Cairo Restaurants

Burger Fuel: New Zealand Burger Chain Expands to The District
Published On: 20/04/2015

Nothing sells quite like a juicy burger here in Cairo. Quite frankly, why wouldn't it? It's a tried and tested sandwich that almost everyone craves. Having landed in Cairo from New Zealand just last year, Burger Fuel has made a name for itself on Maadi's Road 9 despite fierce competition just down the road. Recently, they've opened up a second branch at the increasingly popular The District. Sporting the same dark purple colour scheme and immaculately clean interiors, we stepped inside to place our order. We opted for a Third Pounder with Cheese (40LE) and a Burnout (49LE) for our sandwiches and an order of Cheesy Fries (24LE) as well as Moto Bites (29LE) for our sides. After placing our order we chose to enjoy the breezy weather outdoors. A mere fifteen minutes later, a waiter showed up with our tray of food and a couple of Doofers-Burger Fuel's patented foldable cardboard burger holders. The Third Pounder with Cheese featured a 100% pure ground beef patty topped with melted cheddar, butter, Dijon mustard, relish and Burger Fuel's signature aioli. The sandwich also features a lot of pickles, but we opted to have them removed-which they weren't. Aside from the confusion about the pickles, the burger was very tasty, and the toppings created a sweet, zesty and cheesy flavour. The Burnout, featuring a grilled chicken breast topped with beef bacon, fresh avocado, stilton cheese sauce, Dijon mustard, salad, relish and aioli, was quite the hit. We prefer our chicken breasts relatively thin and this was the case here. The chicken itself tasted quite good and was complimented very nicely with the cheese, relish, aioli and mustard. The beef bacon also created a contrasting flavour that we found quite pleasant. We absolutely hate it when a good main course or sandwich is ruined by a subpar side, like boiled potatoes posing as wedges, or sautéed vegetables without so much as a pinch of salt. This is definitely not the case here. The Cheesy Fries, seasoned and topped with melted cheese, were both crunchy, soft on the inside, and complimented by a delicious chilli aioli dip. Take notes burger joints, take notes. Similarly, the Moto Bites-fried balls of pumpkin, carrot, chickpeas and ginger, served with lemon aioli or yogurt relish, were also a smashing success due to being fried well without excess oil and perfectly tasty. We found our experience at Burger Fuel to be very pleasant. The staff is very friendly and the food is delicious. The prices are a little steep with a burger and fries easily setting you back at least 70LE, but otherwise, The District Branch definitely lives up to its Maadi counterpart, if not surpassing it completely.

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Ted's: City Stars Mall's Most Impressive New Restaurant
Published On: 19/04/2015

City Stars Mall's Mosaique dining area has become a hub for high end gourmet restaurants. Only a month ago, TED's opened its doors with a brand new concept that is sure to please all who visit. Besides the extremely diverse menu, there's also a Cheese Room that boasts a huge selection of local and imported cheeses and deli meat. It gets better; they've also got an incredible bakery with all the Parisian delicacies and pastries. The venue is rather spacious with comfy quirky chairs and an overall cozy ambiance. After thoroughly going over the appetizing menu, we opted for the Mac n Cheese Balls (32LE) and The Burger (58LE) as starters. For the mains, we had the Spaghetti (54 LE) from the pasta section. The pizza section was divided into two; Rossa and Blanca. The friendly waiter explained that the Rossa (or red) had the traditional pizzas topped with tomato sauce and cheese from which we ordered the San Siro Pizza (52LE), while the Blanca (or white) contained no tomato sauce but different mixtures of cheese; from which we ordered the Fromaggi (55LE). The waiter then brought in a basket of freshly baked olive infused focaccia bread which was complemented perfectly with a dip of oregano flavored ricotta cheese. The Mac 'n' Cheese balls shortly followed in a small colorful pan as three fried balls of creamy macaroni and cheese topped generously with a thick marinara sauce that just blew us away.  The burger wasn't as plentiful we had hoped, but scrumptious, nonetheless, thanks to the fresh ingredients and the pickle chutney. We specifically requested it to be medium-rare; disappointingly it was overcooked. The accompanying crisp fries were well seasoned with mixed herbs and a discernible crunch, all while remaining not greasy. Our mains flowed in promptly after we were done with the appetizers. The Spaghetti, again, was cleverly served in a small colored pan, and we were hooked after just the first bite, with al dente pasta, perfectly cooked chicken in just the right amount of cream sauce flavored with aromatic basil; all topped with parmesan and pine nuts.   Both pizzas were made of thin Italian dough with a pleasing crunch. The San Siro was topped with an incredible tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, and thin slices of flavorsome smoked turkey. On the other hand, the white Fromaggi Pizza had all sorts of cheese; Mozzarella, pecorino, brie, parmesan, gorgonzola, cream and mascarpone. Needless to say, it truly enticed our taste buds with a beautiful amalgamation of flavor-bursting cheeses; but it was obviously on the heavy side. For dessert, we opted for the Steamed Date Pudding (40LE), which came as a warm chocolate date cake infused with walnuts and topped with a heavenly salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream. The overall experience was delightful, with great service, lively atmosphere, delectable dishes and authentic Italian pizzas. Having all the keys for success, Ted's has proven to be a strong contender in Cairo's dining scene.

