Cairo boasts an often underrated culinary scene, featuring bold, fresh flavors straight from the fertile Nile Corniche. Take a look at our list of the best restaurants in Cairo that will help you on your culinary journey through the city where ancient meets modern.
Renowned in the underground Cairo food scene, this one-woman kitchen is a hit with locals for its scrumptious, homemade food. With no menu and only three tables, owner and chef Somaya serves up traditional fare with a personal twist. Open for only two hours a day, this cozy eatery is one of the most unique and homely experiences in all of Cairo.
The fight for the title of Cairo’s best koshari is fierce, meaning tourists hound the typical koshari haunts. Here’s a secret: hidden in Shobra, behind the El Kheima metro station, the koshari here is bold, fresh, and unique. This medium-sized eatery serves a generally local crowd, offering up intriguing takes on koshari including liver and oven-baked.
Abou El Sid
Dark and moody, Zamalek’s own Abou El Sid is a portal back to a glamourous past. With a large menu of traditional Egyptian fare, this celebrated restaurant bustles with life. Featuring ambient 1940s style art decor, your mind will be blown by the range of delectable options, ranging from pigeon to tahina and Om Ali.
Naguib Mahfouz Cafe
With traditional Arab decor, the atmosphere at Naguib Mahfouz Cafe is like no other, making it a necessary stop, even if you have only a few days in Cairo. Named after the first Arabic writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, it’s nestled in the famous bazaar, Khan el-Khalili. Both locals and tourists flock here for a cup of Cairo’s finest coffee, shisha, and traditional Arab dishes like moussaka and feeter. True to the elegance of Egyptian culture, the food is served on classic golden plates, while the staff dress in traditional vests and fez hats. It’s not only one of the best restaurants in Cairo, but has the best ambiance too.
While in Cairo, a classic Egyptian breakfast is the best way to start any day. The beloved Arabiata is one of Cairo’s best morning hangouts, featuring a huge menu of traditional fare. Load up on falafel, eggs and ful, or, go for something more decadent and order fried cheese and pastrami. The mouth-watering breakfast spread here is a great value and bound to keep you full throughout a day of sightseeing.
Take a trip to the sensual Taboula in Downtown Cairo, featuring a delectable menu of flavorsome Lebanese delights. Offering up a large selection of vegetarian fare, the menu features classics like muhammara, hummus and fettah. The atmosphere is warm and elegant, making it the perfect place to wind down after a busy day.
In the mood for something more decadent? One of the most popular dishes in Egypt for special occasions is stuffed pigeon, better known as haram mahsi. It’s made best at Farahat, legendary for the delicacy itself. The pigeons are marinated and stuffed with a blend of rice, wheat, cumin, nuts, and onion, then grilled over charcoal, making it a meal to remember.