Cairo Restaurants

Tabla Luna: Latin American Cuisine in Maadi
Published On: 13/04/2014

With so many restaurants in Cairo serving identical menus, when we hear about something different, it warms our hearts and rumbles our tummies. Latin American cuisine in Egypt is now a reality; Tabla Luna – a new, cosy little restaurant in Maadi – serves dishes from across Latin America and sends a breath of fresh and zesty air into the city's repetitive dining scene. The restaurant, on Road 218, is very colourful, using yellow, green and red against a grey backdrop. The floor tiles integrate patterns of Aztec and Mayan motifs, while the boisterous atmosphere reflects the bustling, vibrant streets of South America. Other than a few Mexican food joints that have come and gone, Egypt has hardly scratched the surface of an entire continent's cuisine. With minimal experience with this type of food, our waiter pleasantly explained the menu to us, mentioning which country each dish is from and what ingredients are in them. While choosing what to order, we were served two small tortillas breads alongside two different chilli dips; one was creamy and mild, whilst the other was slightly spicier. The flavours ran seamlessly into each other, teasing you with its spice and keeping you in anticipation of the amazing feast to come. It wasn't easy picking from the menu, as everything genuinely sounded delicious, so after some help from the waiter, we opted for a Ceviche de Camarón (48 LE); a wonderfully zesty appetiser from Ecuador, made of shrimp served in a bowl with lime juice, cilantro, onions, tomatoes and parsley. We also ordered Empanadas Salteñas (28 LE); a pastry from Bolivia – similar to the Egyptian Katayef – stuffed with beef, complete with a spicy kick. For our main course we chose the Confused Argentinean (52 LE); a vegetarian ñoqui with spinach. Ñoqui, or Gnocchi, is a form of soft pasta made from potatoes, originally from Italy that was brought over to South America by Italian immigrants. The sauce was wonderfully creamy and strong tasting, whilst the gnocchi was just the right balance between soft and chewy. We also picked a Sirloin Huancaína (92 LE); sirloin steak served with a lettuce and arugula, Peruvian potatoes, boiled and grilled, and then topped with Huancaína sauce; a creamy, cheesy and spicy sauce from Peru made by blending saltines, queso fresco and aji Amarillo – a mixture of Latin American spice, milk and garlic. Having just opened, some of the food took a little too long to serve, but we quickly forgot when we got stuck in. The chef personally checked on our table to ensure our satisfaction, all while explaining that a lot of the recipes are in fact his mother's – an undoubtedly talented lady. Tabla Luna's authentic, Latin American recipes are refreshing to the taste buds, whilst the place is both friendly and welcoming, transporting us to a more exotic location away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo.

...

Manhattan Burger: American Diner-Sized Burgers in New Cairo
Published On: 09/04/2014

With so many shops and restaurants Cairo, it's often a relief to venture out to the less populated areas for a breath of fresh air. Much like the expansion of real estate into the vast spaces of New Cairo, there's an equally large expansion of malls, food courts and shops in Fifth Settlement, transforming Road 90 into the bustling and vibrant heart of a new city. We visited a small food court inside the Oil Libya gas station on the North Road 90, parallel to the main Road 90; this mini-mall has two restaurants, a café and a supermarket. We visited one of the two restaurants, Manhattan Burger; a small American-style diner that specialises in – you guessed it – burgers. The restaurant is small, with only one table for seating and the rest outside in a small courtyard. The simple seating arrangement very much encourages you to eat fast and go – after all, you are sitting in a gas station. Aside from the burgers wrapped in tortilla and the crispy burger in a fried calzone, everything else is served in a bun. From the appetiser options, we opted for a Manhattan Mix (45 LE); a spread of fried chicken nuggets, stringy mozzarella sticks and crispy onion rings served with barbecue sauce and mayonnaise, all covered in a layer of arugula. As our mains, we chose the 250g cold cuts burger, complete with a plentiful portion of turkey and Emmental cheese (42.5 LE), served with a small plate of pickles. The meal can be made a combo by adding 15 LE. The meat patty was thick and tasty, although there was nothing exceptional about it. Although a little pricey for what it was, the meal was both filling and satisfying. We also went for the apple burger (39.50LE) topped with slices of caramelised green apples and blue cheese. Similarly to our first burger, the meat patty was large but decidedly average. The apples were fresh and satisfyingly sweet, whilst the blue cheese wasn't overpowering. For dessert, the menu had two frozen yoghurt options, costing 20 LE and 25 LE with three toppings, but unfortunately the yoghurt machine wasn't operational at the time of our visit. We hope Manhattan Burger make additions to their menu soon, add more tables inside or heaters outside, and perhaps a toilet or even just a sink to wash up. However, our experience at Manhattan Burger was a an overall inoffensive one.  

