Sign in using your account with
Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Abou Tarek: Downtown's Koshary Giant Still Going Strong
Whilst most of the newer restaurants in Cairo claim to serve up authentic Egyptian meals, nothing quite compares to the delights of longstanding, local koshary establishments. Downtown Cairo is packed with cheap and delicious koshary restaurants with fast, friendly service where you can opt to dine in or take away.
Building up an almost unrivalled reputation, just two blocks from Tahrir Square, Abou Tarek's restaurant is spread over two floors; a necessity due to its popularity and bustle.
However, the décor is a little more flamboyant than most koshary outlets, with artificial greenery and several large, tropical fish tanks, tempting customers to sit and eat. Downstairs, there's also a television if you like a little entertainment while you dine.
The generous bowls of koshary start from as little as 3LE, though it is possible to purchase a range of sizes for just a few pounds more. For 10LE, big eaters will be afforded a humungous portion. Of course, no koshary meal would be complete without the essential garlic dressing, da'a, and chilli sauce, both of which Abou Tarek do fantastically.
There is also a small range of canned drinks (4LE) and mineral water (2LE) to wash down that delightful meal.
We waited less than five minutes for two bowls of delicious koshary which werw not only served quickly, but also with a smile from the locals who run the establishment – just another one of the special, very vital ingredients that really do make a difference.
Though koshary is the main focus, should you have room for dessert, sweet, creamy rice pudding is amongst the options, and cost a mere 3LE per serving.
Serving some of the best-tasting koshary in the heart of Downtown Cairo, Abou Tarek has once again proved to be a must-go for all koshary fans.
With plenty of new restaurants opening as fast as lightning and raising the bar for fine dining in Cairo, the interest in fast food venues is waning – even burger and pizza places are putting more focus on being gourmet. But, located on Zamalek’s busy 26th of July Street, roasted chicken specialist, Chick Shack, proves that the fast food concept is still popular in Cairo.
Not to be confused in any way with popular American chain, Shake Shack, the eatery’s name attracted some negative attention, but it all played into its publicity. The name is where the similarities end, though; Chick Shack stands out with a unique interior and playful vibe of its own. Some of its standout features include its ringed chandelier, an interesting choice of cold colours and a wall made of A-Treat soda boxes, not to mention the quirky staff uniforms made-up of buttoned-to-the-top shirts, grey trousers, suspenders and hats that Michael Jackson would have been proud of.
The menu is quite simple, with roasted chicken as the main attraction, though other items include Lasagna (34LE), Potato Wedges (8LE), or Tropical Salad (18LE) and can work as side dishes.
We started our meal with Shack Salad (28.50LE) as an appetiser, and as our mains, we went with Half Chicken Meal (55LE) and Chicken Cannelloni (27LE).
A mixture of grilled chicken, green apple cubes, corn, bell pepper, pomegranate and mayo dressing, the Shack Salad was an interesting concoction. We loved the tart taste from the green apple which worked well with the pomegranate and the sweet-corn, but the chicken itself was overcooked and very tough.
Now, let's move to what we actually came for: roasted chicken. Served with sautéed vegetables which had a remarkable garlicky flavour and possibly the best spicy basmati rice, which was cooked to perfection and bursting with Mexican spices, the roasted chicken was well-marinated and had a zesty flavour which popped in every single bite. However, the chicken itself was a little bit undercooked but definitely not raw, and even though it was very tasty, the skin wasn’t as crispy as we would've hoped.
We were worried about the ready-to-serve Chicken Cannelloni, but it was surprisingly tasty. Stuffed with chicken and peppers which had flavours similar to fajitas, the cannelloni was well-cooked and had a generous amount of cream parmesan cheese sauce. Sloppy presentation aside, the cannelloni made for a great vehicle for the chicken.
Overall, there was little to complain about at Chick Shack. The venue stands out as one of the healthier fast food places in Cairo; one that also boasts fantastic service, great staff and a friendly atmosphere. The only downside is that there are no desserts to speak of – but with the concept built on a ready-to-serve approach, maybe a soft serve ice cream machine would be a perfect fit. But that’s just us.