location on El Lasilky Street. Large picture windows give diners a view of the street below. The décor has an air of forced grandeur, with cushions and high-backed chairs crammed onto both floors, in various shades of gold and brown upholstery. Curiously, the elevator transports diners up to the second level, but not down to the exit once you’ve finished your meal.

Another standout feature is the children’s play area, heavily decorated with Walt Disney Lion King wallpaper. The glass-enclosed play area emphasizes Abou Shakra’s position as a family eatery. While we’ve never seen the place full on a weeknight, the restaurant turns into a site for boisterous family gatherings on weekend evenings. It’s no gourmet date-night destination, though it certainly satisfies the average craving for a grilled dinner.