...

Tasty Besty: Delicious Grills &  Seafood at Modest Nasr City Restaurant
Published On: 08/04/2014

There's something gratifying about ducking out of the city's main roads, which are so packed with the bigger Cairo restaurants, and instead going on the hunt on smaller, quieter side roads in the hope of finding something new and undiscovered. Luckily, Cairo is full of hidden gems. In our latest off-road excursion – off Abbas El Akkad in Nasr City – we came by Tasty Besty, specialising in seafood and grills. So as not to limit their customer base, pizza, sandwiches, pastries and casseroles are also available. Relying largely on catering and delivery, the restaurant itself is small and not exceptionally decorated; the tables are haphazardly arranged, but the space was undoubtedly clean. The owner of the restaurant is very friendly and took our orders himself, but not before requesting that both his chefs – who promised we would love their food –suggest their specialties. We ordered from both of their menus, a selection of seafood dishes and a mixed grill. The order did take some time, but when it did show up, we were truly amazed; the chefs kept their promise, and we couldn't believe an unknown restaurant on a small side road could have delivered such a fulfilling meal. The hearty portion of seafood soup (25 LE) was made with the freshest of ingredients; cream, thyme, cumin and fish fillet, all perfectly seasoned. A small sengary cooked mullet (17 LE) came with plenty of flavourful marinate to pour over our fluffy sayadeya rice. A medium sized shrimp casserole (50 LE) was made up of a quarter-kilo of jumbo sized shrimp (40 LE), onions, tomatoes and bell peppers (10 LE). We also ordered fried calamari (80 LE/kg). Transporting us to the wonderful seafood eateries on the coast of Alexandria, our compliments go out to the seafood chef. The mixed grill (57 LE), meanwhile, boasted four pieces of kebab and kofta, a quarter of a grilled chicken and white rice. The portion was a little small, but each piece of meat had that perfect melt-in-your-mouth quality. Particularly noteworthy, the kebab was fresh and covered in sweet pomegranate molasses. Although the dessert menu offers both Om Ali and rice pudding, both are unfortunately only available for catering orders. Tasty Besty also takes special orders for turkey, chicken, pigeons and other large-sized dishes. Judging by the standard of the smaller dishes, we would readily recommend this place for when you have people over for an occasion worthy of a feast. Despite first impressions and the sparse aesthetics, Tasty Besty offers friendly service and exceptional seafood and grills.

...

