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. El Fishawy

    $ | Islamic Cairo North | Café

    Just past the Hotel el Hussein is this famous café in the Khan al-Khalili bazaar. The area has dozens of cafés, but this is the oldest, best...Read More

  • 2. Mogul Room

    $$$$ | Giza | Indian

    The Mohgul Room sets the bar very high for Indian cuisine in Cairo. The setting in the arches-and-romance splendor of the Mena House could hardly...Read More

  • 3. Abou El Sid

    $$ | Zamalek | Middle Eastern

    You'll feel as though you're walking into an Arabian palace when you pass through the portal of this restaurant—the interior might be a touch...Read More

  • 4. Bua Khao

    $$ | Ma'adi | Thai

    Run by a Thai woman who uses ingredients flown in from Bangkok, this restaurant manages mouthwateringly authentic food that has saved many an...Read More

  • 5. Café Riche

    $ | Downtown | Middle Eastern

    Founded in 1908, Café Riche was the social headquarters of much of Cairo's theater and literary communities and once had a cabaret where Umm...Read More

  • 6. Felfela

    $ | Downtown | Middle Eastern

    This Cairo institution is popular with both Egyptians and visitors for good Egyptian food at inexpensive prices. Felfela is a good place to...Read More

  • 7. Naguib Mahfouz Café

    $$ | Islamic Cairo North | Middle Eastern

    Named after Egypt's most famous novelist and run by the Oberoi Hotel Group, this is a haven of air-conditioned tranquillity in the midst of...Read More

  • 8. Pane Vino

    $$$$ | Downtown | Italian

    The ultracontemporary and fashionable open kitchen–style Italian restaurant at the Semiramis InterContinental puts a modern twist on the traditional...Read More

  • 9. The Fish Market

    $$$$ | Giza | Seafood

    This restaurant is on the upper deck of a boat permanently moored on the west bank of the Nile. The scene is decidedly simple: there's no menu...Read More

  • 10. Zezo

    $ | Islamic Cairo North | Middle Eastern

    If you feel a little hungry during your tour of the Islamic architectural treasures, make a short detour to Zezo, which has made excellent...Read More

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