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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Kazaz: Downtown Cairo’s Hub For Cheap Fast Food
It’s easy to get discouraged by cheap baladi food in Cairo, where sometimes a taameya sandwich for 2LE can be a huge, regrettable mistake. If you’re looking for a dependable baladi restaurant that delivers up Cairo’s yummiest fast food that’s also always affordable, however, then what you’re looking for is Kazaz.
Aside from offering every variety of taameya and foul that exists, Kazaz's shawerma sandwiches are Downtown’s finest. The meat is fresh and sautéed with tomatoes, onions and peppers. The sandwiches come in three sizes, the smallest of which is served in a semi-sweet, sesame seed Kaiser bun and drizzled with tehina sauce. The medium and larger sizes are served in classic, long shawerma rolls. Baladi burgers are another Kazaz classic that can hit the spot. In between a sesame seed roll, a perfectly sunny-side-up egg sits on a beef patty with cheese and all the fix-ins.
A review on Kazaz wouldn’t be complete without mentioning their terrific lentil soup. Although not quite suitable for warm weather, you might find yourself ordering it anyway; it’s just that irresistible. The lentil soup has the perfect thickness and is served with raw onion, fresh lemon and tiny pieces of crunchy, fried bread.
Conveniently located next to Ahwa Bustan and Stella Bar, many regulars pick up something quick before heading to a nearby hangout. Although Kazaz is mostly known for its fast food service, there is a seating area upstairs if you’re looking for a sit-down meal. Try the 1/4 chicken meal, which is served generously with chicken soup, rice, mixed vegetables and fresh salad. There are other Egyptian goodies and they’re all pretty delicious, including molokheya, mahshi and fresh okra in tomato sauce.
Kazaz’s take-away section stays open until the very early hours of the morning, so it’s a perfect place to satisfy a midnight craving or to hang out after a long night. Kazaz delivers in the Downtown area, so if you live in the neighbourhood; you’re in luck. They’re generally quite fast, but they definitely have their off nights.
Kazaz is living proof that delicious food in Egypt can be affordable. Foul and taameya varieties never exceed 2LE to3LE, shawermas cost between 4LE to 9LE, and lentil soup costs 4LE. Full meals, such as the 1/4 chicken meal, cost around 20LE to 25LE.
The newest restaurant to open in Downtown Cairo is the surprisingly sleek Masrawy. Having timed its opening for Ramadan, the new eatery on Bustan Street offers no-frills, wholesome food for fetar and sohour.
There are eight hearty meal options to choose from for Iftar and each offer a diverse and healthy mix of foods including drinks and dessert.
The cheapest of these eight choices costs 22LE and consists of quarter of a chicken, rice, mixed vegetables, mixed salad, Egyptian bread, Oriental dessert, one bottle of water plus a special fruity Ramadan drink. You can also replace the chicken for meatballs in a tangy tomato sauce with pasta.
The most expensive meal on the fetar menu is the Mixed Grill (80LE); but don’t be put off by this significantly higher price because the portion can easily feed two people. The selection of meat is simply delicious. Included in the Mixed Grill option is: ¼ kofta, ½ chicken, ¼ kebab, 2 juicy lamb ribs, a thick soup, basmati rice, green salad, tahina salad, garlic salad, bread, a bottle of water and finally, that special fruity Ramadan drink.
The prices at this new restaurant are highly satisfactory considering the diversity that comes in just one meal choice and of course the large portion sizes that we really love and appreciate. The service is great too; staff is all dressed in bright orange to match the interior of the restaurant.
Masrawy is extremely spacious taking up two large air-conditioned floors plus outdoor seating; it’s clean, fresh and almost sparkles beneath that perfectly adequate lighting. Large tables are available for families or groups of friends plus some quieter tables for two all prepared efficiently and the food is served in stylish ceramic dishes, which really add to the atmosphere and pleasant dining experience.
Masrawy’s sohour menu consists of a lighter and significantly cheaper choice of meals than feter, but there are only four different choices. The cheapest of these costs a mere 10LE and consists of a generous serving of chunky foul, two falafel, green salad, yoghurt, bread and water. On the other hand there is the ‘Masrawy Special’ which costs 18LE and is highly recommended, consists of omelette, a cheese plate, three falafel, salad, bread, yoghurt, french fries and a bottle of water.
There is no daily menu as yet for Masrawy as the focus is purely on Ramadan but the restaurant has managed to burst into the Cairo scene immediately attracting attention and reeling in customers. The seating is comfortable; the large air-conditioned space is refreshing and they serve a top-notch fetar.