Cairo Restaurants

Chili's:Stellar Service at All-Time American Eatery at Cairo Festival City
Published On: 12/11/2014

Sometimes, when shops expand, attain numerous branches and become household names, they end up forgoing a few of their standards and their service levels take a deep plunge. With this one, however, we found the opposite to be in fact the case, with the service being better than ever. Located around the fountain area in Cairo Festival City Mall, Chili's offers both adequate outdoor and indoor seating. With the rather chilly weather (ha!), we opted for indoor seating, and our waiter immediately guided us to an impeccably set table in the non-smoking section, as requested. Carrying the traditional jazzed up American diner trademark look,nothing in this branch of Chili's particularly stands  out as different. From the sinful Texas Cheese Fries (52.99 LE) to the Boneless Buffalo Wings (59.99 LE), the appetisers sounded as good as always. The restaurant also offers a few soup and salad options, like the Quesadilla Explosion (55.99 LE), that are anything but bland-sounding. Moving on to the even more dense main course options, we were not disappointed; from sandwiches to steaks to burgers to pastas to chicken dishes, the Americanized Tex-Mex options were endless. Our Tostada Chips (36.99 LE) were crisp, hot, and fresh and laying before our eyes just 5 minutes after we had ordered them.  Needless to say, we demolished them in a few minutes and our waiter, being as efficient as they come, immediately refilled them for us without having been asked to with a fresh batch. Our main courses arrived just a few minutes later and Chili's continued to impress us with how tasty and neat everything was. The Classic Bacon Burger (59.99 LE) was everything a good burger needs to be; the buns tasted fresh and fluffy, the patty was well seasoned and bursting with flavour and the toppings added the right finishing touches to an already perfect burger.  The French fries are also worthy of a mention as they were not at all greasy or over or under salted. Imagine a sizzling mountain of well-marinated chicken strips drenched in Jack cheese and topped with mushrooms and bacon bits and you'll have The Mushroom Jack fajita (79.99 LE), which we totally devoured to the last bite. The overall amazing service did not end here, but persisted throughout our whole visit with the manager stopping by to make sure all's well and our check arriving two minutes after we asked for it. All in all, Chili's truly surprised us with the level of quality it has managed to retain throughout the years. Our food arrived on time and was delicious and our waiter was as swift as can be; what more can we ask for?

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Anas Al Demashky: Syrian Comfort Food in Nasr City
Published On: 11/11/2014

Every now and then, certain food cravings must be met. For some its burgers, for others its sushi; personally, this reviewr needs a fix of good old Syrian food every once in a while. While there has been no shortage of Syrian restaurants popping up on our food radar, one in particular has been a personal favourite. Opening up just before 2011, Anas El Demashky has held its spot on El Nasr Road in Nasr City through four of the toughest years Egypt has faced. With a modestly sized venue, and the typical open kitchen and shawerma stands at the entrance, the seating arrangement is as basic as it gets, which is a reflection on the food itself. Think comfort food - you don't really need much from this kind of venue besides delicious food. The menu features all items you would expect from a Syrian restaurant, starting off with the mezzas and salads through to the manakeesh, pastries, Shawerma and even broast faroug. They also offer mini baalbakiyat or mini pastries for catering purposes or special events. We opted for our favourites, Labnah with Olive Oil (13LE) and Vine Leaves (8LE) from the appetisers, and a Beef Shawerma Fatta (36LE) and Anous (38LE) for our mains. The freshly made Labnah is whipped up into a plate and drizzled with olive oil, served with a basket of warm bread and a side of pickles. The Vine Leaves had a zing to them in the traditional Syrian manner. Both appetizers do exactly the job of keeping you eager for more food. A short while later, two generous portions of fatta were served. The Beef Shawerma fatta features basmati rice is topped with fries, tomeya, pickles, fried bread and a quarter kilo of shawerma. The chicken had that crisp layer that gave it extra flavour and the whole ensemble was very tasty. Anous, is exactly what embodies comfort food. Shish tawook, a crispy chicken breast, chicken shawerma, and kobeba, all on basmati rice, fries, tomeya, fried bread and pickles. The food is extremely filling, delicious and accurately priced. The greatest thing about this kind of restaurant is the simple relationship between it and its customer. They know you don't expect fancy décor or waiters explaining the specials, you expect filling, satisfying food and that's all they serve.

