Cairo Restaurants

O.Liv.O: Charming Pizzeria & Bar in Zamalek
Published On: 20/10/2014

Certain types of food are often – and almost systematically – corrupted in kitchens across Cairo restaurants, with that seemingly simple thing called a pizza suffering more than most. The eternal, and often unfruitful, quest for authentic pizza in Cairo has seen a rise in restaurants claiming to offer the real deal, with the latest being O.Liv.O in Zamalek – which also doubles up as a bar. Located at the New President Hotel on Taha Hussein Street, the restaurant is almost hidden but for a sign above a white door to the left of the entry to neighbouring watering hole and sister venue, Bar D'O. There are no windows to peak through – the windows that do exist are frosted and obscured by greenery outside – and it adds to what is a pleasantly secluded dining experience. If O.Liv.O is going for authenticity, it's not reflected in the interior – and it needn't be. Instead, O.Liv.O. is a pastiche of different visual quirks. Andalusian-style tiling coats the bar behind which the brick-oven is placed and various pieces of contemporary art hang from the walls; the music at the time of our visit, meanwhile, swayed between Spanish and jazz covers – it was a little too loud for the hushed colours and lighting, too. Seating across the small space is divided between long high-tables for larger groups, with a couple of smaller tables able to accommodate groups of four or less, giving the place the feel of a bar more than a restaurant – the influence of Bar D'O is evident. Aiming to recreate the classic Neapolitan style of pizza, what comes out of O.Liv.O's brick-oven certainly looks the part. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the pizza was riddled with small imperfections, the most affective of which was the sauce; although pleasingly plentiful, it was too salty.  This was a particular problem with the pizza bufala (75LE); despite being topped generously with arugula  (of the big-leafed, local variety) and cherry tomatoes, the saline sauce dominated the otherwise rich mozzarella – maybe an extra pinch of sugar during the sauce cooking process would have helped to neutralise it a little. The same comments can be applied to the bresaola pizza (85LE), too. The imported bresaola – a cured beef – was draped in generous strips across the pizza alongside cherry tomatoes, arugula and (a little) basil. Though the combination of flavours is excellent on paper, the bresaola itself was lacked its subtle sweet and musty tang. To the kitchen's credit, though, the base is well made and surprisingly light. Bar-wise, we're told that Bar D'O's popular cocktails will slowly but surely make their way over and the evening called for a pitcher 'Nigeria' (210LE); white wine, white rum and pineapple juice, with plenty of sliced fruit, a la sangria – but, confusingly, it's not a Nigerian Chapman, which is our Nigerian brethren's version of sangria. Call it what you will, once again the influence of Bar D'O is evident; after a brief moment of confusion and a staff team huddle behind the bar, the pitcher was quickly made, delivered to our table and then very quickly devoured. Heavy on the rum and wine, it was a refreshing and lighter alternative to red wine-based sangria. Of the concise dessert options, the lemon sorbet with limoncello (50LE) is the most intriguing. Unfortunately, however, it bore little resemblance to sorbet and was more like crystallised ice cream. Served in a tall Martini glass, the portion is small but suitably sized and its saving grace was that it was full of flavour; truth be told, it was eaten up all the same. O.Liv.O is a welcome addition to Cairo and has certainly succeeded in riling up Cairo diners. The pizza is by no means offensive, and actually makes for a decent bar snack, but behind the posturing, the pizza ends up almost as a side-note to what was an overall novel venue.