Sattva Steps: Calorie-Counting Restaurant in Zamalek
Published On: 07/04/2014

Restaurants in Cairo continue to emerge, aiming to bring new and exciting concepts to the dining scene. Recently opened in Zamalek, Sattva Steps revolves around the notion of clean, healthy eating, with the motto; Eat, Move, Burn. The small restaurant stands out among the surrounding shops and cafes, with an organic-looking, pale-wood facade, complete with a contemporary glass front and jolly faux-grass accents. Along with just a few tables indoors, a bar and high stools offer extra seating outdoors.   The menu is split into colourful, simple sections of breakfast - served until midday - until the afternoon choices of soups, appetisers, sandwiches and salads, along with meat, chicken and fish dishes take over until midnight. Conveniently colour-coded, each dish is listed with a calorie count, and the number of steps it will take to walk it off; a green label indicates 299 calories or less, yellow equals 300-499 calories, and orange is between 500 and 1000 calories. With the exception of the burger (52.99LE) – 1036 calories and 25900 steps – nothing else on the menu is above 1000 calories. From the range of fresh juices, smoothies and frappes, we opted for a delicious, chilled, freshly squeezed orange juice (15.75LE).   To eat, we opted for one green labelled (221 calories - 5525 steps) Greek salad (37.99LE), an orange labelled (575 calories – 14375 steps) grilled chicken sandwich (43.99LE) and a green labelled (250 calories – 6250 steps) apple chiboust (19.99LE) for dessert (250 calories – 6250 steps).   The greek salad was generously sized, with colourful, crispy salad pieces, topped with caramelised onion and flavourful, but slightly rubbery, feta cheese. Although undoubtedly the dish was fabulously fresh, we were a little disheartened by the overly-subtle vinaigrette. Despite being advertised on the menu as being served in Panini bread, the grilled chicken sandwich arrived in a soft brown, seeded baguette. Nevertheless, the juicy chicken pieces, smothered in a thick layer of melted cheese, were delicious. Unfortunately, the olives in the sandwich were a tad overbearing, and had we known the sandwich would be laced with unforgiving chilli flakes, we may have stayed clear of it. Next, the apple chiboust was scrumptious, with a creamy custard crème brulee top and a fresh apple base, sprinkled with cinnamon and soaked in a sweet strawberry sauce. Sattva Steps allows diners to make informed decisions regarding the calories contained in their meal, helping to promote healthy eating and excercise; however, the cynics among Cairo's diners could well see it as a gimmick without a pay-off.

...

Caféx: Total Solutions Trade Fair for Egypt's Growing Food Industry
Published On: 06/04/2014

Food is, without doubt, the en vogue path of entrepreneurship in Egypt right now. Restaurants, café, juice bars and all manner of institutions for consuming perishables continue to open across Cairo, with each one promising to be the next biggest thing. Some succeed, while the majority doesn't. One could speculate for days on end about why, but one of the main reasons is that Egypt's food industry isn't so much an industry, but more a fractured skeleton of demand and supply chains. In other words, breaking into the field is one thing, but maintaining what it is you need and for when you need it is another story altogether. This is something that Caféx is aiming to cure. As the first event of its kind, Caféx will brings players from across the whole industry supply chain under one roof in one of the biggest collaborative meetings of business minds Egypt has ever seen. While the notion is unlikely to get the average Cairene pumping with adrenaline, Caféx is a godsend for restaurateurs and foodies-turned-entrepreneurs – especially those who might be considered newcomers to the industry. The brains behind it all are no strangers to this type of event. Events Middle East (EME) has offices and operates around the world and has built a reputation for putting together some truly innovative trade fair events. The bigwigs at EME describe Caféx as a 'total solution' trade fair, offering entrepreneurs access to everything from supplies and services to equipment and furnishings – it literally covers all bases when considering an F&B venture. Café and restaurant equipment, furniture, interior design, real estate and IT solutions will all be covered by the fair and, of course, there is bound to be food. This is the chance for every F&B business owner – whether new to the game or an old hand – to introduce their brands and products to new markets and clients, while also opening themselves up to new suppliers, new contacts and new ideas. Caféx is set to take place at Cairo International Conference Centre in Nasr City between Thursday 24th and Sunday 27th of April. You can find out about how to be a part of the show and much more on the Caféx website.

...

