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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Rossini

    $$$ | Heliopolis | Seafood

    This restaurant is in a renovated villa in Heliopolis, but you'll thank yourself if you forgo the pleasant (if generic) interior and sit in...Read More

  • 4. The Grill

    $$$$ | Downtown | European

    This top-notch restaurant at the Semiramis InterContinental concentrates on simple, classic Continental dishes. Starters include lightly cooked...Read More

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