Buffalo Burger: Lip-Smacking Burgers with a View in Maadi
Published On: 19/10/2014

What can beat a plush fast food experience? One with a picturesque view, of course! We can never ever say no to burgers, and when presented with the opportunity of healthier burger options, we're definitely game. Located in Maadi's Nile-side food complex, the Platform, Buffalo Burger offers both outdoor and limited indoor seating options, but who would want to forego the beautiful sight of the Nile and sit indoors, right? Upon arrival, we could tell the place was filled to its brim with customers and so we knew what was coming; our waiter sat us down indoors until an outdoor table was available. Once seated, we were presented with both the Buffalo Burger and FIG Lounge, its sister restaurant chain, menus. We, however, were only determined to sink our teeth into burgers. The beef burger patties come in three sizes: 150g, 200g and 250g. Chicken burgers and "Lighter" burgers are also offered with all kinds of toppings. Of the beef, the Hawaii Waikiki seemed the most intriguing. Its ingredients included Swiss cheese, Buffalo sauce and pineapple rings (28LE-37LE depending on its size).  The Animal Chicken burger (28LE) also sounded delicious boasting a grilled chicken breast drenched in cheese, onion rings and a mixture of sauces. Add 10LE-12LE and you can make your burgers into either medium or large combos. We opted for some of the lighter options, which had their calories listed on the menu - to put our consciences to rest. The 200g Baby Boomers burger  (32LE)  caught our eye first, as well as the Skinny Chicken burger (28LE). Having made healthier choices with our burgers, we decided to order them as combos so we can enjoy some crisp fries. Our waiter swiftly took or order and just a measly twenty minutes later, our food was steaming hot on our table waiting to be devoured. The Baby Boomers was delicious; with fresh multi-grain buns holding together the grilled beef patty, it was topped with mushrooms and light mayonnaise. The Skinny Chicken, a simple plain grilled chicken breast topped with cheddar cheese, wasn't as spectacular and lacked cohesion in flavour and was a little dry. The fries, however, were the true surprise; a perfect combination of French fries, chips, and onion rings of which none were greasy or soggy. They were, however, quite sparse and we yearned for more. To wrap up, Buffalo Burger is a win-win spot, offering both delicious food for all tastes and an awesome view. The place, however, was incredibly crowded at the time of our visit, making us think we should probably order our food from the comfort of our couches at home to avoid all the unnecessary hustle and bustle.


Prosperos: Simple, Yet Ultimately Unexceptional, Restaurant & Cafe in Maadi
Published On: 15/10/2014

Amongst the many restaurants in Maadi, many have come and gone, trying in vain to stand out with all manner of experimental cuisine. There are some restaurants, however, whose longevity and popularity ore owed to keeping things simple and unfussy when it comes to the food. Tucked away on a quiet road in Maadi, lies a flashy two-storey venue by the name of Prosperos. Yellow and red neon signs aside, the tiled walkway into the restaurant from the garden is decorated with stylish vases, ornaments and ball lights. The outdoor area has become home to football screenings with simpler tables and chairs setup to face flat screens. As you step inside, a friendly waiter greets you and shows you to a free table. The indoor area is more stylish, with comfortable cushioned chairs and a white-versus-stone colour scheme. The menu doesn't feature anything exceptional, with the restaurant offering standard international dishes such as steaks, pizzas, sandwiches, salads and desserts, as well as Tex-Mex items. We opted for a Prosperos for All (44.95); an appetiser platter featuring spring rolls, fried mozzarella, onion rings and chicken wings, to get a sense of how well they handle their frying. From the main courses, we opted for a Fillet Tex-Mex (74.95LE) and a Grilled Chicken with Fresh Mushroom (49.95LE). Our food appetiser platter arrived about twenty minutes later accompanied by ranch and marinara sauce. The food was adequately drained of oil after leaving the pan and didn't seem overly greasy, but nothing stood out exceptionally in terms of flavour. The main courses arrived shortly after. The Fillet Tex-Mex was ordered medium, and it arrived just slightly overcooked. The mushroom based sauce had a bit of a peppery kick to it and it, all in all, kept the meat tender to an extent. The sides of corn on the cob with butter and seasoned sautéed vegetables were pretty decent as well; cooked and seasoned nicely The Grilled Chicken with Fresh Mushroom was similarly tasty and generous in portion. The seasoned mushrooms were delicious and the chicken was nice and tender. The creamy mashed potatoes were topped with a deep gravy, while the aforementioned sautéed vegetables completed the dish. With some room left for dessert we decided to give the Strawberry Cheesecake (19.95LE) a whirl. The cream cheese layer rested on a thick biscuit crust and was topped with tasty strawberries.While it was by no means a classic New York cheescake, it was a decent attempt in the contect of Cairo dining nonetheless. While the food itself was satisfying but ultimately forgettable, the restaurant as a whole provides a comfortable dining experience and would be an ideal spot for a casual family lunch, with reasonable prices and decent value for money.