Cairo Bites: Egypt's Biggest Food Showcase
Published On: 27/03/2014

It's no coincidence that the most prolific section on Cairo 360 is the restaurants page. You see, although the term foodie is usually reserved for those of a more refined palette, Egypt has a unique taste and appreciation for food – be it the local foul and falafel hole-in-the-wall, or the latest gourmet street food eatery. It's this appreciation that has led Magda Gomaa and her team of food enthusiasts to put together what is set to be the biggest food event Egypt has ever witnessed. The delightfully named Cairo Bites will bring together food and beverage outlets from across Cairo all under one roof on Saturday the 26th of April at Baron Palace in Heliopolis. But Cairo Bites is more than just a fiesta of food. "We are trying to encourage food entrepreneurship," Gomaa explains. "We've witnessed a trend of something opening at every street corner with endless cuisines, concepts and whatnot. And they're doing it well." The festival will give gastronomic entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their goods, from a range of different cuisines and food philosophies - a reflection of Cairo's increasingly kaleidoscopic dining scene. "Owners have greeted the event well. We have a diversified line-up of food establishments – restaurants, bakeries, fruit and salad bars, etc. As for the cuisines, we promise that people will taste the flavours of the world on that day. And that's no exaggeration!" Beyond the endless food options, Cairo Bites has a whole host of activities, from live demonstrations, to live music and even some special activities for the little ones. Such a grand event needs a grand venue and Gomaa had no hesitation when it came to Baron Palace. "It's an architectural beauty – an intriguing venue standing abandoned in the middle of one of the busiest streets of Cairo. We could've gone to other venues, that are less costly, but this is the one location that perfectly complements Egypt's biggest food festival." With mouths firmly salivating, we discussed the possibility of Cairo Bites becoming a regular fixture. "The chances are very high, for as long as Egyptians continue to love food as much as they do. We want to turn this into an annual festival for our community where people socialise in an environment of food and fun." Find more info on the Cairo Bites Facebook page and ticket information on here. For restaurateurs and other venue owners who are keen to book a spot at the showcase, call 01097900044 / 01003913911 or email info@cairobites.com. Bon appétit!

...

Chef's Market: Unique & Creative Mediterranean Cuisine in Citystars
Published On: 25/03/2014

While restaurants in Cairo open in all corners of the city, there continues to be a concentration of creative, original eateries at the city's many shopping malls. One such example is Chef's Market, located in the new Mosaique Dining area of Heliopolis' Citystars. The spacious venue is split into three stylish seating areas, with bare brick walls and contemporary-chic decorations overlooking an open kitchen area. One of the brains behind the operation is Wessam Masoud, who aside from being a notable chef, is also host of Kitchen 101 on CBC. His experience in gastronomy is reflected in the menu; complex and varied, the dishes - and the general mis-en-scene - are inspired by the bustling food markets that are a cornerstone of cooking with our Mediterranean neighbours. The menu is concise, firmly emphasising quality over quantity, and offers salads and appetisers, along with a selection of beef, poultry and seafood dishes. Fresh juices and hot drinks are also available, along with two types of desserts – as we highly recommend the freshly squeezed tangerine juice (21LE).  The herring, shrimp and roasted beetroot salad (48LE) was fresh, flavourful and overall delicious. Served in a deep bowl, the beetroot was diced along with cuts of cucumber on a bed of lettuce. The herring was plentiful, along with three fresh shrimp, drizzled with a light lemon dressing. Though it's rare to find dishes across Cairo's restaurants that use beetroot with anything other than feta cheese, the sweetness of the vegetable balanced the seafood elements perfectly, maintaining both the integrity of the herring and the shrimp. From the beef section we opted for the tenderloin steak (96LE); perfectly cooked cuts of beef that really did have a melt-in-your-mouth quality. Wrapped in strips of beef bacon and sweet caramelised onions, a remarkably well-suited lemon dressing added a dash of acidity. Served on the side was a portion of spinach and chickpeas, along with a freshly baked potato and zesty pickled tomatoes. At the recommendation of the waiter, we also enjoyed the unusual pairing of duck breast with fereek and red pepper relish (70LE). The cuts of duck were cooked perfectly – a rarity in Cairo – and the fereek was infused with aromatic spices that made a great canvas for the red pepper relish. After our meal we were served a complimentary dessert of heavenly custard topped with konafa crumbs, cinnamon and raisins; this signature dessert has mustered quite a reputation, with patrons coming from all over Cairo to Citystars just to enjoy it. The idea of dining at a mall conjures up images of noisy food-courts and the location doesn't exactly work in the restaurant's favour. But despite this, Chef's Market has exceeded all the expectations its ambitious team set forth on what has been a long, hard, but ultimately fruitful, road. 

