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Food & Dining in Egypt


Egyptian cuisine combines many of the best traditions of Middle Eastern cooking, and can be a great place to sample a unique range of food: not too spicy and well-flavoured with herbs. For a convenient selection of Egyptian cuisine and staple foods try the Felfela chain of restaurants in Cairo. As in many seaside countries, Egypt is full of fish restaurants and markets so fish and seafood are must-try. Frequently, fish markets have some food stalls nearby where you can point at specific fish species to be cooked. Stalls typically have shared table, and locals are as frequent there as tourists.

There are both large hotel restaurants and smaller specialist ones throughout the main towns. Some of the larger hotels in Cairo and its environs have kitchens serving top-quality cosmopolitan dishes. In the centre of Cairo, American-style snack bars are also spreading. Although Egypt is a Muslim country, alcohol is available in café-style bars and many restaurants.


Cairo has numerous restaurants, ranging from small, inexpensive, noisy neighbourhood places serving local specialities, to fast food franchises doing chicken and hamburgers, frozen yoghurt, pizza, and doughnuts to world class restaurants with European, Asian, American and Middle Eastern menus. The big hotels have restaurants with a variety of price levels, and riverboats offer food with entertainment


A tub of take-away koshary costs anywhere from £E1 to £E2.50, depending on the establishment and the portion. Some of the best kofta and grilled chicken can be found at the quaint Alfi Bey. One of the best (and certainly one of the cleanest) fuul and taameya establishments is Felfela, which has a sit-down restaurant, a take-away service, and a koshary restaurant. Felfela serves the cleanest and cheapest Egyptian food in town.

Meat lovers will salivate instantly upon entering Emara Hati al-Gishth, where the air is heavy with the smell of charcoal-cooked meat, from a quarter-kilo (around £E18) up to a full stuffed, roasted sheep on request. The kastileeta (lamb chops) are particularly splendid, and the mouza (shins) good for gnawing.


Head down a tiny alley to find La Mezzaluna (Sharia Aziz Osman), a funky bi-level space that’s frequented by Cairo bohemians. The menu is roughly Italian, from conventional combos such as tomato and basil to the ‘Illy pasta’ (beef bacon, cream, radicchio and coffee). Salads are enormous. No alcohol is served, but the little patio out front is a quiet place to take coffee. There’s also an outpost in Mohandessin.

Crave is a little black-and-white eatery that looks extremely chic but it has welcoming staff and a reasonably priced menu of pizzas, pasta and the like. Score one of the comfy corner couch set-ups, and you could find yourself lounging here for quite some time.

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