Win! Brunch for Two at Napa Grill's New Friday Jazz Brunch
Published On: 13/10/2014

Luxury Cairo hotel, Fairmont Nile City, is home to some of the best restaurants and nightlife venues in Cairo – a wild claim, maybe, but a previous Cairo 360 review of Saigon Restaurant & Lounge, the hotel's weekly events schedule and the fact that the hotel's Sky Pool is many an event organiser's preferred location pay testament to that – even the hotel's Willow Stream Spa scored well with Cairo 360's discerning reviewers. It is, afterall a Cairo 360 Editor's Choice winner. This month, one of the hotel's most popular venues is opening its doors to diners every Friday for a new, weekly brunch concept. What? Win an all-inclusive brunch for two at Napa Grill on Friday 24th of October, where a buffet of eclectic international cuisine awaits you! Why? Because brunch is totally awesome – it's brunch! Where? As one of Fairmont Nile City's most enduring restaurants, Napa Grill serves up an array of foods from across the world. How do I get my hands on it? It's easy! Just answer this simple question: How many 'themed buffets' does Fairmont Nile City and in which restaurants? Now what? Send your answers to, with your full name, contact details and Napa Grill Competition in the subject lines. The competition ends at midnight on Wednesday 22nd of October 21st 2014; so hurry up and send your answers in! Terms and Conditions apply.


Pomodorino: Quiet Courtyard Restaurant in Maadi
Published On: 13/10/2014

Among the plethora of restaurants in Cairo that carry the 'international cuisine' label, few stray outside what has become a tried and tested formula. One such case is combining decent food of decent portions with a comfortable outdoor courtyard - maybe even add a flat screen and some shisha. Of this school is Pomodorino; a villa-sized restaurant opposite Fuddruckers in Maadi. Past the wooden gate is a courtyard occupied by wooden tables with glass tops and orange cushioned chairs. The walls are lined with plant pots and there are a few fans as well for a hot summer's day. Additionally, there's an air conditioned indoor area as well. We were greeted at the gate by a pleasant waiter who asked about our seating preference; the weather's been good recently so we chose to sit outside. The waiter moved swiftly and placed menus on our table, told us his name and asked if we needed anything right away. When we asked for a minute, he gladly retreated. We browsed the stereotypically extensive menu that featured all options from breakfast to desserts and drinks. We opted for a Venecian Salad (42.95LE) and a Pomodorino Beef Fillet (74.95LE). During our wait we realised the venue was relatively quiet and populated by a mature crowd. If you're not a fan of younger, louder venues, a breezy and quiet breakfast or lunch here should be right up your alley. We imagine it's nothing like that during the screening of football matches, though, so keep that in mind. Our food arrived within about thirty minutes. The Venecian Salad, which should feature grilled chicken, lettuce, pine nuts, raisins, avocado slices and 'orange sauce', in addition to garlic bread slice, was quite the let down. First, the ingredients sound delicious, but in the bowl none of the flavours mixed well. The pine was scarce, no raisins were seen, you could barely find avocadoes and, to our great disappointment, the orange sauce wasn't orange the fruit but rather orange the colour - that being the colour of Thousand Island dressing. The namesake main course, the Pomodorino Beef Fillet, was ordered medium. We prefer medium rare, but we use medium as a middle ground if we're unsure if the chef knows what he's doing. It was served well-done, of course. The fillet was floating in mushroom gravy which is probably why it retained a tenderness, though it was still far too chewy. The sides of French fries and sautéed vegetables were forgettable. All in all, this kind of restaurant relies on its set-up and location more than its food to keep it afloat. While the food wasn't terrible, it could certainly be better, but for many, it's more about a nice place to hang out and have a snack and a shisha rather than a full meal.


