The Cairo 360 Editors’ Choice Awards 2017: Oriental Cuisine Award Winners
The Oriental Cuisine category in the Cairo 360 Editors’ Choice Award is possibly the toughest one to judge. How do you make an indigenous cuisine interesting to its indigenous people? How do you convince someone to step out of the comfort of home-cooked food and pay their hard-earned cash on something they will find at any given night at any given household?
Well, somehow the winners in this tricky category have found a way – be it by maintain high quality, creating unique venues or even adding their own spin on the norm – but doing each one, or even all of them, in style.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Al Khal (Authentic Egyptian)
While hotels in Cairo are full of restaurants offering high-end, foreign cuisines, the InterContinental Citystars’ own slice of home, Al Khal, brings a little class and a lot of flavour to Egyptian food. Nothing will ever match mama’s homecooking, but Al Khal comes mighty close, adding a touch of sophistication as it does so.
Battaw (Authentic Egyptian)
After its teaser campaign went viral in the run-up to its opening, Battaw opened its doors with plenty of expectations weighing heavy on its promises. But they were expectations that were more than met, offering an array of classic Egyptian classic in a quirky setting in Korba.
Kazouza (Authentic Egyptian)
Maadi is home to some of Cairo’s most interesting restaurants and cafes – fact. Now, Kazouza may look like a typical modern restaurant or café. But there’s something of the intangible about it – something that keeps people going back. You see, Kazouza’s charm is as much in the atmosphere it has fostered, as it is in its delicious Egyptian bites.
Yokal (Authentic Egyptian)
There’s an argument to be made for the humble sandwich being man’s greatest culinary creation – and it’s something that Egyptian cuisine has reaped the rewards off. Enter Yokal – a hip homage to Egyptian street food that offers some of the tastiest use of Oriental sausage and liver you’ll find in the city.
A surprise winner in this year’s Editors’ Choice Award, Mohandiseen restaurant, Bahareez (also occasionally spelled Bharez on its schizophrenic Facebook page), is nonetheless very deserving. Unlike many of the winners, though, there’s no flash, no glitz – just excellently made, homely Egyptian dishes at excellent prices.
From modest to lavish, Bab El Sharq does something that few manage – to be creative, original and even experimental with Oriental cuisine. We’re not talking about adding beetroot to hummus, or pomegranate molasses to hawawshi – we’re talking about stuffing pigeon with lobster. Yes you read that right. But beyond this holy union of poultry and seafood, The Nile Ritz-Carlton’s flagship restaurant whips up a storm in the kitchen across its menu.
For a long time, El Kebabgy was the go-to for tourists looking to get a quintessential Oriental dining experience in a high-end setting. While the attention of the Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah has turned to some of its other restaurants more recently, El Kebabgy still stands as one of the best Oriental restaurants in Cairo.
Just along the greenery-filled walkway from El Kebabgy is another restaurant that has no equal. While Moroccan cuisine can be found in many menus, it’s still criminally under-represented in Cairo, but La Palmeraie takes the best of what is an uncannily exotic cuisine and places it in something that looks like a modern adaptation of a 1001 Nights scene. The food? You won’t find more refined examples of Moroccan dishes anywhere in the country.
Though Le Pacha 1901 has seen better days, Zamalek’s most famous stationary dining boat, if you will, can still impress on its best days – none more so than Le Tarbouche. It might be overshadowed by some of the boat’s other more popular venues, but this is one restaurant you can’t go wrong with if you’re looking for some hearty Middle Eastern dishes.
There are no shortage of Lebanese restaurants in Cairo – seriously, there’s loads of them – but since jumping headfirst into this most saturated of markets, Tamara Lebanese Bistro has climbed up the ladder and stayed at the top, thanks to its light and fresh approach to the food of the Levant.
Nope, the above is not a typo. Not content with becoming the number one Lebanese restaurant in Cairo, the folks at Mori Co. went a step further with its latest brainchild, Tamara Elna – a more creative and almost experimental take on Lebanese food that has rejuvenated Cairo’s love of its Levantine brethren’s best.
The original modern Lebanese restaurant, Taboula, is still as outstanding as always, despite waves of new competitors. A landmark in its own right in Garden City, there’s something about the dimly-lit hustle and bustle of the restaurant that swallows you up into a haven for Lebanese food. Though there are two other branches in Cairo, they are in fact franchised and not run by the original owners shows – they’re just not the same.
Check out all this year’s Cairo 360 Editor’s Choice Award Winners here and stay tuned for more on the best that Egypt’s capital has to offer!