Cairo Restaurants

Grand Cafe: Comfy Outdoor Dining in New Cairo
Published On: 16/09/2014

Some outings are just about chilling out, kicking back and enjoying a meal. After a long stressful day all we wanted was a no-effort required dinner and that's how we wound up at Grand Cafe. Located on the ground floor of the relatively new food complex Americana Plaza, Grand Café offers spacious outdoor seating and comparatively limited indoor seating. We opted for the outdoors as it boasted comfortable couches and had an overall better feel to it. Our waiter immediately laid out our menus, misleading us into believing the place had decent service. Upon inspection, we concluded the menu offered Lebanese-inspired dishes along with a few international dishes that you could find at any other restaurant.  Mezzas like Tehina and Baba Ghanoug, alongside Greek and Caesar Salads, and pretty standard soups. The Mini Shawerma and Hawashi platters caught our eyes. The restaurant plays it safe with its main courses, offering ordinary pizzas, sandwiches, Manakeesh, pastas, and the usual grilled meat platters; nothing particularly imaginative or creative. Our waiter was nowhere in sight when we were ready, so we had to wait for a few minutes until we spotted him to place our order. We opted for the Shish Tawook platter with a side of sautéed veggies and Basmati rice (41.99LE) and the Boneless Grilled Chicken platter with a side of French Fries and also Basmati Rice (44.99LE) and awaited them patiently. The food took quite some time to arrive and was disappointingly cold by the time it got to our table. Nevertheless, we dug in. The Shish Tawook and the Grilled Chicken were marinated, but not enough for any flavour to stand out. The same can be said for the rice, fries and vegetables; nothing had any distinct flavour. Wanting to salvage the boring dinner, we ordered the most intriguing item we found in the dessert menu; the Chocolate Chip Pie (27LE). We certainly did expect a lot from it, and all we can say is, it sure did make up for everything else. The pie resembled a thick, chewy chocolate chip cookie, had a big scoop of Vanilla ice cream on top of it and had chocolate sauce drizzled all over it; how could it be anything but delicious? In a nutshell, the slow service and cold, somewhat flavourless food were made up for, to some extent, by the comfortable seating and the Chocolate Chip Pie; the highlight of the whole experience, really.


Tutti Matti: Another Italian Restaurant, Another Disappointment in Maadi
Published On: 16/09/2014

Having been mpressed by the décor, but not so much the food, during our first visit to to Tutti Matti, we decided to see if the restaurant had stepped up its game. Situated on the busy Road 9 in Maadi, the location could be a pro or a con depending on your preference. If you're a fan of the younger café-going, shisha-smoking crowd, this is the place for you, but if you prefer a quieter venue, with less hassle in parking, you may find coming here a bit of an inconvenience. When a venue explicitly labels itself as Italian restaurant, it's probably cause for concern; Italian cuisine is the single most badly executed in Egypt. Our previous review tried the pizza and a sandwich, so we thought we would go for some main courses to really judge their potential. We sat in the relatively small indoor area, as the outddor area is rather loud. As mentioned earlier, the decor is very aesthetically pleasing with white-washed brick walls and wood panel floors. The waiter handed us our menus and we were left to decide. Everything on the menu is written in Italian. This is another bad sign.  After some browsing, we opted for Bruschetta (22LE) from the appetisers, Pollo Ricotta e Spinaci (64LE) and Pan di Salmone Scottati (119LE) from the main courses. Served first, the Bruschetta didn't particularly stand out. The olive oil caused the pretty average bread to become soggy, and the diced tomato toppings didn't really add anything to the mix. The Pollo Ricotta e Spinaci consists of two chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese, and is served with a side of spaghetti with a pink sauce. First, the stuffing was quite scarce. The chicken itself was unevenly cooked leaving some of it hard and chewy and the rest slightly raw. The spaghetti with pink sauce was simply regular red tomato sauce that was very greasy, and not particularly tasty. The Salmon, served with vegetable tagliatelle and crushed potatoes with herbs, was a little on the dry side. What should be thin, coloured tape-like pasta was instead shredded carrots and zucchini. The green coloured mashed potatoes, while looking strange, didn't quite taste like anything. Thinking there would be pasta with the salmon dish, the main course left us hungry so we made the mistake of ordering dessert - Tiramisu (39LE) to be exact. Far from ladyfingers or mascarpone cheese, the tiramisu was basically cake, whipped cream and an almost inedible coffee syrup; absolutely terrible. No particular part of our meal was good. As feared, the strongly forced Italian identity and subpar execution of even the simplest Italian dishes isn't inviting to another visit. As our last review stated, this is just another cafe. Calling it a restaurant is a bit of a stretch.


