Forget the Oscars, forget the Golden Globes. With awards season in full swing, the Cairo 360 Culinary Awards for 2013 is honouring the the city’s most impressive restaurants and their dishes. We don’t have a red carpet but we did try to get Billy Crystal to write this; an endeavor that led Mr Crystal’s legal representatives to issue us with a very firm cease and desist email.
But not even Hollywood can put a dampener on the most important event of January. Well on the internet at least. Ok, on the internet in Egypt.
Capturing our hearts in the fall of 2012, this little shop on a side street just off of Ismail Mohamed in Zamalek proved to be the answer to our Friday morning prayers – the hungry kind. With a menu full of tasty options such as the Cajun omelette and blueberry pancakes, their speciality is in fact bubble tea. Fresh, delicious and well priced, we just love starting our day with Bubblicious.
With so many burger joints opening in the last few months, this decision was a little tricky. However, cutting down to basics and judging solely on the quality and flavour of the burgers themselves, Burger Factory takes an easy win. Using 100% Angus beef, the patties are juicy and satisfying – the onion rings on top of their Cowboy burger are quite the treat too.
So we gave Pizza Mia a little bit of a hard time for their new makeover, but while we stand by some of our reservations, we also still stand by the fact that this is indeed the best place to get pizza in town. Thin crusted, fresh ingredients and light on the oil and grease, Pizza Mia is the closest you’ll get to the taste of proper pizza.
Best French Cuisine: Salt
Located in the Gabriel Hotel beside Sun City Mall, Salt blew our socks off with their elegant and refined cuisine. Headed by Chef Bruno Contreras, the diligently prepared menu is simple and straightforward, delivering the flavours of France with commendable expertise and presentation.
Best Italian Cuisine: Bella
While Italian restaurants around Cairo pop up and fade away, Bella has proved to be the most dependable in terms of both quality and atmosphere. Though prices are a little hiked up, the menu is filled with Italian classics such as Carpaccio and mushroom risotto that are served in a sophisticated setting. Enjoy an espresso after your meal – it’s one of the best in town.
This one was a hard one. A hard-fought race between Zooba and Cairo Kitchen, we ultimately settled on the latter on account of their menu offering full fledged meals with more variety. In short, Cairo Kitchen offers delicious and hearty staple Egyptian dishes. Switching their menu up throughout the week, you can enjoy a different meal with each day. Their karkadeh is also exceptionally good.
With two restaurants, one in JW Marriot and one in Marriot Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino, this is by far the best steak available in Cairo. Yes, the prices are pretty steep, but the tenderness and quality of the beef, served with a variety of delectable side dishes, will make this meal worth every piaster spent.
Holding onto its high star rating for a couple of years now, Flying Fish in Agouza serves up some delicious seafood dishes, albeit in outdated surroundings. Noticeably clean though, their Flying Fish soup gets a big thumbs up, as does the Flying Fish Bram – which is essentially a stew. With seafood at great prices, their service is also noticeably pleasant.
Located on Le Pacha boat in Zamalek, L’Asiatique is our winner of Best Asian Fusion award because the menu is nicely diverse, with quality and creative dishes, and the atmosphere is relaxed and enjoyable making it perfect for group dinners. While there are many Asian fusion restaurants around town, the most consistently satisfying so far has been this one.
There are a lot of desserts around Cairo, sure, but we find that if a place has one good one to offer, the rest rarely follow suit. Again, because of the variety and the consistency over the years, we decided to give this award to Le Pacha. Their Mont Blanc, date tart and chocolate fondant are just some of the delicious options – all desserts are served across all of the boat’s restaurants.
Ladies and gentleman, let’s have a round of applause for the winners! For restaurant reviews on Cairo 360, click here