Gringos Burrito Grill: Mexican Delivery-Only Restaurant Back in Maadi
Published On: 09/10/2014

Mexican cuisine is scarce amongst Cairo restaurants, so losing one of the only places that churns it out was upsetting, to say the least. After a hiatus that left many of the Maadi foodie community in desperate need of a good burrito, Gringos -  everyone's favourite Mexican delivery-only restaurant - has reopened for service to the relief of many. After much anticipation and a social media countdown, we called up Gringos to place an order. We opted for a Grilled Steak Classic with Guacamole (52LE), a Machaca Shredded Beef with Guacamole (54LE), a Chicken Taco Salad (28LE) and Nachos with Cheese and Jalapenos (16LE). Our food arrived roughly thirty minutes later in some newly designed packaging. The food was hot on arrival and we were also sent complimentary Chips and Salsa dish with Black Bean Dip on account of their re-opening. The Chicken Taco Salad, consisting of lettuce topped with pico de gallo, corn chips, grilled chicken and Gringos garlic dressing, was full of flavour, although the pico de gallo dominated a little. The corn chips created an interesting texture mix while the garlic dressing fused all the flavours together. The Nachos with Cheese and Jalapenos was generous in portion; the chips were nice and crunchy but, overall, the melted cheese was a little too on the greasy side. The burritos, both filled with shredded cheese, black beans, cilantro lime, rice, pico de gallo and sour cream, only differ in the kind of meat. The Grilled Steak offers slightly chewy chunks of beef while the Machaca has shredded beef that requires no extra chewing but, rather, melts in your mouth. The burritos are very filling, and very delicious, but an important factor we noticed is that the ingredients are layered rather than mixed, which in turn leaves you with uneven bites-some consisting entirely of black beans and rice or sour cream and guacamole, the trick is to ask for the ingredients to be mixed when you place your order. Needless to say, Gringos has been sorely missed; maybe nostalgia is playing with our stomachs, but - dare we say it - it's even better than we remember.


Shakra to Go: Abou Shakra's Take-Away Chain in New Cairo
Published On: 08/10/2014

After rushing around the mall, shopping like a maniac and going from shop to shop, you ultimately find yourself in the food court yearning for a quick bite to replenish all the energy you spent on finding the biggest bargains. Wanting, however, to still fit into our newly bought clothes, we opted for healthier, grilled options from Shakra to Go. Located in Cairo Festival City Mall's considerably large food court, one can easily spot the place as it boasts Abou Shakra's classic logo. It is, in essence, a small-scale Abou Shakra restaurant offering many of the original chain's wholesome, grilled delicacies. We grabbed one of the menus laid out by the cashier and began scanning them, not letting the sizeable queue in front of it shake us one bit. The place offers all kinds of meat and chicken sandwiches, including shawerma, kofta and pane options, as well as full-on meals that consist of a meat option and two sides of French fries, rice or sautéed vegetables, or dips such as tehina and tomeya (garlic dip). We also spotted some classic appetisers such as samboosak, kobeiba, stuffed vine leaves and even some pasta. Upon ordering and paying at the cashier, we were told that our food would take about fifteen minutes to be ready, though it took a little more than that. Efficiently packaged and well-organised, our order looked promising. Our Mix Grill meal (50LE) was, quite surprisingly, small with only a couple of tiny pieces each of shish tawook, kebab and kofta to speak of. The rice, however, was plentiful and the side of sautéed vegetables was efficient. Our second meal was the Shish Tawook meal (30LE) and looked pretty much similar to the first one in overall size and presentation. Our food lacked the freshness one always expects from Abou Shakra. Sure, the taste was alright and the food was not at all inedible, yet it was sadly stale and just did not taste like it was fresh off the grill. The rice was filled with chicken liver and raisins, which we were not quite huge fans of either and the sautéed vegetables were a tad too oily. All in all, for its quite lower prices and smaller venue, the lower quality of the food in comparison to the original Abou Shakra restaurants was quite expected. Shakra to Go does, however, offer more diversity to the food court which is laden with unhealthy fast-food options relying on deep-fried food. 