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Crave: Original Branch of One of Cairo's Favourite Restaurants Still Standing Strong
Published On: 16/04/2015

It's always interesting re-reviewing Cairo's restaurants; consistency is a game that few eateries around Egypt's capital juggle effectively, but it's something that the Zamalek branch of Crave has seemingly managed to maintain. Founded back in 2004, Crave has become a staple of the local dining scene and has expanded to Maadi, Tivoli Dome, Arkan Mall and City View since its inception. In that time, the casual atmosphere of the restaurant has remained unchanged; there are separate areas for smoking and non-smoking, as well as a comfy couch area, all to the backdrop of a demure and velvety decor and cutlery used as quirky decoration. Having been around for over a decade, Crave can lay claim to having several signature dishes over the years, including the Zombie Burger and the Chocolate Fondant among others, but regulars often forget how extensive the menus really is, covering sandwiches, burgers, pastas, salads and more. Upon our arrival, a friendly waiter gracefully opened the door for us and another led us to our table before placing menus and filling our glasses with water with a pleasantly casual ease. From the appetizers section, we opted for Spinach Mushrooms (37.95LE). For our mains, we opted for Veal Parmesan (84.95LE) and Chicken MCM (64.95LE) and for dessert, an order of Mini Cheese Cake (32.95LE). Our first nibble of the meal came in the form of an appetiser that was every bit as rich and full of flavour as the menu suggested. Arriving around fifteen minutes after placing our order, the Spinach Mushrooms (37.95LE) was quite delightful.  Floating in a creamy spinach sauce, the mushrooms were stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese and served with Crave's special seasoned and buttered bread.  Things only got better with the mains. The Veal Parmesan (84.95LE), covered in tempura and fried to a perfect crisp, was both tasty and generous in portion, though the dish's side of spaghetti with tomato sauce was, unfortunately, far too greasy. Our second main was the Chicken MCM (64.95LE); a fried chicken breast topped with mushrooms, onions and melted mozzarella cheese. While it was well seasoned and cooked, the chicken was cut too think – an unusual gripe, maybe, but it was so think, in fact, that it was unevenly cooked. Despite that, the side of fettuccine Alfredo, was much better, boasting noticeably fresh mushrooms and a sauce that was creamy without being too heavy. Then came many Cairenes' favourite part of a meal – dessert. Opting for the mini cheesecake (32.95LE), we can confirm that they are every bit as small as they appear in the menu – maybe even smaller. The three cheesecakes came with strawberry syrup, caramel and chocolate and each could easily fit in a tablespoon. While it was satisfying in terms of flavour, they were all incredibly sweet, maybe too sweet for some. Despite the niggling flaws during the time of our visit, Crave's strongest characteristic is that it is suitable for either a casual bite or a more formal full-blown meal; the whole experience is laidback, unhurried and unpretentious – all keys to its continuing success.

