Sign in using your account with
Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Gad: The Egyptian Standard
Gad is beloved in all Cairo neighbourhoods for its big red sign and its tasty, quick foul and taameya sandwiches. The Downtown branch of this Cairo restaurant provides a new dimension of the Gad experience for diners looking for more than a mere sandwich off the street.
Gad’s sit-down dining room is a great stop for hungry Downtowners and an excellent choice for a rustic and delicious Cairo-style fetar. Though a simple restaurant, menu options are quite varied with a wide selection of meat, fish and chicken dishes along with salads and the standard foul and taameya options.
The upstairs dining room at Gad Tahrir is a no-frills affair with paper napkins, plastic cups and fast turnover. Drink selections are limited to water, sodas and fresh lemon, but they are all served ice cold and make a good accompaniment to the hearty food.
Gad’s meal combinations are satisfying and offer great value. The fried fish plate comes with French fries, salad, bread and the best browned rice in town. Although the French fries were a little soggy, the fish was fried perfectly and the salad was fresh with a light dressing of lemon and oil. The piping hot homemade bread with black sesame is a highlight that comes with every meal.
Other culinary highlights at Gad include the tehina salad, and the grilled chicken and kofta plates served with rice, salad and fries. The main courses on offer make for a satisfying lunch or fetar, while the selection of salads and the famous foul and taameya are perfect for a light dinner or sohour.
Fetar at Gad is a festive affair given its location in the heart of Downtown Cairo, despite a lack of special fetar offers at the restaurant. Service is coordinated to ensure the prompt arrival of main courses at fetar time, and bread and water are available in abundance to ensure a prompt breaking of the fast.
A foul or taameya sandwich will always be the cheapest bet, but the prices in Gad’s dining room are more than affordable. Dinner for two with drinks tallies up to between 50LE to 60LE.
Gad is very much a local haunt, with waiters and regular customers engaging in friendly banter. This is part of what makes this place special; cheap and friendly local hangouts are, unfortunately, a dying breed in Cairo's restaurant scene. Once you’ve experienced Gad, chances are that you will make fast friends with your waiter and become a regular here yourself!
Cairo is home to many a chains serving up traditional, on-the-go, Egyptian meals. While many of these places are well known, we don’t always have a good feel for what they’re better at and what should be left alone. This restaurant in particular has long been a go-to spot for us until recently when things seemed to have changed.
With locations nearly in every neighbourhood, our go-to El Tabei is conveniently located directly across from the metro, at the beginning of Road 9 in Maadi. Inside, there’s just enough room to place your order and stand around waiting for it to be thrown onto the counter. The service provided is just enough to get by.
El Tabei Domyati’s menu has never been anything special, offering traditional fast food options including salads, sandwiches and meat platters.
In the past, we preferred El Tabei to its competitors because they were constant in quality, ranking a smidge superior. Unfortunately though, and as it stands today, it seems that El Tabei is headed a bit downhill.
Our once delicious shish tawook on French bread sandwich (12LE) just isn’t the same anymore. Served on a baguette, the sandwich used to be paired with thick chunks of tender chicken, sliced and sautéed bell peppers and onion with a garlic mayonnaise to top it off. The past few times we’ve ordered however, the vegetables are meagre and not sautéed. Chewy with too much chicken cartilage for our enjoyment, the once tasty chunks are nearly inedible. Similarly, their once crispy French fries (3.75LE) are now nothing more than soggy potatoes with little flavour.
To make things worse, they used to offer up delicious miniature cinnamon rolls (5LE), served in a plastic, easy-to-use takeaway cup. Not only do they not offer the cinnamon rolls any longer but other dessert options including the crème caramel and Omm Ali (5LE) are often not available.
Is it all doom and gloom, though? Sticking with simpler options including salads, ta’meya and foul seems to be the safest way to go now. Salads include moussaka, beet salad and coleslaw – all for 5LE each. Foul options range from foul with eggs to foul with tomato sauce - sandwiches costing no more than 2.5LE per sandwich. Also available are meat and chicken platter, shawerma, and kofta.
When all else fails and you need some fuel, grabbing a sandwich from El Tabei isn’t all that bad - just don’t expect any of the finer touches.