With its wide variety of specialty restaurants, food kiosks and street stands, Cairo is definitely the capital of Egypt’s culinary culture. Nowhere else in Egypt are the dishes this diverse and a representation of Cairo’s traditional past and innovative future at the same time. Read below and get to know the best restaurants in Cairo that offer the most authentic Egyptian cuisine.
Desoke is a small restaurant in Zamalek, which is essentially run from a kitchen that is embedded in a wall and complemented by a few simple tables and chairs on the pavement across from it. Desoke serves traditional Egyptian cuisine at its best, following recipes passed on in the family for generations. Molokheya, a special Egyptian stew or soup with rice, roasted chicken, beans in sauce and other Middle Eastern dishes make for an excellent dining experience at Desoke.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 4pm-late
Watch out for: molokheya
Fasahet Sumaya is a true hidden gem in Cairo’s culinary landscape. It is a small restaurant with only four tables, hidden away in an alleyway, which is owned and run by one woman alone. Sumaya’s menu varies depending on what day it is. However, especially the delicious roqaq, which is pastry stuffed with minced meat, and the classic aromaticmolokheya stew are integral parts of Sumaya’s success. This is a truly authentic experience of Cairo’s culinary culture, but be aware that Sumaya is only open two hours a day.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 5pm-7pm
Watch out for: roqaq
Abou El Sid
Abou El Sid is a hip and young Egyptian place that gives an upscale impression with its impressive arched doorway and classic interior decorated with a lot of attention to detail. The food complements the interior and the menu is nothing short of spectacular. Traditional Egyptian dishes are reinterpreted and given a personal touch, such as stuffed sausages cooked the Abou El Sid way, or veal liver done the Alexandrian way. The wide and varied menu also includes a number of grilled meat specialties, like rabbit, duck or pigeon – a typical Egyptian national delicacy.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-2am
Watch out for: Circasion chicken in walnut sauce
26th of July Street, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt, +20 22 735 9640
Farhat is an Egyptian grill restaurant that can be found in a rather inconspicuous location, hidden away in an alleyway of the Al Azhar district of Cairo. Farhat is very popular with locals who socialise and enjoy the reportedly best stuffed pigeon in town at this hidden gem. Farhat’s star dish, the pigeon, comes with a delicious cracked wheat stuffing and side salad for a very reasonable price. Apart from its signature dish, the restaurant also offers a mixed grill on its menu. However, for a unique dining experience the stuffed pigeon is the must-have.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-11pm
Watch out for: stuffed pigeon
El-Mashrabiah is an intimate eatery located just a few steps below street level that offers excellent home-made Egyptian cuisine. The restaurant, with its friendly and relaxed atmosphere is equally popular with tourists and locals, which makes it the ideal place to experience a traditional Egyptian evening while socialising with Cairo’s locals. Classic Egyptian delicacies, such as kofta and tagen, which is a stew traditionally cooked in a clay pot, are offered side-by-side with modern interpretations of duck or other meat specialties. This makes for a fantastic diverse menu.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-11pm
Watch out for: rabbit with molokheya
4 Sharia Ahmed Nessim, Giza, Cairo, Egypt, +20 2 3748 2801