Spectra: Cozy Comfort Food in Maadi
Published On: 07/10/2014

There's something about big portions that just clicks in Egypt's food market. A few names come to mind when thinking of huge servings and Spectra is only one of many. Located in the same building as the Residence Hotel on Road 18 in Maadi, Spectra have gathered a bit of a following especially on weekends and Fridays specifically. With a warm and cosy interior of dark wooden benches and tables complimented by dim lighting and paintings on the wall, a waiter will greet you at the door and show you to your table. We chose a week night because Spectra have a bit of a reputation when it comes to noise levels and large groups. We sat at our table and dove into the very extensive menu-seriously; you could actually drift off while reading it. You will notice the price ranges are very decent and, with the large portions, you could actually feed two people with one three-course-meal. We opted for a Jumbo Combo (49.99LE) from the starters, a mixture of spring rolls, fried mozzarella, chicken strips, and onion rings. From the mains, we chose a Rib-Eye and Salmon Steak (94.5LE) and a Grilled Chicken in Shrimp Sauce (59.99LE). The great thing about Spectra is that waiting time at the restaurant isn't very long. To have your food delivered at home is a different story though. So our waiter arrived with the enormous Jumbo Combo platter, we dug into the Spring Rolls first and found them satisfyingly crunchy and tasty, the same goes for the Chicken Strips. The Onions Rings sort of fell apart unfortunately while the fried mozzarella sticks were a little too heavy. After a surprisingly short wait, our mains arrived. We had asked for the Rib Eye steak to be cooked medium rare, which it was not. Served closer to a medium well, we were not amused. The Salmon on the other hand was much tastier, cooked better and all around a better experience. The dish came with sides of sautéed vegetables and corn on the cob. Both were seasoned nicely with salt, butter and some herbs. The Grilled Chicken with Shrimp Sauce was also a little disappointing. While the chicken itself was well cooked and tasty, the shrimp sauce contained no shrimp. Instead it had processed crab meat, and in as few words as possible, people shouldn't eat processed crab meat. The side of Penne Pasta with white sauce was quite filling however and made up for the subpar sauce on the chicken. If by some miracle you've finished all this food and still want more, look no further than the Madness section in the desserts. Cheesecake, biscuits, cake and ice cream mushed together in a bowl and topped with your favourite fruits or Oreos ranging between (22.99LE-26.99LE). To be honest, no part of the food wowed us. But this is what we meant by large portions are a sure way to gain popularity in Egypt. People are very willing to lessen their standards for more food.


T.G.I Friday's: American Diner Chain Dissapoints in New Cairo's Americana Plaza
Published On: 05/10/2014