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Jacket Potato: Baked Potato Goodies Now in Maadi
Published On: 09/11/2014

Across Cairo restaurants, there are certain and foods that are served in almost all international cuisine menus, sometimes as a side and sometimes as a dish of its own. But no matter how expensive it is or where you choose to try it, it always seems half-baked (ha!) and just not given enough attention. A prime example of this are baked potatoes. Sure, you can sprinkle some salt and pepper and add some butter, but there's more to this seemingly simple thing than people seem to realise here. While the only other restaurant that puts this much focus into the dish is Simply Potatoes, now the residents of Maadi can rejoice at the fact that there's another option on their very own Road 9. Jacket Potato – as the Brits call it – opened up for business just last month, boasting a rather stylish-looking, moderately-sized restaurant with both an outdoor and indoor area. An open kitchen reveals a salad and topping bar with all the extras where you can have one of the staff prepare one of the items off the set menu, or build your own. We were greeted warmly at the door and shown to an empty table, but we opted to head straight to the topping bar and figure out what to order. The menu offers various chicken, meat and vegetarian options, as well as salads and sweet potato desserts. We opted for a classic Cheesy Minced Beef (37LE) and a Chicken Paprikash (39LE). Serving time is very short as they have a constants stream of potatoes coming out of the oven ready for toppings. The potatoes are served in perfectly-sized green boxes that contain the mess and could even be used as an on-the-go plate. The Cheesy Minced Beef was every bit as deliciously decedent as it sounds, pulling together a generous amount of minced beef with Worcestershire Sauce, minted yoghurt and plenty of grated cheddar cheese. The bottom of the potato had just the right amount of char to create some crunch and the dish was very filling. The Chicken Paprikash was also a hit, featuring chicken breast marinated in paprika spices, sour cream, mushrooms and, again, a generous amount of cheddar cheese. We decided to try one of the dessert options as well, and so we opted for a Sweet Potato with Cream and Honey (19LE). The potentially sickly sweetness of the honey was dulled down slightly by the cream, creating a very simple tasty combination. While the prices of upwards of 30LE for baked potatoes may seem much, but trust in Jacket Potato; it's worth it for a quick, tasty, simple meal.

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Mori Sushi & Grill: Premium Sushi Restaurant Still Retains its Quality in Mohandiseen
Published On: 07/11/2014

Long gone are the days when Sushi was a rare delicacy found in only a limited number of exclusive spots around Cairo restaurants. Now, it has become ridiculously commercial with sushi places popping up everywhere - some even named almost identically. With its increased availability and abundance of all-you-can-eat promotions, sushi restaurants have inevitably decreased in quality. One of the first brands to launch the sushi concept in Egypt was Mori Sushi, and with a bit of caution, we revisited the Mohandessin branch in hopes of finding it still retaining its prestige. The restaurant hasn't changed its décor, which is anything but worn out, and the black, grey and orange modern Asian theme is still pretty much pristine. The place is moderately sized and boasts a few tables, as well as an open kitchen in the back. We were immediately greeted by a friendly waiter who led us to our spotless table, that already had all the cutlery laid on it; quite a lovely and professional touch. Our menus were laid out instantaneously, and as always, they were well-organised and looked quite posh. The sushi menu is pretty much the same as it has always been; brimming with endless options of Nigiri, Ura Maki, Dynamite and Hot Tempura rolls as well as Sashimi options amongst many others. The grill menu, however, did feature a few new items including a couple of burgers, and some delicious-sounding chicken dishes such as the Brazilian Chicken Thighs (60LE). Our order was served in a surprising few minutes despite its intricacy. Our sushi platters looked picturesque as always and tasted absolutely fresh. Our absolute favourite rolls were the Pink Panther Roll (39LE/ 4 pieces), the Kiwi Rainbow Roll (39LE/4 pieces), and the Crispy Shrimp and Avocado Roll (40LE/4 pieces). The real surprise, however, was the grill section. The Rib Eye steak (95LE), drenched in Wild Mushrooms Sauce (9LE) was heavenly, and grilled to our requested medium-well. The Sizzled Chicken Breasts (60LE), which consisted of chicken chunks drenched in Soy Sauce and seasoned with various peppers, was also quite delectable despite being quite scarce in its size. Its side of vegetable rice was also bursting with flavour. Our waiter continued to be quite helpful, amicable and never out of sight. Our empty dishes were not left lingering on our table, but were removed in a flash. In a nutshell, Mori Sushi has successfully managed to avoid the pitfalls of most sushi restaurants nowadays. While the novelty of sushi has long worn off, Mori has been able to maintain a level of quality and service unlike any other restaurant. While the rolls were expensive, they were equally delicious, and the grill section exceeded every expectation we had.