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Caféx 2015: Egypt's Only Restaurant & Cafe Trade Solution Fair is Back for Second Edition
Published On: 15/04/2015

In a country where food is held in such high regard, it's no surprise that some of Cairo 360's most prolific categories include the restaurant and cafes sections. We say 'no surprise', because it's estimated that one new restaurant or café opens every minute in Cairo. No, we're kidding; that's of course an exaggeration, but it sure does feel true. Cairo 360, of course, approaches dining reviews though the eyes of a discerning and informed diner, but there still exists a profound appreciation to what happens behind that lonely kitchen door. So immersed are we in the scene, that you very quickly come to realize the hard work that business owners and restaurateurs plough through in order to reach their culinary-based dreams – because there's so much more to it than waking up at 3AM with a gastronomic brainwave and undertaking an impromptu food experiment that goes on to be a trademark that wins you a Michelin Star. That's a plotline for a pretentious coming-of-age film about a young chef looking for his or her place in the world – that's not real life. This is where Caféx comes in; as the only specialised fair in Egypt for restaurants and cafes, the second annual edition of the three-day event is set to take place one again at the Cairo International Conference Center, this year between Thursday 16th and Sunday 19th of April and is shaping up to be bigger and better than 2014's inaugural edition. While it's unlikely that the average diner considers such things as equipment, furnishings, supplies and services in the realm of business when it comes to restaurant and cafes, Caféx has proven to be a hit for so many culinary entrepreneurs. While F&B business is in good shape in Egypt, it's a minefield industry that has taken many a victim in recent times. What Caféx provides is a more transparent access to the supply and demand chain, allowing those in the industry – especially those new to it – to deal with all the practicalities of running an F&B business with minimum fuss, so that they can go ahead and play out that coming-of-age film. Last year's events saw up to seventy different exhibitors covering everything from equipment and decor, to food supplies and external services set-up shop and there will be even more this year. But more than just a very specialised shopping trip, Caféx provides a platform for a meeting of minds, where you can engage in a very real way with the people and the services that could make the difference for your food-based ambitions. Operating between 11AM and 8PM each day, entry to what is an event that no established or rising restaurateur should miss is free. For more information, check out the official Caféx Facebook page.

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Cafe Supreme: Mall of Arabia Branch Does Justice to Consistent Restaurant & Cafe Chain
Published On: 14/04/2015

When it comes to the success of emerging restaurant or café chains, consistency is key and, more often than not, it's difficult to come by on Cairo's dining scene – even between different branches of the same chain. When we headed to Café Supreme's 6 of October City branch, located amongst the outdoor restaurants and cafés across the fountain, we had our fingers crossed that it would be just as impressive as its counterpart branches, which we had previously visited. As soon as we were seated in the indoor area, menus, boasting the café's usual line-up of risk-free dishes and beverages, were presented to us.  Going for the Chicken Caesar Salad (40LE), Fungi Pizza (43 LE), Supreme Signature Pasta (49 LE), and the Pesto Chicken Sandwich with a side of Caesar salad (39 LE), along with sodas, we awaited our order patiently. The drinks made their way to our table within a couple of minutes, with slightly dusty-looking cups, which our waiter instantly proceeded to exchange with cleaner ones. The food arrived about fifteen minutes later and we didn't look back from there. The Chicken Caesar Salad came in quite an ample portion with heaps and heaps of lettuce topped with strips of well-cooked and well-seasoned grilled chicken, croutons and shredded cheese drenched in Caesar dressing. It tasted quite fresh, but it was very short on dressing making it a little dry at times. With a thin crust holding a layer of fresh tomato sauce topped with mozzarella cheese, fresh mushrooms and black olives served on a wooden peel, the pizza was quite light and delicious – the fact that the mushrooms were fresh and not canned added a nice touch. The pasta, which came in penne form as requested, boasted a delicious, albeit too-heavy, cream sauce and grilled chicken strips, while the pesto chicken sandwich came in brown baguette, also as requested, with grilled chicken strips topped with tomatoes, lettuce and pesto mayo sauce that a little more of would've been appreciated. All in all, Café Supreme's Mall of Arabia branch does the chain justice in maintaining its consistency. We could speculate all day long what their trick is – but with excellent service and simple but well-executed dishes, why question a good thing, right?

