Remember when 50LE were more than enough for going to the movies and having dinner? No, neither do we, but our parents often reminisce about it.
The evolution of Cairo's restaurant scene has been fantastic over the last few years, with new cuisines and concepts arriving, but as with everything in Egypt, it often comes at steep prices. But we're here to tell you that eating a hearty meal doesn't have to always empty your pockets. We've gathered up a list of 10 on-the-go venues, which, not only serve tasty meals, but will also fill you for under 50LE.
If you're wondering why Dokki's Tahrir Street is so crowded at midnight, it's because of Taza. With a huge variety of meals and sandwiches, Taza is a perfect choice for a reasonable takeout meal. For 21LE, you can have a half boneless grilled chicken served with bread, fries and a dynamite garlic mayo sauce, a large Chicken Roll sandwich for 16.5LE or even a Hawawshi sandwich at 8.5LE. You'll even have enough money left to wash it down with a beverage from City Drink – another cause of traffic on the street.
If you're craving pasta and you're looking for a budget-friendly place, local pasta specialist, Pastaweesy won't disappoint. Offering classic oven-baked pasta, pastas cooked with red, white, or green sauce, not to mention your choice of sausage, chicken, mushroom or pastrami, you can have a filling pasta dish that begins from 14.50LE up to 40LE. The deep fried Borio (13.50LE) or Snickers (15LE) are also great dessert choices.
3. El Dawar
There are few that can argue with the fact that El Dawar is one of the local favourites when it comes to feteer. With prices ranging between 24LE and 40LE, you can have a medium savoury feteer, with your choice of fillings including cheese, sausages, and vegetables, along with another small one for dessert which starts from 6LE. Easy, breezy, simple.
4. City Crepe
An Egyptian-ised creperie with massive and loyal fan base in Heliopolis and Nasr City, City Crepe offers a nice selection of affordable savoury crepes full of flavours. With choices including Chicken Crispy crepe (13LE-16LE), Beef Crepe (14LE-18LE), Seafood crepe (21LE-25LE), not to mention Nutella or Halawa crepe (10LE) for dessert, City Crepe is a safe bet.
5. The Streat
Burger restaurants are plentiful in Cairo these days and while having a gourmet burger always comes at a cost, the Streat is a one place that proves you don't have to pay a fortune to enjoy one. What's great about the Streat is that it takes a no-frills approach; no toppings, no nonsense. Don't let the fact that a burger there is 10LE – it's fresh, full of flavour and of good quality.
If you're looking for a filling low-budget meal while on a shopping spree, then Asian Corner is a good choice with a good selection of Asian flavours including Indian Massala Chicken or Japanese Teriyaki Chicken. For 30LE, for example, you have an on-the-go Maharaja meal comprised of your choice of beef or chicken, with rice or noodles and a spring roll.
Who says eating grilled meats should be expensive? Local grill house, Antar El Kababgy, offers grilled meals at a reasonable price. For 45LE, you can fill up on a mixed grill platter meal consisting of 3 pieces of Kofta, 3 pieces of Kebab and 3 pieces of Shish Tawooq with sides of vegetables, white rice, salad and bread. Or for 38LE, you can order a Kaware' Bahareez, if you're a hardcore fattah fan.
Located in Dokki – with a newly launched branch in Downtown Mall in Sheikh Zayed – Semsema is one of the very first fast food venues of its kind in Cairo. Be it their infamous shawerma Kaiser (6LE), the meat fajitas (17LE) or their beef liver sandwiches (13LE), Semsema is another fantastic choice for food on a budget. You can have your food delivered to your car parked at Semsema, or have it delivered to your doorstep.
While it may not be your typical eatery, Batates & Zalabya nonetheless is a great choice offering delicious fries and zalabya at a good bargain. For 12LE, you can try what is a very solid interpretation of Corn Dog, a pack of fries (7LE to 10LE) or for 13 LE, you can get a large zalabya box and spike it up with caramel, cinnamon or chocolate sauce.
10. Basically Any Syrian Shawerma Place...
Many Egyptians will argue that we boast the best shawerma in the Middle East, but our friends from Syria will beg to differ and the likes of Abo Youssef El Soory, Abo Ammar and Abo Ramez are standard bearers of Levantine cuisine in Cairo. For 34LE, you can have two shawerma sandwiches, an additional 3LE for fried sambousek or a platter of Syrian Fattah shawerma which starts from 25LE.
Happy eating, folks. Check out the Cairo 360 restaurants section for reviews on the good, the bad and the weird of in Cairo dining.