Sign in using your account with
Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Om Dahab: Cheap, Delicious, Homemade Fetar in Downtown Cairo
Over time, it has come to our attention that Downtown Cairo seems to be lacking in quality establishments, successful at tickling the taste buds. It’s an unfortunate truth and unless you’re looking for either high-end hotel dining or fast food, it’s not an easy task. So are you ready for the expected silver lining?
Om Dahab has been around for years and boy, are we thankful. Nestled in the alleyway across from the corner of Mahmoud Basyouni Street and Hussein El Me'mar Pasha Street that leads to the rear of After Eight, this mother and daughter-produced homemade goodness has garnered a faithful following by locals and foreigners alike; it comes as no surprise. Serving up delicious yet simple eats every day, it’s a haven for Downtown goers looking for something quick and satisfying.
It’s as simple as simple gets: one food cart in an alleyway. There are three to four tables with tablecloths and plastic chairs for seating. Lights dangle above you as you eat and the cats don’t stray very far.
Service at Om Dahab is a no-brainer as they both are as sweet as can be. There’s no set menu at Om Dahab as they tend to make whatever is found freshest that day.
On a typical day, you might also find kofta, courgettes or her infamous mashi (8LE for a large plate), which we highly recommend. For fetar, however, you can expect the following: chicken, rice, potatoes and molokheya.
Our fetar visit was a pleasure and we were surprised to find a table open at that hour. The food was served fifteen minutes after ordering and we couldn’t help but to dig in with delight. The chicken had been boiled and then thrown onto an open grill to give it that crispy finish. Dashed with a little salt, it was tender and juicy - easy to pull off the bone. Known for being the proverbial bomb, the molokheya left us floating with its perfect consistency and extra douse of garlic. To top it off, the potatoes came served in a refreshing tomato sauce, filled with peas and carrots too.
The best part about it? For a two person meal including half a chicken, a plate of rice, bowl of potatoes and two bowls of molokheya, it will cost you 32LE maximum.
We must warn you, though; of the one downside to this little place: no dessert. Instead, finish off your Downtown fetar experience at nearby Tak’eeba with a juice and shisha afterwards. You’ll be glad you did.
Is there no end to new restaurants in Cairo? Feteera opened at the beginning of March and like many of the brand new eateries which pop up out of nowhere in Zamalek, it looks to be a hip joint from the outside. However, Fateera avoids being pretentious; its walls may be adorned with indie pop art images, but its main feature is a huge stone oven at the back – which, far from being a mere gimmick, turned out to be a wonder when it comes to cooking pies.
In Egypt, feteera can translate into anything from ‘pie' or 'pancake' to 'pizza' – balady-style – so those new to the dish may be curious as to what they'll receive. Although the menu reads ‘pie’, the selection of toppings suggests pizza, and as we waited for our ‘feteera’ to arrive we were further perplexed as we watched the chef sculpt the dough into an assortment of shapes, looking suspiciously like a pancake.
On offer from Feteera’s menu are vegetarian, cheese, seafood and chicken or meat dishes, plus additional toppings which are available for between 2LE-11LE.We ordered a Chicken and Pesto Pie (52LE) and a Mushroom Roll (25LE).
When the food arrived, it was piping hot, but we were still none-the-wiser about what to call it. We can best describe it as a crispy pancake stuffed with pizza-style fillings, so the best word for this creation may indeed be: pie. The Chicken and Pesto Pie was creamy and delicious, offering a good balance of flavour with plenty of chicken to fill the 12 inch dish. The pastry was cooked beautifully and formed a light flakey casing for the chewy cheesy center. Slightly worrying were the grease stains left at the bottom of the dish and after our cutlery failed to live up to the job, using our fingers to eat the pie turned out to be messy business.
The roll was a crispy pancake wrap, such as to rival Lebanon’s manouche. It contained roasted peppers, which despite not having been specified on the menu were a warming addition to what was otherwise a very plain snack. The mushrooms were slightly undercooked and hadn’t properly infused with the other flavours and despite the encouraging chunks of garlic and olives, all were tasteless. The roll proved to be too doughy and plain, losing all its taste despite the crunchy chewy texture we bit into at first boded well.
For dessert we treated ourselves to the Mars wrap (28LE) and a Banana and Peanut Butter wrap (29LE). Feteera could have been more generous with the amount of chocolate but the peanut butter and banana combination was a triumph, if we do say so ourselves. It tasted buttery and soft, filled with just the right amount of ripe banana.
Though feteer with toppings is nothing new, this Egyptian pie house gets the thumbs up from us for bringing a traditional Egyptian dish up to date, allowing diners to fill up on an authentic dish with a modern Zamalek twist.