Little Swiss: Different Location, Same Excellent Food at Swiss Restaurant in Maadi
Published On: 15/09/2014

There's a certain charm to this restaurant that it carried through from its old venue in Degla. Little Swiss and the charming owner Charlotte have been the centre of Swiss Cuisine in Egypt. Having not seen the new venue that they moved to about a year ago, we decided to pass by for cheesy goodness. Located on Road 18 just past Spectra and Roastery, Little Swiss has taken up a decently sized apartment on the first floor of a residential building. You walk into a courtyard and up a flight of stairs into a very cozy, wooden-cabin-in-the-mountains type of interior, with the charming black and white cow print being the centerpiece of the décor. While the red candles provide dim romantic lighting, the music is unfortunately protruding and works against everything else that sets the mood. As always, Charlotte will stop by your table to greet you and check if you're familiar with Swiss cuisine. We already knew what we wanted, so the friendly waiter, dressed in red to match everything else, took our order. From the appetizers, we opted for Fillet Pfannli (35LE), a small plate with bite sized chunks of fillet baked in the oven. With a strong salty flavour, and very tender consistency, the Pfannli was both delicious and inviting of more yummy food. Next was the Mushroom Cheese Fondue (145LE), which your waiter will ask you if you want with or without white wine. Traditionally, fondue is made with wine and gives it a bit of a kick in terms of flavour, but it's still delicious should you choose to opt out. Little Swiss has always been secretive about what exactly goes into the fondue, our taste buds might be wrong, but we could taste Emmental and Gruyère. Served with a bowl of bread bits that you hook onto the end of a long fork and dip, there's little in life a pot of melted cheese can't fix. Should you have one such issue, the next entrees will clear them right up. The Beef Fillet Table Grill (130LE) consists of raw slices of beef fillet which you can place on a hotplate that's plugged into a nearby outlet. The meat is served with homemade sauces and some herbs you can marinate it with. While this ordeal can seem a little inconvenient, cooking the meat takes very little time and leaves with you with hot, tender and delicious pieces of meat. Still not full? That calls for some Chocolate Fondue (75LE). Available in dark or milk chocolate, the Toblerone bars are melted in a small pot and served with marshmallows, cake, apples, grapes, pineapples and bananas for your dipping pleasure. While the food is certainly delicious at Little Swiss, everything is a little on the expensive side, which makes it a very difficult for this otherwise great restaurant to become a regular dining spot. Otherwise, it's a great place to take a date or to spoil yourself every now and then.


Chili's: Old Favourite in New Cairo
Published On: 13/09/2014

Sometimes, you just need a quick food fix. No one wants to play Russian roulette with their empty stomach, so we headed to an old trusted favourite, the popular Tex-Mex chain, Chili's. Located in the quite hushed Meeting Point Mall, Chili's offers both indoor and outdoor seating. As our waiter graciously welcomed us and asked for our seating preference, we requested indoor non-smoking seating and were immediately led to our table. The place was, fortunately, not that crowded and unusually quiet, but thrn it was a weekday afternoon. For appetisers, we opted for the Classic Nachos (49.99LE) and the Chicken Crispers (59.99LE) and the Margarita Grilled Chicken (59.99LE) for mains. As for beverages, we decided to be a bit adventurous and try the vanilla flavoured Pepsi (24.99LE). We were particularly hungry, so we also opted for the Molten Chocolate Cake (41.99LE). Our drinks arrived just a few minutes after we ordered them and were everything we hoped they would be; refreshing, flavourful and not too overpoweringly sweet. Our big platter of cheese covered nachos arrived shortly after our drinks and we immediately dove into its deliciousness; who can say no to cheese-covered crispy delights? The main courses arrived about fifteen minutes afterwards. The Margarita Grilled Chicken was perfection, with smooth, juicy grilled chicken breast covered with seasoned, grated tomatoes and two sides consisting of mashed potatoes with gravy and corn on the cob. The Chicken Crispers, however, were quite a let-down; they were too greasy for our taste. The fries and honey mustard that accompany it, however, were quite tasty. Already feeling full and regretting ordering dessert, we weren't really yearning for the Molten Chocolate Cake. As soon as we laid eyes on it and took the first bite, however, our opinions were definitely reversed. The brownie-like cake was warm and gooey and the scoop of vanilla ice cream that topped it was covered in a thin chocolate shell. Chili's, as usual, satisfied our rumbling bellies and left us with no recollection of any feelings of hunger. The service was on point, the place was spotless and the food and drinks were to die for with the slight exception of the oily Chicken Crispers.


