Elamana: Cheap, Homemade Egyptian Cuisine in Zamalek
Anne de Groot
There is no shortage of restaurants
serving Egyptian cuisine in Cairo, but not all of them prepare food like an
Egyptian mama would. Despite a profusion of international
restaurants on the island of Zamalek, there are limited options serving authentic Egyptian cuisine.
Elamana is a tiny dining venue located on Sayed Bakry Street, just round the
corner from 26th of July Street. Serving up homemade Egyptian
cuisine, the venue’s space barely fits its kitchen; so its four tables are
arranged along the pavement outside.
Upon arriving at Elaman,a you can
immediately take a peek into the clean open kitchen. The menu is promptly
presented and lists all the classic Egyptian dishes like molokheya, pigeon, shish tawouk,
kofta and chicken as well as a variety of rice and macaroni dishes. The food
arrives within five minutes of placing your order. They give you water with
the meal; but bear in mind that it is tap water. There are no other drinks
available, but upon request they have no qualms in getting you any kind of soft
drinks from the supermarket next door.
The molokheya is tasty with a great
texture and comes very close to the homemade version. You can tell by its taste
that it is made fresh and was not boiled for too long. The chicken is very well-prepared;
it’s neither dry nor over-spiced, and the best part is its crispy skin. You can
order the chicken by the whole, half or quarter. If you only take a quarter,
you can specify which part you want, such as the thigh or breast. The chicken here is so delicious, that you’ll
be left wondering why this restaurant isn’t famous all over Cairo.
can have any macaroni dish served with either béchamel or tomato sauce. Although
our portion of the macaroni dish was generous, it didn’t have enough sauce, which made the dish a little dry. Of course, all meals are served with bread and you can
order a side dish of rice, baked potatoes or French fries. The downside is that
the food at Elamana is served warm but not piping hot. Since you are seated
outside, it tends to cool down quite quickly.
The menu is only available in Arabic, and although the
waiter is happy to try and translate, his English is limited. At the
time of this reviewer’s visit, certain dishes like dolma and sambousak were not
available. The food is very cheap: our meal of molokheya, chicken and macaroni
came to only 28LE.
Elamana is a good stop for a quick and cheap
Egyptian meal. If you prefer more comfortable seating, it is recommended that
you ask for take away or delivery.