Abou El Sid: Traditional Egyptian Fetar in Zamalek
1pm - 2am -
The month of Ramadan seems to bring us closer to our roots, helping us to appreciate the traditions and culture of the city around us. Zamalek’s long-established restaurant, Abou El Sid, is about as authentic as it gets, serving up their delicious Egyptian dishes over fetar with an intricate, Oriental backdrop. The decor took us back in time, with ornate chandeliers and shutters contributing to the dim lighting, whilst the stale smell of shisha and chatter from excited diners surrounded us.
Being their oldest, and arguably their most famous, branch, customers are required to book at least two days in advance and must order their food – from the usual menu – before 3PM on the day of attendance. Unfortunately, as the restaurant is so popular, we pulled the short straw with our table; our party of four was squeezed onto one not suitable for more than two or three.
Unusually, the sound of the prayer was not played, leaving us to use our own means to keep track of the time, but before it was time to break our fast, all of our starters and drinks were in place. One large bottle of water (12LE) and several sodas (12LE) were all served chilled.
Our chicken broth with orzo (20LE) was light and flavourful, with a generous amount of soft orzo at the bottom. Our starters included a selection of both soft and crispy bread, bowls of creamy tehina (13LE), bitter-sweet, ripe babaganough (14LE) as well as some delectable vine leaves (24LE) alongside a smooth, fresh yoghurt dip. Pieces of well-cooked and flavoursome kobeba were enjoyed by all, as were the meaty portions of grilled quail. The fried eggs with pastrami were both effortlessly velvety but also slightly salty.
The mains were as satisfying as ever; the rich walnut sharkaseya chicken (55LE) came atop a gigantic mound of moist white rice, while the mixed grill was a hearty selection of quality meats and succulent chicken chunks.
For dessert, our Om Ali was delicious as always, with a fair amount of raisins and nuts setting off the sweet, milky dish. Understandably, the waiters were sometimes difficult to get hold of and although they were attentive with the food, we waited around fifteen minutes for two shishas that never came.
Although they don’t offer anything different for the month of Ramadan, Abou El Sid maintains their reputation for traditional, home cooked Egyptian food, offering a stress-free fetar in a charming, traditional setting.