Le Grand Royal: Outdoor Dining at Porto Cairo
Published On: 10/09/2014

Located in the recently opened Porto Cairo, Le Grand Royal offers two types of outdoor seating; right in front of the restaurant's facade and across from it overlooking the dancing fountain. Being ones who appreciate a nice view, we chose to sit right next to the fountain and were led to our table straight away. Wanting to grab a satisfying meal after a long day at work, menus were nowhere in sight - even a few minutes after we had been seated we still had to call for them. When the waiter arrived, he laid out two types of menus on the table; the food menu and the drinks and desserts menu. Upon inspection of said food menu, it was clear that Le Grand Royal had a lot to offer in terms of food options. Appetisers, with the Shrimp Konafa being the only item that stood out to us, steak and chicken sandwiches, pizza, burgers and all kinds of beef, chicken and seafood dishes. The drinks offered were also extensive, with ice-cream based cocktails, fresh juices, smoothies and coffee. The desserts are exclusively western and consisted of gateaux, cheesecake, crepe and ice cream. We opted for the Chicken Royale Pasta (42.50LE) and the Chicken Florentine (68.50LE). As for our drinks, we picked the Lemon-Mint juice (22LE). The food didn't take  long to arrive and was graciously laid out on our table within a few minutes and we began to dig into our dishes.  This, of course, was the moment the dancing fountain show started and we were sprayed with water - so, don't sit next to the fountain. With very neat presentation, the food certainly looked appetising. The flavour, however, was lacking. Drenched in a creamy mushroom and pesto sauce, the pasta was heavy beyond words. The Chicken Florentine, meanwhile, which is basically fried chicken with a side of pasta all drenched with the same heavy creamy sauce, was even heavier. Given the fact that the chicken was already deep fried, soaking it in such a heavy sauce is just a big no-no. Our Lemon Mint juice, however, was quite the opposite; light and refreshing. All in all, our experience at Le Grand Royal was neither terrible nor amazing; it was, to say the most, average. The overall service was quite efficient, but we couldn't finish our plates, despite the state of hunger we were in, due to how dense they were.


The Garden: Breakfast or Lunch in Maadi's Great Outdooors
Published On: 09/09/2014

There are restaurants in Cairo that simply go beyond the food. One such case is the Garden in Maadi. A serene combination of greenery and the sunny outdoors, with delicious food and juices suitable for breakfast or lunch, provides a much needed break from an otherwise very stressful city. Sharing its premises with its sister venue, Crust, on Mostafa Kamel Street, the Garden offers a number of milkshakes, smoothies and seasonal juices and cocktails, in addition to breakfast omelettes, fresh sandwiches, breakfast desserts and snacks. The garden area in the back is spacious with comfortable table and chair sets, wooden benches and a kids' play area; perfect for families, couples, and anyone who favours a quiet, sunny breakfast. Intrigued by the not-so-heavy menu, we opted for a Go Mango (19LE); a mixture of mangos, vanilla, banana and orange. While cold, refreshing and sweet, the mangos easily overpowered the orange, so maybe a little ratio adjustment could've been in order. Next, surprised by the availability of burgers, we opted for the Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Burger (44LE) and, from the sandwiches section, a Goat Cheese Tartine (26LE). Probably not the best judge of the restaurant, the burger, served with disappointingly soggy Fench fries, tasted average as a patty but decent as a sandwich. The seasoned mushrooms and caramelized onions were plentiful, which made up for the patty to an extent. The Goat Cheese Tartine, however, was an entirely different story. Foodies pay attention. Consisting of two good quality slices of brown toast, topped with goat cheese, caramelized onions, candied walnuts and arugula, and garnished with lettuce and slices of cucumber, the sheer mixture of flavours and textures is delicious, as you go between the zestiness of arugula, the slight tang of goat cheese and the sweet crunchiness of walnuts. While the sandwich is not particularly big, it packs quite the punch of flavour. It would seem the Garden is a restaurant of delicacies. Don't bother with burgers; go for the good stuff – the Spanish Omelette, the Aebleskiver, or the Tartines. You won't be sorry. Combining great atmosphere with food meant for foodies is an awesome formula, and one that brings customers back to enjoy it. If you haven't already, stop by the Garden this weekend!


