Cairo Restaurants

Cairo's restaurant scene has really developed over the last decade, breaking out of the five-star hotels and onto the streets. Eating out is now a regular form of entertainment, affordable to the growing upper and middle classes in Egypt. Naturally, Egyptian food remains the local favorite, and Cairo is the place to find the best of the country's specialties. Restaurants compete mainly on quality of ingredients rather than refinement of preparations. However, the range of cuisine options has expanded dramatically to include Indian, Thai, French, Italian, and even Japanese.

Local beers (including Stella Premium, Luxor, and Sakara) are common, and you can usually find a range of drinkable, if unremarkable, local wines (the top-rate Grand Marquis label, then the passable Omar Khayyam, Sheherazade, and Obelisque, and a much less wonderful Rubis).

Egyptians eat late: lunch from 1 to 3 and dinner often starting at 9 or 10. Most restaurants are open daily for both lunch and dinner. Dress is generally smart casual. Local beers and wines are served in many restaurants, but expensive imported alcohol is limited to top-end establishments. Although fancier places levy a 12% service charge, it is customary to leave a tip in inverse relation to the size of the bill, ranging from, say, 8% at expensive places to 12% to 14% at cheaper places.

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  • 1. Al-Tazaj

    $ | Mohandiseen | Fast Food

    When it comes to speedy service, McDonald's could learn a thing or two from the Saudis who own Al-Tazaj. They claim to get their produce from...Read More

  • 2. Al-Tazaj

    $ | Downtown | Middle Eastern

    ...Read More

  • 3. Alfi Bey Restaurant & Grill

    $$ | Downtown | Middle Eastern

    A mainstay of the old theater district since 1938, this restaurant, with its wood-paneled dining room, white tablecloths, and marble floors...Read More

  • 4. Andrea

    $$ | Giza | Middle Eastern

    Out by the Pyramids and down an unmarked canal off Shar'a King Faisal, Andrea is hard to find—your taxi driver might know it, or ask pedestrians...Read More

  • 5. Casper & Gambini's

    $$ | Downtown | International

    This popular casual coffee bar and eatery is one of a chain around the Middle East. The Corniche branch opens out onto the mezzanine of the...Read More

  • 6. Hotel el Hussein

    $ | Islamic Cairo North | Middle Eastern

    On the roof of this hotel on Hussein Square is a restaurant and café with a great view of the area—not to mention clean restrooms. The hotel...Read More

  • 7. Kandahar

    $$ | Mohandiseen | Indian

    Overlooking Maydan Sphinx (Sphinx Square), Kandahar serves North Indian food. Consider ordering one of the set menus that include the highly...Read More

  • 8. Lucille's

    $$ | Ma'adi | American

    Despite the arrival in Cairo of internationally recognized American fast-food chains, expats still flock to Lucille's for burgers and Tex-Mex...Read More

  • 9. Maison Thomas

    $$ | Zamalek | Italian

    Cairenes give Maison Thomas mixed reviews for its pizza, but the restaurant also sells smaller dishes to eat in or take out, including various...Read More

  • 10. Naguib Mahfouz Café

    $$ | Islamic Cairo North | Middle Eastern

    This air-conditioned, upscale coffee shop is the perfect refuge from the clamor of the Khan. Have a drink, a light lunch, or—at the adjoining...Read More

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