The Cairo 360 Editors’ Choice Awards 2016: Asian Cuisine Award Winners
As one of the most colourful and diverse cuisines to run riot on the Cairo restaurant scene, Asian cuisine has always enjoyed popularity in both its authentic and more, what some call, ‘Americanised’ forms. Although food-purists will dismiss the latter as a lesser version, it’s become a beast of its own and it only adds the overall diversity – think of it as a fusion cuisine. This diversity is well represented in Cairo; with everything from sushi specialists, and a high-end Cantonese restaurant, to Chinese take-out joints and basic, no-frills Thai eateries, there’s certainly plenty of variation. But in the winners of the Asian cuisine category, we’ve selected the best of a tough lot.
A truly unique restaurant, Four Seasons Nile Plaza’s Cantonese eatery, 8, frames its cuisine in the most lavish of ways and against the most spectacular of settings. Though you’ll find slight variations of more familiar Chinese dishes in Cantonese cuisine, there are several outstanding, one-of-a-kind dishes – and the view is spectacular, too.
When it comes to quality and refinement, the many Nile-side boats in Zamalek, Giza, Manial and Maadi isn’t the first place you’ll find them. Asia Bar, however, brings the elegant and the casual, the eater and the drinker, for one all-inclusive experience and a versatile, well-ezecuted menu that makes it as a good a hang-out spot as a dining one.
Located at Garden City’s InterContinental Semiramis Hotel, Birdcage has long been thought of as the benchmark of true Thai cuisine – and with good reason. The luxury and sophistication of a hotel restaurant are there, but what makes Birdcage one of the best in town is the quality of its service, its unique atmosphere and, of course, the outstanding food.
Whether you love it or hate it, the sushi trend in Egypt doesn’t look like it’s going to die anytime soon, as the Japanese delicacy continues to appear on menus across Cairo. One of the most popular sushi spots in town, however, is Fuego – as anyone who’s ever queued up for a table at the Zamalek branch will know all too well.
A favourite aboard the Le Pacha 1901 boat in Zamalek, L’Asiatique has a timeless spirit to it that has seen it stand the test of time despite the increase in competition. Serving dishes from all across Asia, there’s been a marked improvement in the last year when it comes to quality and service, making it a popular destination from group outings.
Sitting pretty at the tip of Zamalek in between sister venues, Sequoia and Left Bank, Mirai boasts a unique location that it fully takes advantage of and a diverse selection of sophisticatedly conceived dishes – including some very good sushi – and an atmosphere that somehow closes you off from the busier venues either side of it.
As one of the biggest names on the local restaurant scene, there can be little doubt about Mori Sushi’s position as the premiere sushi restaurant in Egypt. Boasting several branches all across the country – and its recent first outside of it – Mori is the leader of the pack when it comes to the widely-loved Japanese food.
Possibly the most modest of the Asian Cuisine Award winners, judge Sabai Sabai not on its location or its largely dull, no-frills appearance – but on its excellent, reasonably-priced food and warm, inviting atmosphere. Owned by and Egyptian-Thai married couple, big flavours and big portions across a huge menu define the Zamalek restaurant.
Though the lounge element and the week-long live entertainment at Fairmont Nile City’s best restaurant are what bring in the crowds on a daily basis, people come back to Saigon Restaurant & Lounge for its outstanding Asian-fusion menu – one that is creative, ambitious and executed in style, with a flair that you don’t often find in Cairo.
InterContinental Cairo Citystar’s Japanese restaurant, Shogun, isn’t exactly one of the most famed in the city, but it goes about quietly with its business – that business being producing Japanese cuisine worthy of any discerning foodie. In addition to its entertaining Teppanyaki station and a solid selection of sushi, the restaurant’s mains and starters are just as impressive.
There have been previous attempts at igniting the Chinese-takeaway-in-a-box culture in Cairo, but no one has quite managed to get it right like Wok and Walk. Having found initial popularity in Maadi, the restaurant has gone on to open up another branch in Heliopolis, where it has become one of the most visited venues of the busy Merghany Street. The key to its success? Hearty portions, big flavours, lots of options and that satisfying feeling that only a box of noodles can give you.
For more in the 2016 Cairo 360 Editors’ Choice Awards, click here.