Sometimes, all you want is a quick, safe meal from a well-known restaurant to get you through the day. You decide that adventurous visits to newly opened eateries offering any kind of exquisite dishes can wait for another day and give the venturesome foodie inside of you the day off. Thus, we headed to the New Cairo branch of T.G.I. Friday's, only to have our hopes for a reliable meal blighted. Located on the ground floor of New Cairo's Americana Plaza, Friday's offers both indoor and outdoor seating areas. With the outdoor seating seeming a a tad dead, we headed indoors where we were greeted by the extremely cheerful staff who led us to our table in the designated non-smoking area. The place had the traditionally mainstream American Diner design, with round booths, tables and walls plastered with posters.    Upon being seated, our waiter laid out our menus and rambled endlessly about the specials. We hoped to get a minute alone with our menus, but our waiter kept on asking if we were ready to order any appetisers or drinks. After finally understanding that we first wanted to skim through the menu, our waiter kindly retreated. The menu offered the usual heavy, fat-laden dishes that we all love-to-hate and hate-to-love. Pastas, steaks, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas, fajitas; you name it. Our food arrived quite quickly and we couldn't wait to dig into our dishes. Upon tasting all three of our dishes, we concluded that there was one serious problem with them all: an almost ridiculous lack in seasoning and flavour. The Grilled Chicken Cacciatore (57.99LE), consisting of a grilled chicken breast topped with tomato sauce and mushrooms accompanied by basil pasta, was absolutely flavourless with the chicken tasting disappointingly bland and the pasta being a bit soggy. The Garlic Chicken Pasta (49.99LE) tasted a bit more flavourful yet still lacked the distinctive garlic seasoning we longed for. The final dish, the infamous Friday's Chicken Fingers (49.99LE), also lacked flavour. The French fries, however, that came with it were quite delicious, crisp and fresh. The big portions made the dishes all the worse - how much can one really eat when the mot important component is missing? The friendly and prompt service is much appreciated but the watered-down approach traditionally employed with fast-food is coming undone at places like T.G.I Friday's and its peers.


Roma Pizza 2 Go: Delivery-Only Pizza Chain Now in Maadi
Published On: 01/10/2014

There's a very wide gap in the pizza market in Egypt. At one end, you have the deep dish, ridiculously greasy localized version of pizza that frequent toppings like roumi cheese and sogo', and then you have a small selection of pizzerias who serve a thinner crust and place more emphasis on the tomato sauce. Roma Pizza, Buffalo Burger's delivery-only sister restaurant, recently opened a new branch in Maadi, one of few locations that had previously been off their delivery radar. Maadi is home to some of the best pizzas available in Egypt, and its' residents know their food, so competition for Roma Pizza is fierce right off the bat. So, let's dive into the good stuff. The topping selection is pretty standard, with the exception of a Cheese Burger pizza, so for our relatively large group we opted for three family sized pizzas. The 'family size' is about 40 cm wide, which is huge, keep in that in mind lest you over order like we did. We opted for a Pepperoni (79LE) with an addition of fresh mushrooms (10LE), a Cheese Burger pizza (89LE) and a Hawaiian (89LE). Additionally, we also order some large Wedges (16LE) and Chicken Wings (22LE). First, we need to point out that we were five people, and that amount of food could easily feed ten. Delivery was unfortunately slow, taking about an hour to get to us. While we understand taking the full 45 minutes when there's a large order, still, we were extremely close by and it shouldn't have taken that long. The pizzas themselves had a sort of in between crust; not very thin, but thin enough to maintain a crunch. The tomato sauce lacked a little salt, but more importantly, it lacked quantity, which was a little disappointing. Also, the pepperoni tasted like regular salami. The Cheese Burger pizza has the strangest toppings of all, Buffalo burger, American cheese, lettuce, thousand island sauce, red onions, dill and tomatoes. Essentially, if you fold the enormous slice over, it becomes a burger, that doesn't quite have enough burger in it. The Hawaiian pizza, with salami that's advertised as pepperoni, pineapples and beef topping, had an overall bland taste which we're attributing to the salt-less tomato sauce. As for our sides, the Wedges were actually very good, and fried to a very nice crisp. The Chicken Wings didn't fare as well, ending up rather soggy and greasy. Roma Pizza may not be able to compete against higher end pizzerias, but it will definitely give you a good alternative to the likes of Pizza Hut and Papa John's. We personally liked the crust very much, and wouldn't mind a cheese pizza with fresh mushrooms if they would just add that pinch of salt to the tomato sauce.


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The Cairo Tower: Still the Best View of Egypt's Capital

With quiet streets overflowing with refreshing greenery, fine restaurants, cafes and bars, Zamalek is one of Egypt's most attractive districts and home to one of Cairo's top monumental attractions - the Cairo Tower.  Just north of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cairo Tower has been the tallest struc