...

STRADA: Italian Restaurant at Four Seasons First Residence
Published On: 24/03/2014

Home to some of the most unique bars and restaurants in Cairo, the Four Seasons First Residence has long been considered one of the best hotels in the city. Its latest culinary addition comes in the way of STRADA; a chic Italian restaurant that goes all out to deliver a fine dining experience. Located on the third floor, STRADA is hidden behind a vintage wooden door, engraved with Tuscan designs. Boasting an impressive Nile view, the setting is chic, creating an undisturbed, sophisticated mood. The venue is wide and spacious, with several different seating arrangements; we were seated alongside the window at a round, modern wooden table, with refined leather chairs with patterned backsides. Designed with an urban-Tuscan interior, the restaurant gives off a rich, deluxe ambience. While the bright yellow shade of the walls brightens up the restaurant, the massive circular centrepiece is an Italian, stained glass window, which floods the space in natural light. The food menu offers a variety of refined Italian dishes, covering soups, risotto, pastas and pizzas, alongside a section for fish, and another for red and white meats. The wine menu was also vast, with a selection of local and imported wine included. For our starters, the Caprese Di Bufala (80LE) was rather standard in taste, yet ideal in portion to start off a meal. Served on a round platter was six pieces of rubbery buffalo cheese, topped off with a slice of crisp tomato, some Zucchini Linguini and a dash of Parmesan. Moving on to the main dishes, the Salmone Arrositio (170LE) – roasted salmon, coated with glazed fennel and lemon sauce, served alongside sautéed vegetables – was flawless. Maintaining the balance between being impeccably grilled and perfectly marinated, the salmon had an external thin layer of crust, whilst remaining soft and pink on the inside. The Risotto Porcini (120LE) transpired to be a light creamy mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese. The dish was a little on the small side, and the risotto itself seemed rather bland and undercooked. In spite of this, the creamy mushroom sauce was impressively light. We ended our meal with a traditional Italian dessert, the Cassette Gelato (40LE). Served with two full scoops of ice cream, and mixed with ground nuts, dried fruits and chocolate, the gelato brought a refreshing end to our three-course meal. Though as a whole dining experience, STRADA delivers what you'd expect from an international hotel chain; however, at the time of our visit, the lofty prices simply didn't justify the food served at the time of our visit.

...

Grind: Big Burgers at Mall of Arabia
Published On: 23/03/2014

To the delight of meat-lovers across the city, burger restaurants in Cairo have become common place, all competing to serve up the best burgers in town. The newest burger and steak place to join 6th of October City's Mall of Arabia is Grind, offering quality imported meat from South Africa. Grind enjoys letting its diners know that they grind their meat on-site and boasts that their burgers are 80% pure steak meat and just 20% fat, served on your choice of either brown or white bread. Their menu offers a variety of appetisers, salads, burgers, steaks, cold sandwiches, one chicken meal and a breakfast menu, alongside beverages including sodas, milkshakes and fresh, chilled juices. Situated close to gate 3, the open venue is decorated as an American diner. Narrow, with the kitchen placed at the far end, the seating is a mixture between built in benches, rigid steel chairs which are placed too close together, making the arrangement quite inflexible and uncomfortable. Although it's an altogether pleasant venue, there is nothing to separate diners and shoppers. While it's very rare to find Camembert dishes that are treated the way the cheese deserves, Grind's Camembert Bites (36LE) were outstanding. Five pieces of breaded, melted cheese were deep fried to perfection, served with an unfortunately run-of-the-mill marinara sauce. Shortly after our appetiser, our burgers were served; the Swiss Mushroom Burger (67LE) – served with Swiss cheese, mushroom sauce, lettuce, tomato and a side of French fries – and the Brie Cheese Burger (69LE); Brie cheese, caramelised onions, walnuts, lettuce, tomato and their signature sauce, with a side of French fries. Though the mushroom sauce on the Swiss burger was decidedly average, both substantially sized beef patties tasted fresh and tender, with the signature sauce making the Brie Cheese Burger stand out as the better of the two. As a welcome gift of sorts, the restaurant's manager served us home-made, baked bread pudding, on the house. While we were grateful of their friendly gesture, the muffin-shaped dessert filled with sweet, hot pudding was a little too heavy to follow the massive burgers. Just before cursing the idea of not having a bathroom nearby to rid our hands of burger grease, one of Grind's friendly waiters placed hand sanitizer and toothpicks on our table for convenience. While the idea of freshly ground beef is a quite a novel feature, it isn't quite enough to elevate Grind amongst the likes of Gourmet Burger, Butcher's Burger and other established burger joints around the city.