Fusion: Enduring Nile-Side Asian Restaurant in Maadi
Published On: 07/09/2014

Food is a fickle business. Only a handful of restaurants in Cairo have withstood turbulent years and fluctuating markets. While many others simply couldn't sustain the business, others have pulled through because they offer a special something. Fusion is one such restaurant that has been on the Maadi Cornichefor years. Sharing a patio right on the Nile bank with T.G.I Fridays, at the right time, the view and weather are spectacular. To be honest, Fusion doesn't exactly have the best reputation for its food. It's been four years since our last review, so a re-evaluation was in order. We stopped by as sunset was approaching and the scenery was beautiful indeed, but in early September, it may be too hot for some. We dove into the menus, quickly deciding on Golden Prawn Bag (32LE) and Teriyaki Beef (44LE) appetisers, as well as Beef in Oyster Sauce (64LE) and Mongolian Chicken (53LE) accompanied by Glass Noodles (27LE) and Vegetable Fried Rice (15LE). The service was faster than we remember it being a few years ago. Served first were the Golden Prawn Bags – a Thai variation on spring rolls – alongsidethe Teriyaki Beef.  The crunchiness in the golden bags was inconsistent; the upper side was crisp but the bottom had a bit of moisture that caused sogginess. The Teriyaki Beef –tiny pieces of beef in a bland soy sauce that didn't quite taste like Teriyaki – was also disappointing. Not a good start. Maybe the main courses could change our minds. The Mongolian Chicken – stir fried cuts of chicken breast in a sauce of soy, ginger and garlic, along with spring onions and other veggies – was probably the best out of all the dishes served. The chicken was plentiful, but, once again, as a whole, it tasted rather bland – case in point being that pouring the sauce over the glass noodles added nothing to them. The Beef in Oyster Sauce was even less successful; you could hardly taste marinade on the beef and the sauce was absolutely no good. It didn't work with the fried rice or the noodles. It barely worked with the beef. The Fried Rice was very dry and neither main course could salvage it. The Glass Noodles were slightly better, but not by much, still needing some flavour from the main course. The overall theme for our latest visit to Fusion was tasteless food, which is remarkable when practically all Asian cuisines involve a lot of spices and sauces that are very powerfully flavoured. We can't really say our experience was a pleasant one. With a bill racking up to 270LE and not a single dish that can be considered a success, the excellent Nile-side view isn't quite excellent enough to make up for the restaurant's poor quality of food.


Fish & FIsher: Abou Shakra's Delivery-Only Seafood Kitchen
Published On: 02/09/2014

When in the mood for seafood, it's a common assumption that Cairo restaurants will never be able to compete with the good stuff that Egypt's coastal city's have to offer. While that is partially true, there are some very decent options right here in the city. Of these is Abou Shakra's delivery service, Fish & Fisher. We stumbled on their menu while looking for something new we could eat in Maadi. Upon calling, we learnt that this kitchen is only operational in the Maadi branch of Abou Shakra. We had never heard of it before, or of Abou Shakra making seafood, so we thought we would give it a go. It's not news to anyone that Abou Shakra has deteriorated. Everyone seems to remember it from the 1980's as a high-end restaurant where the rich and famous dined.  Whatever the reasons may be, this seafood service may be a chance for it to redeem itself. So the menu consists of the kinds of fish on offer, plus several methods of prepration and cooking. It also includes set meals that include rice and salads, as well as special seafood dishes that are a little more elaborate. We wanted to get an all-around sense of the food, so we opted for a Fisher's Net (121LE) which consists of grilled crab, shrimp and sea bream fish. We also ordered a quarter kilo of Mussels (45LE) and an order of Sayadeya Rice (15LE). The food took just over an hour to deliver, which is the average time for seafood delivery. The food is neatly sealed and packaged to avoid a serious mess. We dug into the Mussels first; cooked in a broth with garlic, celery, lemons and tomatoes, the Mussels were zesty, juicy and delicious. The soup also went very nicely with the Sayadeya Rice, which itself was moist and cooked perfectly. The Fisher's Net is where some disappointment lies. The food is relatively tasty, but there's very little of it - there's one grilled crab. It's smaller than the palm of your hand and contains about a single mouthful of meat. There were also three medium sized shrimps, cooked in a soup and garnished with garlic, lemons, tomatoes and celery - these were quite delicious. The Sea Bram - Samak Denis - was about 200g, and could've been better stuffed with marinade. The only way two people can pay 200LE and get full from this meal is if they weren't very hungry to begin with. Otherwise, it's a hearty meal for one. While some of the expensiveness can be attributed to higher prices on seafood in non-coastal cities, still, we fear Fish & Fisher might suffer the same problems Abou Shakra has been in recent years; far too expensive for just above average quality.


