Best of Cairo local restaurants
Many tourists flock to Cairo to experience a city steeped in history, but as it turns out, they can’t overlook the city’s burgeoning culinary landscape.
Thousands of dining establishments have a home within the city limits, ranging from traditional Egyptian to Italian, French, Indian and Lebanese, fetching cuisines that span the globe. With a plethora of choices, where does a first-time foodie begin?
Here’s a glimpse at some of the best restaurants in Cairo.
Koshary Abou Tarek 26 El-Shaikh Marouf, Marouf, Qasr an Nile
For the freshest koshary on your Egypt tour, head to Abou Tarek in downtown. Feeding hungry locals and tourists since 1950, Abou Tarek has been featured on CNN and is now famous the world over for their preparation of the iconic dish. One of Egypt’s traditional recipes since the 19th century, koshary (or kushari) is a combo of rice, macaroni and lentils, capped with chunky albeit spicy tomato sauce then garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. Top with garlic vinegar or chili sauce for added heat. This restaurant is also light on the wallet, so it’s a must-try when in Cairo!
Maison Thomas 157 26 of July St, Zamalek
Bedecked in brass and mirrors, this popular Zamalek spot has been tossing Cairo’s tastiest thin-crust pizzas since 1912. The pies aren’t Italian or American, but rather, they have that special Egyptian twist, infused with texture and flavor, making each pizza like none you’ve tasted before. The Margherita is a fan favorite, and the funghi, pastrami, and four-cheese pizzas don’t disappoint either. Start off with the Baltic salad – smoked salmon, baked potatoes, boiled eggs, sliced onions, capers, oil and vinegar – and finish your Maison Thomas outing with a sumptuous éclair or chocolate mousse. Yum.
Naguib Mahfouz Restaurant and Café 5 El Baddistan Lane, Khan el-Khalili
It’s no easy task to find a calm corner in Khan El Khalili – supposedly the oldest souk in the Middle East – but brave the crowds and you’ll decompress (and eat well) at this charming Egyptian restaurant dedicated to and named after the great Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. Sit down for a filling several-course meal, or if shopping at the market is your priority, a quick sandwich or snack will do. Expect hummus, lentil soup, hawawshi, and stuffed pigeon, as well as rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and raisin, then sprinkled with nuts. The service is some of the friendliest you’ll find in Cairo, and there’s live music to boot
Indira Indian 12 makrem Ebid Ext,masaken al Mohandesin
Don’t be fooled by the mall location, there’s a reason that Indira is consistently rated the best Indian restaurant in Cairo. Chef Vikram’s culinary creations have garnered praise from near and far. In fact, Indira won Cairo 360’s Editor’s Choice award for two years in a row. Patrons are wild about the butter chicken, lamb curry and shrimp biryani; meanwhile, the tempting (and filling) melt-in-your-mouth cheese nan is superb. Aside from excellence in the kitchen, Indira is recognized for its stellar service. Considering the fantastic food and warm hospitality at Indira, it’s easy to understand how this restaurant is a terrific value and favorite among both locals and tourists.
Zooba 26th of July Corridor,Al Gabalayah Zamalek
For an amped up (and healthful) interpretation of ready-to-eat Egyptian foodstuffs – head to Zooba. Anticipate high-quality ingredients sans preservatives and additives in their epicurean version of street food. You’ll have six different locations to choose from: Zamalek, Maadi, New Cairo, Nasr City, Korba, and one at the American University of Cairo. Select a main dish and then add meat or greens as you so desire. Gluten-free and vegan options are available too. Taamia, shakshouka, mousak, beetroot salad, and spinach baladi are just a few recipes rounding out the diverse menu – a menu aiming to provide fresh, local food and reveal the creative spirit of the Egyptian people at the same time.