Travel Guide

The Best Restaurants and Bars in Cairo

Written by ViewTraveling

Make a note of these restaurants and bars in Cairo so that your tour to Cairo is complete.

Two days back, as I was composing a detailed blog post of the various sightseeing spots in the ancient as well as the modern city of Cairo, a question popped up from my son whom I requested him to proofread the composition. He said ‘it’s alright pa, but what about the places to eat and drink in the Egyptian capital? Tourists not only tour a place to visit the attractions; they are also very much interested in knowing about the local food and drinks and where they can get taste the authentic Egyptian cuisine and locally brewed beer or alcohol.

He was right! A sightseeing tour is not complete without a visit to the popular restaurants and bars. Tourists don’t starve.

Therefore, acceding to his request, I gathered useful information about the best food and drinks joints in the modern Cairo.

Before visiting the restaurants in Cairo, I think you should know about the local cuisine and what are they made of so that you can read the food menu with confidence.

Egyptians’ Cuisine in Cairo

Ful Medames

Cairo ful medames

Shortly known as fūl, this vegetarian dish is mainly made of rice and hence it is the Egyptians’ staple food. It is also popular in several Middle East and African countries that include:

  • Yemen
  • Somalia
  • Iraq
  • Lebanon
  • Sudan
  • Palestine
  • Jordan

and more.

Apart from rice, ful contains mashed fava beans (we call it as broad beans), onion, parsley, chili pepper and several spices, all cooked in oil and garnished with a generous sprinkling of cumin seeds.

The image above seems to contain boiled eggs and it must be a recent innovation or the influence of Western culture. I said ‘recent’ because the Ful Medames is mentioned very ancient Egyptian history when cooking eggs was unknown then.

Kushari

Cairo Koshary

Kushari is again a staple food of the Egypt and the major ingredients are rice and lentils. The modern Kushari contains the modern pasta too. Other ingredients that are unknown to us are:

  • Molokhiya (also known as Jew’s Mallow)
  • Bush Okra ( a kind of shrub)

Garlic is added to almost all the food items.

Shawarma

Cairo Food

Shawarma seems to be an assortment of meat such as beef, chicken, and lamb. They are cooked on an open stove ( fire in a pit) and wrapped up with onion, cucumber, and tomato. It sounds like an Indian tandoori-style cooking-eh?

I reckon the seafood is not eaten much in Egypt.

Other foods of Egypt are:

Gebna Makleyah ( cheese based dish)

Lemon and Garlic Potato Salad

Now, let’s find out what the Cairo has in store for boozers.

Due to several restrictions, alcohol is not sold publicly in stores though some kind drinks are available in hotels and bar outlets.

Sakara’ is a beer sold in Cairo. There is also the Meister brand of beer. However, the ‘Stella’ beer is the prominent beer sold in Cairo.

When it comes to the wines, Cairo has more choices for wine lovers. Looking at the colors of the wine, I guess I would make a trip to Cairo. I am a sucker for colorful liquids.

Cru des Ptolmees

It’s a cold wine and is said to be the favorite of Queen Cleopatra. If so, then, it is going to be my favorite too.

Omar Khayyam

Quite an odd name for a wine. I wonder why a warm wine is named after the famous mathematician and philosopher from the ancient Persia. Is it because he loved women and poetry?

I am pretty sure I would like the Rubis D’ Egypte wine because, when it is poured into a glass, it looks a tempting rose in color.

Bars in Cairo.

I think it is right to know the famous bars in Cairo first and then visit the popular restaurants. After all, we drink and then only eat-right?

Pier 88

What a creative name for a bar. It is an expensive bar cum restaurant located on Saray El Gezirah Street, Cairo. The crowd is mostly made up of high-end society because of English and Arabic music.

Nineteen Twenty Five

Situated in the Nile City Towers, the bar is decorated with too many colored lights that might distract people like who are used to bright lights. The Orange and Vanilla Martini ( a cocktail) is the special drink here.

Sachi Bar, Cleopatra Street.

Looking at the images, this bar in the Cairo city center appears very tastefully decorated and the resulting ambiance would make anyone makes it as their favorite ‘lounge-about’ place in Cairo. Their specialty dish is the Japanese Sushi and Vegetable roll with Avocado.

Authentic Egyptian and Yemeni Restaurants in Cairo

I am of the firm opinion that for eating when you are hungry, you should not go to high-five restaurants. However, for a relaxed and luxurious kind of evening when you only nibble at the food, you should visit upscale restaurants. This rule is applicable in Cairo too.

Here some of the restaurants in Cairo where you get meals that will fill up your rumbling stomach and you leave fully satiated.

DESOKE

Located in Sayed El Bakry Streets, Cairo, it is mentioned as ‘Desouqy’.  As I already mentioned, this is not an upscale outlet with fancy ambiance but a place to eat authentic Egyptian food to fulfill your hunger and not your assumed social status.

The food is cooked as per some ancient recipes and that’s why you get to the real Egyptian food here such as rice and beans in sauce, molokheya, and chicken salads.

AL SHEBANI

Till date, I never knew about Yemeni food. This small restaurant is one more food joint to suppress your hunger pangs and to deplete your bulging wallet. The tables are shielded from each by curtains ensuring some sort of privacy which is otherwise not possible here.

They serve very hot chicken stew here in porcelain dishes. I think it is a Yemeni style. The beans and other vegetable stew called fusuleyya again served too hot is one more Yemen food.

When I looked the images of some more Yemen food such as Matfiaya, Ogda, and Fahsa, the Yemens like a liquid form of food more than the solid form.

Al Shebani is only a minute of walk away from Tahrir street junction.

FARHAT

Probably, this is the only restaurant in Cairo where you can taste the grilled and stuffed Pigeon! That sounds exotic indeed! This restaurant is found on Al Azhar Street, Cairo.

FASAHET SUMAYA, Cairo Food Joint

This is said to be a landmark food joint in Cairo and the food is simply authentic Egyptian and homely too. Sumaya is the owner of the Egyptian food outlet located off Hoda Shaarawi Street alleyway. It is a downtown area of Cairo. It’s a very small restaurant that can take in only 16 people at a time and other diners patiently to taste the immaculate cooking of Sumaya’s Egyptian food. The specialties are Syrian Fatteh ( a flatbread dish) and stuffed potatoes.  Her other specialties include:

  • The Roqaq, a kind of non-vegetarian pastry
  • Mahshi

As you can see, it’s a dish of Zucchini stuffed with vegetables and served on a bed of tomato sauce.

  • Molokheya

For Chinese cuisine in Cairo, you should go to the GHENGHIS KHAN in Maadi Road. It’s not a very impressive looking place but run by real Chinese.

GAYA is only a few feet away from Genghis Khan and this is a Korean food joint. The restaurant is spacious and run by Korean nationals who serve original Korean delicacies such as Kimchi and tofu.

A UYGHUR  restaurant called AL AZHAR CHINESE RESTAURANT in Cairo

The UYGHUR is something to do with Turkish culture. I would also call them as belonging to Turkic ethnic group. They serve big portions of noodles and tofu; soups and meat gravies.

It is situated on Nasser Street, Cairo.

A Sudanese cuisine in ARIJ restaurant addressed in El Nagar Street, off Tahrir Street is almost hidden but the local throng this Sudanese restaurant for some excellent meat dishes.

I read about a very rare combination of food here; it’s the eggplant with peanut sauce. What a novel combination!

After going through the restaurants in Cairo, one could say it is a city of multinational cuisine than multi-cuisine which means all the cuisines from different parts of one country.

Cairo continues to amaze me with its stunning history, mysterious beliefs, and very diverse food culture.

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