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Fuddruckers: Decent Food, Slack Service at American Diner Chain in Maadi
Published On: 06/11/2014

Among the family-favourite Cairo dining is Fuddruckers, the 'All-American diner'. Come to think of it, most of the family weekend lunch restaurants are American diners. Regardless of how or why that particular cuisine became their most favourite, these diners are known for some top notch burgers and tex-mex appetizers. We dropped by the Maadi branch of Fuddruckers to check in on the food, and more importantly, the service-current popular opinion of Fuddruckers is very harsh on the service, so we figured we would give them a chance to redeem themselves. The restaurant wasn't as crowded as it usually is on the weekends, allowing you to see more of the typical diner decorations with yellow walls and blue outlines mimicking the restaurant's colour scheme. Other props and memorabilia are hung on the walls in typical diner fashion. We were greeted by a waiter who led us to our table and laid out our menus. We proceeded to pick out some of our favourite dishes including Appetizer Platter (62LE), a Fillet Steak (139LE) and, of course, a 2/3 Lb The Works (62LE)-we were heartbroken to find out the one pounder burger has been discontinued. Tex-mex appetizers take no time to prepare, so we got very impatient when serving us took upwards of thirty minutes and more so when it was all served together after forty five minutes. Not a good start, but let's examine the food. The Appetizer Platter consists of chilli cheese fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, buffalo chicken wings and quesadillas. Our favourites were definitely the fries which were both tasty and plentiful, and the Buffalo wings which were perfectly messy and spicy. The mozzarella and onion rings were nothing special, and quesadillas were falling apart. For all those concerned about the burgers, we're happy to tell you they're doing quite well. The bread is fresh, the patties juicy and the toppings plentiful and tasty. Rock solid burger, plus the wedges are pretty awesome too. The steak, on the other hand, didn't fare so well. So, 139LE for a 220g steak is quite a lot, so from the get-go it's under a lot of pressure. Add to that the fact that it was served well-done when we asked for medium-rare and you have yourself a large waste of money. The seasoning, the taste of the meat itself, basically anything that contributed to it being so expensive was lost from a few extra minutes of cooking. The staff apologized about the mistake, but the dish wasn't replaced. We see why Fuddruckers' service has been under such heat. It's no good. Taking way too long to serve food, not compensating for their own mistakes, and charging far too much for otherwise charred meat. While the burgers are still good, we can't imagine how bad the service gets on the crowded weekends.

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La Pietra: Italian Dining with a View at the Platform
Published On: 05/11/2014

In the few and far moments when Cairo's weather is both sunny and breezy, there's nothing better than dining outside. One of most popular spots to do exactly that in also happens to have an excellent Nile view; Maadi's the Platform. Having worked our way through almost all of the cafes and restaurants there, La Pietra was beckoning. While enjoying good weather and a great view is a plus that all the Platform venues enjoy, it also brings a lot of traffic and, more often than not, the Platform is packed. Service time is generally slow and you may end up changing which restaurant you're going to eat at rather than wait for a table to clear up. The outdoor decor in the Platform is almost universal across the venues. At La Pietra, simple yet elegant dark cushioned chairs and glass-top tables suit the general ambiance of the Platform quite well. We browsed through the menu and opted for the Mushroom Soup (22LE), Chicken with Honey and Mustard (56LE) and Beef Escalope (75LE) - all of which we were really made to wait for. It took thirty minutes to serve the soup and it arrived cold - cold enough, in fact, to send back. In fairness, however, once re-heated, the soup was actually better than most efforts across Cairo's restaurants, being extremely dense in ground mushrooms rather than just cream. About fifteen minutes later, our main courses were served. The Chicken with Honey and Mustard is a dish we've previously tried before, and thankfully, they didn't shatter our good memory of it. The dish was hot, the chicken was tender and the sauce was brilliant and deep in flavour. The fluffy side of rice was particular tasty with the sauce and the smooth mashed potatoes with sharp spring onions completed the ensemble. The Beef Escalope, served with a creamy mushroom sauce and sides of pasta with tomato sauce and French fries, was equally as successful and this reviewer would have no qualms in recommending it to anyone. The generous strip of beef was well marinated, cooked right and coated with a crunchy breading. Dipping it in the rich sauce was the cherry on top. The side of farfalle pasta with red sauce was without fault but unspectacular, almost forgettable and futile, and the French fries were pleasingly crispy. Cold soup and slow service aside, La Pietra's food is as good as any other's at the Platform and manages to do something that few restaurants around Cairo do - keep things simple.