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La Pizza Alforno: Italian Pizzeria Misses the Mark at Citystars
Published On: 14/04/2015

Few cuisines are more saturated on the Cairo dining scene than Italian cuisine – Lebanese is a strong contender, but it's Italian that, more often than not, is quit divisive when it comes to that tricky little thing called authenticity. Some restaurants are able to capture what the cuisine is about, while others fail entirely. Cairo 360 had previously paid a visit to La Pizza Alforno's Sheikh Zayed branch and the reviewer largely enjoyed their time there, but, in our experience, that doesn't even begin to guarantee that its Citystars branch would be as successful – consistency is another field that few restaurants maintain.   Sporting the same redbrick oven, the decor is definitely part of the restaurant's highlights, especially when you consider it a sanctuary of sorts from the hustle and bustle of the mall. The staff were immediately very helpful, and polite, upon entry, showing us to our seats and placing menus on our table with the type of subtle urgency that any growling, hungry diner needs. We opted for a Mussels Trio (55LE) to start off the meal – mussels in a tomato sauce with garlic. While it was on the greasy side, it was so flavourful that we'd have been very happy with more. Looking for some kind of lubricant for the carb-heavy meal ahead, we ordered Lemon and Mint (16LE) and Orange (16LE) juices – both were fresh and flavourful. The menu doesn't offer a lot of variety when it comes to pastas and we opted for the Shrimp Fettuccini (62LE). Though the pasta was cooked well – something that is by no means a certainty across Cairo – and it was all seasoned well, it was everything else that let the dish down. What was meant to be a creamy sauce was actually very runny in consistency, while the shrimp was cooked unevenly. Hoping the pizza could salvage the situation, the Mama Mia Pizza (55LE) disappointed, too. The promised pepperoni was scarce – as was the mozzarella – and although the base was cooked to pleasing balance of crunch-and-chew, the addition of cheddar cheese did the pizza no favours; it dried and hardened to an almost waxy consistency fairly quickly and, if its use is the cause of having such little mozzarella, was just unnecessary. Hoping to end on a high note with Crème Brule (26LE), the dessert disappointed, too. The best part of a Crème Brule, hands down, is the layer of caramelised sugar on top – call us pretentious, but there's something incredibly satisfying about cracking through the brittle layer. Unfortunately, however, there was no such satisfaction; the top had barely been kissed by a flame and the rest was ever so slightly undercooked. It's unfortunate that, at the time of our visit, much of the food disappointed. La Pizza Alforno has all the ingredients to be a top Italian restaurant in Cairo, but lack of attention to detail derailed any hope of that.

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Il Mulino: Typically-Italian Restaurant Expands Menu with More International Flavour in Maadi
Published On: 12/04/2015

A very serious problem that has proven to be the undoing of many a restaurant in Cairo is that of consistency. Many a time, Cairo 360 has been impressed, occasionally even wowed, by an evening of fine dining, only to find that, quite often, the very same restaurant becomes a shadow of its self down the line – and not even that far down the line. Hoping this wouldn't be the case, we dropped by Il Mulino in Maadi – a classic and favourite in the area. We were seated in the cosy outdoor area on the wooden furniture under the patio umbrellas, before a waiter arrived with our menus and a bottle of water. The menu covers a wide range of breakfasts, salads, soups, sandwiches and main courses, as well as bakery items and an assortment of desserts. We opted for an order of Bruschetta (18LE) and Grilled Haloumi (44LE) from the appetisers, and Beef Stroganoff (89LE) and Pollo Al Limone (64LE) for our mains. While we waited, we were served a fresh bread basket with butter and pesto; both of which were delicious and whetted our appetites. The Bruschetta and Haloumi arrived first. The Bruschetta featured tomatoes spiced with garlic, basil and olive oil and possessed a very tasty twang.  The slightly toasted slices of brown bread worked very well with the tomatoes. With diced tomatoes garlic, basil and olive oil, the bruschetta had a fresh and sharp taste, with everything seeming fresh and full of flavour, while the bread that the concoction sat on toasted perfectly. The Grilled Haloumi was similarly successful, featuring three thick cuts of cheese, grilled to release flavour. Combined together, the two appetiszers were delicious. The main courses arrived shortly afterwards, but we were a little disappointed by the Stroganoff, primarily because it didn't resemble stroganoff in consistency. The sauce not being creamy enough and the use of bell peppers and pickled cucumbers made it taste a little too far from the classic Russian dish. With that said, however, the meat itself was well cooked and the sauce, while unauthentic, was still flavourful and seasoned very well, while the side of basmati rice was pleasantly fluffy and well-cooked. The Pollo Al Limone fared much better. Served with sides of thick-cut, well-fried potatoes and grilled and seasoned vegetables, the portions were extremely generous. A total of four grilled chicken breasts drenched in the slightly creamy and savoury lemon sauce made for a tasty and filling meal. Il Mulino sports a very comfortable and laid back atmosphere, complimented by friendly staff and generally very decent food. Il Mulino seems to have strayed a little far from originally serving just authentic Italian food, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