...

The Vegan Kitchen: Unique Dining Experience in Maadi
Published On: 18/03/2014

Striving to push the culture of dining in Cairo to new limits, the Vegan Kitchen is the first restaurant of the type to open in the capital, with strictly organic, gluten and animal free food. It's a cosy small family business run by a young Cairene couple who are not only striving to slot vegan cuisine into the mainstream palate, but also to promote green environmental living. The interior of the restaurant is lined with natural plaster and decorated with handcrafted furniture made out of recycled pallet wood; with a member of the Vegan Kitchen's team specialising in the design of ecological buildings, the tables and walls are adorned with plants to create what they call a 'living atmosphere', which keeps the air oxygenated and clean. It all comes together to foster a relaxing and calm ambience. The Vegan Kitchen's menu is rife with traditional vegan favourites along with some recipes of their own creation. From their range of appetisers, we found their guacamole (30LE), with a light texture and diced vegetables delicious, pleasantly spiked with a little extra onion. It tasted zesty and refreshing when enjoyed with the homemade oat chips that they were served with. Adding a vegan twist to the Japanese favourite, the maki rolls (30LE) were fresh and flavourful, made with avocado and cucumber, with carrot replacing the fish. All of the salads in the restaurant are served in two sizes; small (20LE) and large (40LE). With a particular appreciation for arugula, we fell for the sweet mushroom salad, which, along with leafy greens, saw the inclusion of mushrooms, spring onions, raisins and walnuts, drenched in a pomegranate-orange dressing to die for. It's a combination of flavours that will tease every corner your palate, with an element of sweet and sour, tinged with zest of the arugula and bitterness of the fresh mushrooms. While some may find the concept of raw pasta (30LE) to be somewhat off-putting, it's not what it seems. A large tub of uncooked zucchini strings, emulating spaghetti were topped with a thick layer of aromatic pesto sauce. Not only did the dish look fantastic, but it tasted delicious, with the pesto itself being one of the best we've tasted in Cairo. Although eggplant is a tough ingredient to work with because of its tendency to absorb oil when fried, the Vegan Kitchen's eggplant ravioli (35LE) was perfect; small cuts of unpeeled eggplant are rolled around walnuts, adding a textural contrast, along with a zesty tomato and onion stuffing. The mushroom risotto (30LE) is also recommended, prepared with brown rice and cuts of fresh mushroom and served with fresh vegetables. We couldn't help but try their lentil and mushroom burger (40LE), which was served alongside baked sweet potato wedges and homemade ketchup. The large patty was covered with vegetables in a gluten-free bun. The burger itself was full of flavour and cooked perfectly, with the contrasting sweetness of the potatoes making it a simple, delicious option for a quick bite. Of their small dessert selection, the vegan version of tiramisu (25LE) relies on a crunchy base of nuts and dates, boasting delicious bittersweet flavour and a pleasing range of textures – a fittingly delicious ending to a surprising and spectacular culinary affair. Don't look at the Vegan Kitchen as a gimmick; there are no pretentions here – just brilliantly executed food that is sure to satisfy vegans and carnivores alike.

...

View More
Feature

Cairo Guide: Celebrating Easter 2014 at the City's Top Hotels

Hello Cairo! The Easter/Sham El Nessim weekend is right around the corner, and while everyone would love to get out of the city for a much needed break, most can't, but that doesn't mean you don't deserve a break too! For those who have to stay in the city this weekend, we've put together a small li