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Cairo’s 10 Best-Known Koshary Restaurants: How Do They Fare?

Cairo’s 10 Best-Known Koshary Restaurants: How Do They Fare?
    written by
    Rehab Loay
    Like so many of you, Cairo 360 loves a
    plate of good-old Egyptian koshary, and so we’ve visited the ten best-known
    koshary joints in Cairo to see if they really live up to their reputation in the city. Here’s our feedback:

    Koshary Lux

    This famous restaurant’s branch on Kasr El Eini
    Street is in esteemed company. The modest restaurant is located near several
    ministry buildings, as well as the headquarters of local newspapers Rose Al
    Youssef and Al Masry Al Youm. With such
    a potential goldmine of hungry employees, you’d think Koshary Lux would be on
    their game. Unfortunately, they are not. The first thing you’ll notice is the
    ratio of ingredients. Every serving of koshary you get will almost always
    contain unbalanced amounts of rice, pasta and lentils. To make things worse,
    the da’a is tasteless, and the shatta (chilli) is very mild.

    Koshary El Sabah

    Also located on the busy Kasr El Eini Street
    is Koshary El Sabah, which is suitable for koshary eaters who want to eat till
    they can eat no more. At 3.50LE, servings are large here, and could cost 5LE to
    7LE in other Downtown koshary places. Although the restaurant itself feels a
    little run down, the service is quick, efficient and friendly. Your koshary is
    served in no time, and the staff is incredibly attentive. In keeping with the
    somewhat shoddy presentation of the whole place, the da’a may not be to
    everyone’s liking. Although it tastes fine, it’s somewhat coarse and lumpy.

    El Embrator

    El Embrator boasts an impressive four-floor
    space in Sayeda Zeinab. Despite its massive space, the service is very good; but
    the koshary itself leaves much to be desired. It isn’t terrible, but it’s all
    very average and characterless in a sense. This mediocrity stretches to the
    da’a and shatta too, which add little to the koshary. El Embrator still manages
    to pull in a load of customers, but has to compete with nearby Seto, which is
    pretty much of the same quality.

    Koshary Hamadah

    Koshary Hamadah is very conveniently
    located at the beginning of Gamaat El Dowal Street in Mohandiseen. Because of this, it attracts a lot of tourist
    first-timers, who rave about it. For koshary connoisseurs like us, though; Koshary
    Hamadah is certainly far from being the best around. It’s unremarkable in every
    way, but at least they haven’t chosen to take advantage of their tourist clientele
    by charging high prices.

    Koshary Zizo

    Zizo’s koshary is decent and hits the spot,
    although it’s very heavy on the stomach. Some koshary is light and easy to
    digest, but we’ve often walked out of Koshary Zizo feeling like we need to veg
    out on a couch. This is definitely a place for koshary veterans; sensitive
    stomachs should avoid.

    Abou Tarek

    With a huge reputation city-wide, Abou Tarek
    still only has one branch on Downtown’s Champollion Street. This doesn’t stop
    diners coming from far and wide to dig into Abou Tarek’s koshary. It’s not
    perfect, though. Our first issue is the prices. The small size will set you back
    7LE – whereas most Downtown places will sell it for 5LE
    and will never fill you
    up. We can forgive a 2LE difference, but that’s not the only problem. Many have
    commented on the staff’s preferential treatment of some customers, accusing
    them of being more attentive to patrons that they think will give them a larger
    tip. All in all, the dining experience at Abou Tarek doesn’t live up to its
    inflated prices, the koshary is only ok and, as you’ll find out as you read on,
    there is better koshary nearby.

    Tom & Basal

    There are very few neighbourhoods left in
    Cairo without a branch of Tom & Basal these days. Although they serve
    mostly Egyptian food, they’ve taken on the fast-food chain mentality of quick and
    efficient service. The koshary itself doesn’t disappoint. Although we often
    like to romanticise about the authenticity and homemade taste of small local restaurants, you can’t beat the clean and fresh ingredients of a big chain. The care
    and attention that goes into making all the ingredients is tangible as you dig
    into your plate. The only gripe we have is their da’a, which is usually heavy
    on the lemon and short on the vinegar, making it quite sour.

    Koshary El Tahrir

    Koshary El Tahrir is a bit of a strange case.
    Before the January 25th revolution, we held it high as one of the
    best koshary chains around. Now it’s a different case all together. Their
    service and delivery have dwindled since the revolution – not just at any one
    branch, but at all of them. During one particular visit to the branch at Talaat
    Harb, we were told by staff that no small or medium plates were available, and
    we were forced to settle for large ones.

    El Khedeiwy

    We discovered this gem of a restaurant by
    accident in Shobra. Located behind Shobra El Kheima Metro station, the
    restaurant is large, and in our opinion, serves some of the best koshary around; it ticks all of the boxes. Not only that; but they also have a few creative takes
    on koshary, such as an oven-baked koshary dish. We’ll definitely be visiting
    again soon.

    Sayed Hanafy

    Last but not least is Sayed Hanafy, which
    we found to be our top pick of all these koshary restaurants. Although they’re
    famous for having one of the best pasta casseroles in Cairo, we reckon their
    koshary is top-notch. The da’a and shatta are great; the balance of rice, pasta
    and lentils is perfect. You can have a side of salad if you like, and they also
    give you a lemon to squeeze over your koshary, which gives it a nice flavour. Though the Downtown branch is a
    little small, the restaurant has taken over an area across the road and laid
    out tables and chairs.

    There you have it, Cairo! Happy eating!

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