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Feteera: Modern Spin on Feteer in Sheikh Zayed
Published On: 04/11/2014

One of underrated joys of life is leaving a restaurant absolutely stuffed – something the many quantity-over-quality restaurants in Cairo can offer. During our review of the original Feteera in Zamalek, we left with our belts undone and the small eatery has since expanded to more branches, onw of which is located in Sheikh Zayed. The secret to Feteera is that the pastry itself isn't made with the traditional butter or ghee. Instead, it uses a much lighter oil that helps prevent the mess feteer usually causes. The venue itself consists of an outdoor area with simple tables and chairs; the first floor is where you see the feteer being prepared and going into the oven, while the second floor has a more spacious seating arrangement. We opted for the outdoor area, which we didn't realise would be so loud. The menu is large and diverse, featuring vegetarian options as well as beef, chicken and seafood. Additionally, they also serve feteer meshaltet and rokak. All the pastries come in two sizes, as well as a roll. We were intrigued by the mesa'aa (Egyptian moussaka) feteer (37LE), which we couldn't fathom, but after much curiosity it got the best of us. We also opted for the Chicken Barbeque Pizza feteer (47LE) and a Custard, Cream and Cinnamon feteer (34LE) for dessert. Preparation and serving time was very short. The Chicken Barbeque Pizza Feteer; the ingredients were fresh and included chicken, mozzarella, barbeque sauce and bell peppers, creating a delicious final flavour combination. The medium sized feteer will leave you full, but not stuffed. The mesa'aa Feteer came a little later, but was worth the wait. Stuffed with eggplant, minced meat, mozzarella and roumi cheese, as well as tomatoes, bell peppers and onions, it was light and tasty in the centre, with a nice crisp around the edges. The Custard, Cream and Cinnamon feteer was the cherry on top of a great snack-come-meal. The filling is so generous, it oozes out of everywhere. The cream and custard created a delicious mixture which was taken to another level with the addition of cinnamon. Our only regret was ordering the large size which was way more than we could eat. The competition over the best feteer in Sheikh Zayed has just become fierce. Everything we tried at the time of our visit and everything we tried previously at the first branch were surprisingly good; Agina may have to step up their game.

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S. Lounge: Sloppy Restaurant & Cafe in Maadi
Published On: 02/11/2014

Of the ever-changing venues on Road 9 in Maadi, few have managed to secure a spot and keep it - a curse amongst restaurants and cafes in Cairo. Aside from obvious reasons like super expensive rent and fierce competition, a third and infinitely important factor is service-or lack thereof. Enter S Lounge, located across from Harris Café; a venue that boasts a stylish looking indoor area and an outside courtyard that extends behind the restaurant itself.  We were greeted a little after walking in and shown to a couch around the back as we wanted to avoid the street noise. In said back area, there are several dark brown tables accompanied by four chairs each, plus several off-white and turquoise couches that match the venue's color scheme. The couches were filthy, looking like they've been gathering dust since the venue first opened a few months ago. There was also a lot of chipped paint and water marks from inefficient drainage on the walls. The waiter dropped off terrible looking menus that literally looked they just came out of the washing machine and we were dreading what was to come. It took about fifteen minutes for the waiter to show up again. Another, with no pen or pad, insisted we give him our order, and then walked off mid-order to look for the first waiter. Biting our collective lip, we opted for Whipped Wild Mushroom soup (36LE), Buffalo Chicken Wings (42LE), a Trio Burger (56LE) and Fresh Salmon (90LE). It's worth mentioning that at the time of our visit, half of the menu was unavailable and the staff seemed clueless when pushed for details on the available dishes. So, thirty minutes later, when the soup and Buffalo Chicken Wings arrived, there were mixed feelings. The Soup, advertised as containing truffle oil, was made with olive oil - and plenty of it too. We appreciate there being more mushroom than cream, but the balance was a little off. The Buffalo Wings may have been the worst we've ever tried. Consisting of boiled chicken wings coated in a terrible sauce that resembles buffalo sauce in colour but nothing else, it was a complete failure of a dish. The main courses, which similarly took far too long to serve, were average at best. The patty in the burger was extremely average, and relatively small, which begs the question as to why it could possibly cost 56LE. Despite being cooked and seasoned well, the salmon main course, with sides of mashed potato and rice, smelled noticeably not fresh, while the sides were, again, average.  Frankly, this is a venue we would never go back to. The food is poor, the cleanliness is horrid and the service is one of the worst we've experienced. S. Lounge looks the part, but there was very little, if anything, to entice us back.