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Cairo Bites 2015: Egypt's Biggest Food Festival is About to Get Even Bigger
Published On: 08/04/2015

"First we eat, then we do everything else." Immortal words spoken by the late food writer, M.F.K Fisher, whose famous quote couldn't sum up Egypt's relationship with food any better – we really do love to eat. It's this seemingly shared and culturally engrained insatiability for food that is one of the key ingredients (ha!) of Egypt's biggest food festival, Cairo Bites. Having launched last year, Cairo Bites is set for a spectacular 2015 return on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th of April and there's plenty in store for Cairenes. The inaugural edition of the festival saw some of the most recognisable names and innovative culinary practitioners descend on Baron Palace for two-days of all things food – eating, cooking, queuing up to eat, talking about eating and more just plain eating. This year's Cairo Bites, however, is set to take place at New Cairo's Family Park which affords the festival a whole lot more space for eating, queuing up to eat – well, you get the point. Speaking to sister-site, Cairo Gossip, Cairo Bites' Sarah Abdallah is incredibly excited at the new venue. "We're certain that moving to a larger space will benefit everyone. We can host more F&B vendors, more visitors and what's better than spending a sunny day in a park surrounded by greenery?" You can't argue with the prospect of a sunny day at the park, but for all of Cairo Bites' whimsy and fun, there's a motivation and aim to champion the increasing innovation in culinary practices in Egypt. "Cairo Bites is about being creative and expressive with food and, luckily for us all, Cairo is also a hub of creativity these days and it's something that has enriched the dining scene and how food is approached in general." Cairo Bites was conceived during a rich period for the food and beverage industry in Egypt and has provided a platform for the increasing number of chefs and restaurateurs to break out and reach the public in a very real and personal way. More than just pleasant day out, Cairo Bites looks at dining as an experience – something Cairo 360's food reviewers understand all too well – and as an art. Scoff if you must at the latter, but this year's guests pay testament to that with the festival's live cooking demos and a cooking competition that is set to be overseen by the chefs from CBC cooking show, Sofra, including the one and only Chef Cherbini. With all of this in mind, however, Cairo Bites are the first to dismiss the notion that this is an occasion for exclusively for foodies. In fact, the term foodie is banded around quite carelessly in these areas, often misunderstood as being attached to fine-dining or an individual's predilections. The essence of being a foodie isn't about being overly discerning; it's about exploring and experimenting, which is something that lies at the heart of Cairo Bites' aim to help widen Cairenes' palate and scope of dining and cooking. Last year's festival saw over 15,000 visitors enjoy the foods of more than 100 exhibitors over the two days and with a new venue and more exhibitors, as well as a special line-up of live entertainment, this year's Cairo Bites is shaping up to be something rather extravagant. All that's left is for you to secure your tickets; call 16826 or visit www.cairobites.com. See you there – make sure you're wearing something comfortable. Maybe something with an elastic waist.

