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Taboula

Taboula: Excellent Lebanese Cuisine in Garden City

reviewed by
Ester Meerman
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Taboula: Excellent Lebanese Cuisine in Garden City
Tucked away in a quiet side street in Garden City lies one of Cairo’s most coveted restaurants. Fans of Lebanese cuisine living in this city need not look further than Taboula. Having received a favourable review some years ago, we went to see if the restaurant still lives up to its great reputation.

A little overwhelmed by the menu, we opted for a mezza-style meal and ordered hummus (16LE), baba ghanough (16LE), vine leaves (16LE), muhammara (hot pepper dip, 18LE), taboula (20LE), kebbeh (raw beef, 32LE), spinach sambousak (16LE) and chicken liver (25LE).

A complimentary garlic dip was served with a strong yet amicable flavour, along with fresh bread that arrived warm and fluffy.

Both the hummus and the baba ghanough were blended nicely. The latter has a tendency to be served rather chunky, but this version went down nice and smoothly. The vine leaves were firm, with just enough olive oil to give flavour without becoming soggy. The chicken liver dish was so huge it could easily have been a main course; the not so appealing brown clumps of meat were juicy, with the right consistency which wasn’t spongy. The pepper dip could have been a bit spicier, but would suit the weaker taste buds just fine. Expectations for the taboula were high, considering the name of the restaurant, and they were definitely met. The salad was a balanced mix of bulgur, tomatoes, onion, garlic and parsley; without any ingredient overpowering another.

Kebbeh is a hit or miss dish; with the delicate, labour intensive preparation of the raw meat, it’s either good or awful. The chef at Taboula got this one right: the beef was ground perfectly, not too pulpy, but also not to thick, with a hint of cinnamon and a touch of onion. The spinach sambousak however did not appear to be fresh, as stated on the menu, but was tasty all the same.

For dessert, the konafa with cheese (25LE) was simply delicious. Not too syrupy and, more importantly, not insanely sweet. The mahalabeya (12LE) had the right density however it didn’t have the regular garnish of crushed nuts and coconut, leaving it slightly bland.

An evening of Lebanese dining wouldn’t be complete without arak, an anise-flavoured alcoholic spirit. Taboula serves Egyptian made arak at 200LE a bottle, but for the ‘real’ Lebanese deal you will have to fork out a steep 600LE. Don’t worry about having to drink all of it in one sitting – with an alcohol percentage of at least 50% that would be a challenge – at the end of the evening you get to write your name on your bottle, so it will be waiting for you when you return for your next meal.

Taboula also serves shisha for those after dinner puffing needs.

The waiters at Taboula are prompt and very friendly, making jokes and small talk, without being obnoxious. Despite the place being fairly busy, our carafe of arak never reached the bottom without a waiter promptly appearing to fill it back up. And despite being seated in the back, they never missed our calls for service.

With a mix of delicious food, courteous service and a relaxed atmosphere, Taboula might be one of our favourite restaurants to date. Located under ground level, the place is a little difficult to find, but all the locals know it, so do ask around; your search will be royally rewarded.

360 Tip

Taboula is a popular place, so making reservations is wise, especially on the weekend.

Best Bit

The a-ma-zing-ly delicious food.

Worst Bit

It's an expensive affair.

Map Data
Map data ©2016
Map DataMap data ©2016
Map data ©2016

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