The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt


Balbaa: A Meal to Remember in Alexandria

reviewed by
Yousef Hany
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Balbaa: A Meal to Remember in Alexandria

One of the cool things about the Mediterranean city of
Alexandria is its grilled food: whether it’s sea
food or kebab and kofta, Alexandria has some of
the finest restaurants in Egypt!

Right in the heart of the Sidi Bishr neighbourhood is an extremely famous restaurant called Balbaa. Balbaa specialises
in both seafood and grilled food, and it’s one of the very rare restaurants
that excel at both. The restaurant is located on the very narrow Malak Hefny
Street, which makes you wonder how on earth such a popular restaurant could be located on such a tiny, obscure street.

The restaurant is huge, consisting of two floors with
countless tables and could easily fit hundreds of diners; a fact testified by the banner on the entrance that reads Balbaa’s Village for Grilled Food.

is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it is never empty; in fact, you
will find locals and tourists dining here at any hour of the day! The service
is prompt and efficient, conducted in a military-style fashion, and the food
will definitely meet or even exceed your expectations.

If you decide to eat seafood, then you get to choose your
own fish, shrimps and calamari. A seafood meal tends to take longer to prepare
than grilled meat, chicken, pigeon or kebab.

The restaurant starts off by serving a dozen plates of
salads, tehina, baba ghanough, hummus, eggplant and pickles as well. A basket of
amazingly hot and delicious bread accompanies the salads; but be sure to leave
some room for the main courses.

Although seafood is logically the main cuisine to eat
in Alexandria, we
recommend the grilled pigeon and the famous kabab and kofta, which, in this
reviewer’s opinion, are better than the famous Abo Shakra.

prices are quite reasonable compared to other famous restaurants: a kilo of
kabab costs 136LE, a kilo of kofta costs 104LE and a kilo of mixed grill costs
120LE. A kilo of grilled ribs will set you back 136LE, while a grilled
pigeon stuffed with rice costs 26LE, and a whole grilled chicken costs 40LE.
Soups cost a mere 6LE and include tomato, pigeon or the delicious chicken cream soup.

So, a meal of a grilled pigeon with rice, half of a
chicken and 1/4 kilo of pure kabab as well as rice, soup and salads can cost
you less than 100LE; and you probably won’t even be able to finish it!

To sum it up,
if you haven’t been to Balbaa,
then you haven’t tried Alexandrian cuisine at its best.

360 Tip

Avoid going on national holidays and weekends, the restaurant becomes too crowded and the service won’t meet your expectations. And it’s always better to go in the winter; Alexandria is beautiful in the winter.

Best Bit

Grilled pigeon stuffed with rice and grilled ribs never tasted better.

Worst Bit

Balbaa's weakest point is its rather shabby location, where there is no parking space and the narrow street makes it difficult for cars to pass.

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