El Mazaq El Iraqi: Iraqi Cuisine in Nasr City
El Mazaq El Iraqi stands tall with its huge
sign on the otherwise unremarkable Abdullah El Aarabi Street in Nasr City. The
restaurant is divided into indoor and outdoor seating areas. This reviewer
chose to sit inside away from the hustle and bustle of the busy street.
atmosphere is quiet and relaxed, and we noticed that several of the patrons
were Iraqi nationals. At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the staff seemed
shorthanded, and we waited slightly longer than we expected to get our menus.
Although the decor is simple, we liked the feeling of being in a kitchen;
shelves holding various old and new cooking utensils lined the walls.
The menu features various Iraqi dishes,
salads and several types of kobeba. We immediately received a plate of green
salad that we enjoyed with the various vinegars and oils on the table.
We ordered the tashreeb el lahm (40LE), which
roughly translates to marinated meat. The meal is basically a fatta; rice
topped with white bread marinated in tomato sauce and stewed meat. We found the
meat to be very fatty, and we regretted not going for the grilled meat (48LE).
There was little seasoning to the dish, but the serving was generous and
filling. The same applied to the chicken with aubergine (30LE); it lacked
seasoning, but it did come with a delicious side of okra. We also ordered a
dish of kobeba stuffed with minced meat and burghul wheats, which was crunchy
and delicious, though a little too similar to the Egyptian hawawshi.
Also on offer at the restaurant is a wide
selection of traditional and familiar Arab dishes such as kebab, kofta, grilled
chicken and shish tawouk. The grilled food is sold by the kilo,
and a quarter-kilo (25LE to 40LE) is about enough for one person. There is also an Iraqi
shawerma dish (35LE) that is misleadingly labelled as fajitas.
If you want a quintessential Iraqi dish,
the Iraq’s version of the biryani is a good choice, as are the salads (5LE), which
we enjoyed immensely.
We went to El Mazaq El Iraqi with high
expectations; Iraqi cuisine has a long and illustrious history after all.
Although we were ultimately a little disappointed, the restaurant is worth a
visit for its unique offering of authentic Iraqi food.