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Leila: Fountain-Side Lebanese Restaurant Falls Short on Service in Cairo Festival City
Published On: 07/04/2015

There is nothing more disappointing than when a positive first impression later being falsified by the reality of a venue. Leila, a Lebanese eatery with plenty of branches in Cairo and one in Alexandria to boast, sure seemed like the perfect choice for a quick bite in the busy shopping complex, but unfortunately did not manage to live up to expectations. Located right by the fountain, in a prime location, Leila offers both outdoor and indoor seating. Whereas the indoor seating area is quite cosy, the outdoor area seemed more tempting, given the unusually refreshing spring breeze. Upon being seated, our menus found their way to our table. Leila's menu offers a comprehensive array of Lebanese delicacies, including the 'Metabbal Debs El Remmen' (27LE), ich comprises of eggplants smothered in pomegranate molasses, an assortment of Kofta dishes (77LE), as well as mixed grill options (99LE-149LE), Lahm Baajine (42LE), an assortment of Lebanese pastries (55 LE), as well as some grilled chicken based dishes and authentic Lebanese desserts. Feeling a bit adventurous, we went for two Lebanese pizzas (55LE each), not exactly knowing what to expect. For some pre-food refreshments, we went for mint green tea as well as Vanilla-Coconut and Peach flavoured shishas (40LE each). The process of ordering, which included us having to go through a few waiters, was hectic. Our table was peculiarly not assigned a single waiter, and so whereas one would be taking our food orders, another would be taking our drink orders. Arriving a good fifteen minutes after ordering, the shishas were initially light yet flavourful, but then no proper coal maintenance made the experience shortlived. The pizzas, which arrived ten minutes after the shishas, were surprising to say the least and looked nowhere near traditional. Presented on ceramic platters atop a metal stand, the pizzas were slightly cold and boasted uncooked pieces of homemade mozzarella cheese, topped with Rocca leaves and tomato slices atop a thin pastry. Whereas the pastry tasted more like that of Manakeesh rather than pizza, the mozzarella cheese was quite delicious, yet the overall taste of the dish as a whole was quite disappointing. The mint green tea seemed to have been completely forgotten, despite us asking for it twice, yet finally made a surprise appearance towards the end of our meal. To wrap up, Leila was a confusing mixture of a great location, with spot on ambiance, but dissapointing service.

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#YouAreWhatYouEat: Chef's Market Launches Instagram Competition
Published On: 05/04/2015

Just over a year ago, the shopping and dining monster that is Citystars welcomed a new, unique eatery. The mall, of course, houses all manner of dining, but this new addition laid down a marker for the Mosaique Dining Zone – an area reserved for a new breed of restaurant. We of course speak of Chef's Market, headed by chef, culinary entrepreneur and self-confessed foodie, Wesam Masoud. The foods of the Mediterranean are synonymous with wholesome, almost familial dishes that are big on flavour and Masoud and co have taken these traits and added flair and sophistication to the equation, producing some truly outstanding, one-of-a-kind dishes. A Cairo 360 review deemed Chef's Market one of the best new restaurants to open in the city and praised it for its unique and complex flavour pairings. This was followed by a well-deserved 2014 Cairo 360 Editor's Choice Award and a flurry of praise from all corners. Chef's Market very quickly became a trendsetter for what can be done with quality ingredients, fresh produce and a little imagination. In short, there's nothing out there like Chef's Market and its food transcends its mall setting. Masoud is very much of the opinion that you are what you eat – a truism that is, more often than not, surprisingly accurate. What has made Chef's Market such a standout restaurant in Cairo's increasingly crowded dining scene, is Masoud's personal touches – his personal vision, if you will. It's this spirit that is the base for a Chef's Market competition that launched this weekend, offering five lucky Cairenes the chance to win a four-course dinner for two. As is so often the case with the best thing in life, it's all very simple. -Take a photo of the Chef's Market dish that best represents your personality. -Post it to Instagram, using #YouAreWhatYouEat. -Tag @chefsmarketcitystars. -Top five entries win. -Deadline for entries is12th of April. For more information, check out the Chef's Market Facebook page.

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Tunis Village: A Perfectly Stress-Free Weekend Getaway in Fayoum

As much as we love Cairo, taking a break from the bustling city life every now and again is a must for the sake of mind, body and soul. The wonderfully serene Tunis Village in Fayoum gives you exactly that – and much more. Still unvisited by many, the majority of Cairenes will prefer to spend thei