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Abou El Sid: Wholesome Egyptian Cuisine at Citystars
Published On: 01/11/2014

Our Egyptian cuisine is nothing short of exquisite. After all, we came up with the idea of putting carbs on carbs and making a lip-smacking dish out of it. Abou El Sid is one of the most famous restaurants serving all sorts of delectable Egyptian dishes with a rather extravagant touch. Located in the always busy Citystars, Abou El Sid is like a time portal that takes you back to 1960s Egypt with its luxuriously antique décor and furniture. The dim lighting and old music playing in the background all add to the mysterious, vintage air the place carried. Our waiter graciously greeted us and led us to our table, placing our menus before us. The menu is anything but limited; think of every Egyptian dish you've ever distantly heard of and you'll probably find it on there. For appetizers, Abou El Sid offers some traditional salads and dips, alongside delicious sounding mezzas, including Stuffed Vine Leaves (28 LE), Fried Aubergine (16 LE) and Kobeiba (36 LE) amongst others. The main courses, however, are where it's all at! From Molokhia with Meatballs (58 LE), Stuffed Pigeons (40 LE per pigeon), to a full-on Seafood platter or "Tajin" (82 LE), they've got all the delicacies covered. The dessert menu is equally as appetising boasting some Om Ali (25 LE), Fetir with your choice of toppings (32 LE) and Rice with Milk (25 LE) amongst others. Our order took considerable time to arrive, but seeing as how we were ordering some intricately cooked options, we didn't mind that much. Our Circasian Chicken (62 LE), which is basically white rice topped with chicken drenched in a pink, walnut-based sauce, was absolutely delicious, with the sauce being quite generously drizzled all over the plate. We would've, however, preferred to taste more walnuts and less cream in the sauce. Our Molokhia (58 LE) was also quite delectable, with its consistency being just right; not too runny yet not too dense. The Koshari (28 LE) tasted quite average, despite the fact that it cost about 3 times its normal price elsewhere. All in all, Abou El Sid does offer more than just oriental food; it offers its customers a whole experience. The waiters were quite friendly, the general ambiance was on point and the food, despite it being a little pricey was of notable quality.

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Alwan Lebanese Bistro: Quiet, Nile-Side Restaurant in Giza
Published On: 30/10/2014

One thing we've learned over the years at Cairo 360 is that when it comes to Cairo's dining scene, the only certainty is that nothing is certain. We've seen many a novelty and gimmick fade into obscurity, though certain cuisines all but guarantee a certain level of success – Lebanese being one such cuisine. Located on the Giza Conriche, recently opened Alwan Lebanes Bistro takes up the space where short-lived Asian restaurant, Chop Chop once was, right next to the new Saudi Arabian Embassy. As with Chop Chop, Alwan shares an entrance with a neighbouring Indian restaurant, Asha's. Upon entrance, a friendly waiter greeted us at the door and stayed with us in the endeavour of exploring some of the more unfamiliar dishes. Though the names Alwan ('colours' in Arabic) seems more suited to a quirky cafe, the décor is actually very contemporary and the use of colours subtly brightens up the cold, sleek space. Our favourite feature was the coloured strands running across the windows. We started with a classic Fattoush salad (20LE), which we found very balanced and generous with the crispy, fried bread. Next they served us the Fruit Cocktail (29LE) which was fresh and delicious. We had opted for Mankoushet Alwan (40LE); a round mana'eesh split up into four pieces, each with a different filling. The oregano and cheeses sections were flavourful and light, though the meat in the minced meat piece was noticeably not fresh. Confused about what was in it, our waiter clarified that the fourth piece was in fact stuffed with Lebanese kishk – a dish made of cracked wheat, yoghurt and milk. Similar to a savoury rice pudding, it didn't quite sit well with the bread of the mana'eesh. The great thing about Lebanese cuisine is the colourful and liberal use of spices, which was very obvious in the Mixed Grill (99LE). The Shish Tawook and Kabab were incredible; the seasoning was perfect and they were cooked exactly right. The Kebab was so tender it would melt in your mouth. The Kofta on the other hand, while perfectly seasoned as well, just couldn't seem to keep its consistency. Every time you touched it with a fork it would crumble into smaller pieces. One of our favourite features of the experience was the tasty and freshly baked Lebanese bread. We decided to end the meal with a Nutella Pie (35LE). Topped with bananas and kiwi, the pie was a great combination of soft and crispy, while the banana and kiwi was fresh. Being a relatively new restaurant on what is an already very busy Lebanese dining scene in Cairo, Alwan delivers what it promises, but lacks the pizzazz to challenge more established Lebanese restaurants like Taboula.

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Cairo Weekend Guide: EL-FIT Grand Finale, Panorama of the European Film, Student DJ & More!

Hello Cairo! With plenty of live music, parties, exhibitions and festivals taking place this weekend, there's no shortage of options for what's shaping up to be a very busy weekend. The Panorama of the European Film in full swing at, with screenings at Downtown Cairo's Zawya and Cinema Galaxy in Man