Fas’hat Somaya: Quaint Egyptian Restaurant in Downtown Cairo
Alley between Youssef el Guindy Street and Mohamed Sidy Street
Anne de Groot
those little alleys between buildings that you never bother to enter? At first glance, they’re filled with uninteresting shops or ahwas. Well,
sometimes you should just be brave and walk through those alleys; you never know
what you might find. We did one day and found an adorable little restaurant.
is a teeny tiny restaurant with only three tables in an alleyway
in Downtown’s Bab El Louk between Mohamed Sidy Street and Yusuf El Guindy
Street. Because there are only three tables, you might have to wait outside for
your turn. The interior is simple, quaint and very clean. The walls carry old photographs of the
neighbourhood and the couches are decorated with
cute kheyameya print cushions. A few ‘No SCAF’ stickers are dispersed
throughout the space. What more do you want from a restaurant?
back is the kitchen, where all the magic happens. Though there is a menu, there
is also a daily special and on Thursdays, extra dishes are available such as mombar
(12LE), fatta bil moza (50LE), lahmet ras (25LE) and fatta kawaria (35LE). The
usual crowd are a bunch of young revolutionaries and the occasional solitary
foreigner. Expect to overhear conversations about human rights and the revolution. Since
the venue is so small there is not much privacy; so soon enough you’ll be
chatting with your neighbours. All the food is made by one person only and we
instantly fell in love with her and dubbed her our tante Zizi.
decided to go all out, so we ordered the chicken (12LE), molokheya (10LE), baked
macaroni (12LE), spinach and meat stew (10LE) and a side of rice (5LE). We were
absolutely infatuated with the grilled chicken, which was seasoned with
rosemary and had a delicious crispy skin. The meat was tender and tasteful. The
spinach was also delicious: it was prepared with onions and tomato extract. It
tasted healthy, had good substance and made a
perfect combination with the somewhat sticky rice.
lovers should get excited about Aunt Zizi’s delicious recipe. Even
if you’re not crazy about molokheya or you’ve never tried it, you should
definitely sample it here; the broth is so tasty. We also sampled the macaroni
but weren’t quite crazy about it. The tomato sauce was tasty and spicy but the sauce’s
portion wasn’t equal to that of the macaroni. We also sampled the chicken liver
(25LE) and were very impressed. The livers were lush and had a soft sweet taste
to them. Next time we will definitely order a whole plate.
Somaya is a little jewel of a restaurant offering cheap and delicious and homemade
Egyptian food. The overall atmosphere is amiable and relaxed, making this
restaurant definitely worth a visit.