Paul: Authentic French Boulangerie in New Cairo's Downtown Katameya Mall
Published On: 31/08/2014

In a city like Cairo, diminishing daily meals to a fast bite here and there can often be the case – and the Cairo dining scene is largely set-up for exactly that. But from time to time, we all like elevate eating to a much more refined experience. French boulangerie, Paul, has found a welcome home in Cairo over the last few years and the branch in Downtown Katameya Mall in New Cairo is just one of many. During our visit, it was fairly crowded when we entered, and no one greeted or seated us. The outside seating area, overlooking the fountain, was filled with hungry customers and so we reluctantly walked in and chose one of the few empty tables available indoors in Paul's signature blend of French artisan cafe decor and furnishings. A waitress immediately came by our table and placed the tableware as well as the menu. The beautifully designed menu was absolutely alluring; we wanted to devour every single item on there. From hearty soups to light salads and sandwiches to full-on main courses and sinful pastries, the place has it all.   Wanting to stick to our plan of having a light brunch, we settled for a Pesto Chicken Sandwich (59LE), requesting a brown instead of white baguette, Pain Au Chocolat et Pistaches (17LE), and a Chocolate Crepe (35 E). For drinks, we opted for some fresh Orange Juice (20LE) A couple of seconds after our waitress took our order, we were brought a complimentary basket of freshly baked bread with butter and olive paste. The bread was amazing and the olive paste definitely awakened our taste buds. The service was astonishingly swift and the food was gracefully laid on our table within minutes of ordering it. The sandwich was absolutely lip-smacking satisfying, although slightly lacking in Pesto sauce. The crepe was fluffy, light, drizzled in delicious chocolate and topped with a scoop of sweet Vanilla ice cream. The Pain au Chocolat et Pistaches tasted freshly-baked, and was surprisingly light despite being filled with chocolate and topped with powdered sugar and pistachios. Finally, the orange juice was fresh, but unfortunately a bit too warm for our liking; some ice was definitely called for. While the service was quick and pretty impressive, it was slightly over the top. At times it felt like we were being rushed with our tableware being lifted the second we put our forks down. All in all, Paul offered us a lovely, authentically French dining experience. The service, despite being a bit too pushy, was quick and efficient and the food's quality, taste and look were unbelievably close to perfection. À bientôt, Paul; we're coming back soon.


Dishes: Comfortable Outdoor Dining in Maadi
Published On: 29/08/2014

Recently, we've been going checking in on some of the longer running Cairo restaurants to see how 'things' have been going. Our most recent endeavour took us to Dishes in Maadi. The relatively small venue in Degla, set up in the side area of a large building, boasts a typical comfortable outdoor area plus shisha and big screens combo, targeting mostly a younger demographic, particularly football fans. The semi-circle couches with the bright orange cushions, combined with the dark wood of the tables and grey plastic chairs reflect all the colours Dishes use in their long and creates a nice colour scheme throughout the venue. They have an all-around menu that has options for breakfast through to dinner, including soups and salads and a large number of cold and warm drinks. Nothing exceptionally creative, however, just a lot of options. We walked in and found some seats, a few moments later a waiter greeted us at the table and gave us menus. After some browsing we opted for a Magic Chicken Milanes (51LE) and a Chicken Tandoori (46LE). Main courses come with either a side of pasta with red or white sauce, or two sides of the regular sides like sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes. The food was relatively late which we found a little disappointing considering the restaurant was empty. The Chicken Tandoori was quite tasty, with large chunks of tender chicken floating in a creamy, slightly spicy, curry. We had ordered a side of rice and sautéed vegetables. Both were very disappointing. The rice was overcooked and tasted cheap, while the sautéed vegetables were bland and slightly crunchy. The Chicken Milanes was similarly disappointing. The chicken tasted stale and the seasoning was off, while the side of spaghetti with red sauce tasted virtually no different to pasta made at home with packaged sauce and not fresh tomatoes. The all-around experience wasn't very good. While the outdoor setting is decent, the slow service combined with very average food fails to impress. Perhaps a good spot of a cold drink with a shisha, but you should probably skip the food.


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Cairo Weekend Guide: WANAS Folk Music Festival, Indonesian Culture Week and More!

Hello Cairo! This weekend we have a serious variety of events for you to feast on; everything from exhibitions and cultural events to eating contests and techno parties. On Thursday, The Riff Band, led by Ahmed Harfoush and Noha Fekry, kick off the weekend at Cairo Jazz Club, while the Four Seasons