Being a vegetarian in Cairo is as challenging as keeping your sanity during relentless rush hours. We're a nation that loves meat; and aside from salads, the difficulty of finding fuss-free meals on the Cairo restaurant scene has sent many vegetarians back into their own kitchens. Well, we're here to tell you that, whether you're a vegetarian or simply on your meatless Monday regimen, you can dine out and not have to resort to basic salads – yes, vegetarians can enjoy food in Cairo, too.
The Vegetarian Menu at L'Aubergine
Besides being one of the prominent local restaurants and bars in the city, with branches in Zamalek, Maadi and Heliopolis, L'Aubergine serves international dishes as well as an exclusively vegetarian menu. L'Aubergine's veggie menu includes promising choices like Spinach Ravioli, Pumpkin Kobeba, Basil Lasagna, Veggie salad – comprised of mushroom, grilled aubergine, zucchini and sundried tomatoes – in addition to soup choices including carrot coriander and aubergine-yoghurt.
The Paneer Dishes at Nawab
Winning Cairo 360's Editor's Choice Awards for best Indian cuisine in 2015, Nawab in Zamalek is one of the best choices for vegetarians. With a perfect selection of meatless dishes; including Paneer Pakoura (authentic Indian cheese fried in chick peas batter), Vegetable Samosa (fried patties stuffed with spiced vegetables), in addition to a vegetarian-friendly menu encompassing dishes like Palak Paneer (spinach smothered in cottage cheese), Vegetable Dal Makhni (lentils cooked in aromatic spices), going vegetarian in Nawab is not going to disappoint.
Lean Lebanese at Manoushe Street
Though, mostly known as a venue offering Lebanese bites on the go rather than a vegetarian outlet, Manoushe Street in Zamalek offers vegetarian choices for those craving vegetarian-friendly dishes from the Shami kitchen; think Baked Halloumi served with fresh bread and vegetables, Hummus platter (creamy puree chickpeas), Spinach, Cheese and Zaatar Platter, salad choices including Leafy Wild Rocket –fresh mushrooms, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pepper and parmesan cheese – Fattoush smothered in pome grette dressing, as well as freshly baked Bureks with potato and mushroom fillings.
Delish Tuscan at Lettuceat
Using mainly greens, fresh and nutritious ingredients in their wraps and salads, it is no surprise that Lettuce Eat is one of the main healthy food havens in the city. Lettuce Eat prides itself in being both nutritious and vegetarian-friendly with salad choices including their Delish Tuscan, Mango Summer Blast – fresh mango cubes, onions, cashews, watercress and cherry tomatoes – and the Premium Seared Cheese salad. Of their soups, we highly recommend Lettuce Eat's Pumpkin Carrot Soup, rich in vitamins, antioxidants and tastes exquisite.
Vegetarian Nigiri at Mori Sushi
Mori Sushi not only serves vegetarian sushi, but also has options those following a vegan regimen. Try the Mori Vegetable Combo – vegetarian Nigiri and Hosa Kappa Maki (cucumber rolls) – the Ura Maki – with avocado, dried tomatoes, cucumber and cream cheese filling – or their Oishii Sushi – mushrooms, cucumber and cheese. Other veggie-friendly options include the Miso Soup – soy bean paste and wakami – and a particularly delicious Tempura Moriawase appetiser – zucchini, eggplants and peppers deep-fried in a tempura batter.
Tofu Rules at Ghengis Khan
A cosy Chinese diner cornered in Degla Street in Maadi, Ghengis Khan is another great vegetarian-friendly restaurant serving dishes the likes of Tofu Crepe Salad with Bean Sprout, Dry-Fry Green Beans, Tofu with sweet and sour sauce and a platter of General Chao Tofu, in addition to some vegetable noodles or a choice of Yhang Zhou fried rice. Ghengis Khan's vegetarian soups also include hot and sour Szechuan soup.
Mushroom Spinach at Crave
With top-notch classics from a variety of international cuisines, Crave offers delectable dishes as well as a number of vegetarian choices that are equally tasty. Try Crave's Ricotta Spinach Ravioli, their Grilled Vegetables Platter or their Mushroom Risotto and while you're at it, don't forget to order their delectable Mushroom Spinach appetiser; our personal favourite.
Veggie Appetisers at Sequoia
As one of the most frequented hangout spots in Cairo, Sequoia's menu primarily focuses on Lebanese and Egyptian dishes – something that seemingly, and wrongly, fails to get the loins of the vegetarians in the city. Appetisers are your best options here, with the menu offering a host of veggie-friendly dishes, in addition to several delectable mezzas, including Hummus, Spinach Fatayer, Fattoush salad, Grilled Halloumi Cheese, Vine Leaves and an Eggplant Moutabel platter.