11 Best Restaurants in Western Desert Oases, Egypt

Abdou's

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The longest running of Siwa's restaurants offers tasty food, friendly service, and a central location that have made it a hub of activity. Just about everybody eats here at least once, and its cheerful owner has a devoted following. Traditional dishes, roast chicken, slow-cooked stews and couscous are served on plastic plates at reasonable prices. It's a good place to meet people, or watch them go by.

Siwa, Egypt
046-460–1243
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Abu Muhammed Restaurant

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The reputation of Abu Muhammed is as big as the portions. The food is simple and delicious—primarily rice, slow-cooked stews, and grilled meats—served indoors or on the tiny, leafy terrace. Beer is available. This is also a good place to rent bicycles, and it's one of the only places in Mut with an Internet terminal.

Mut, Egypt
092-782–1431
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Ahmed Hamdi Restaurant

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Restaurants run in Ahmed Hamdi's family. Originally, his father operated a restaurant. His brother—they're friendly rivals—runs a restaurant on the same street; both are clean and friendly, practically side by side near the Mebarez Tourist Hotel. The food is good, and the prices modest. (A third brother runs tours that you can book at either restaurant.) You can dine inside or out. For breakfast, try the tomato omelet along with fuul, which is made from mashed fava beans and is the national dish of Egypt, and ta'amiya (Egyptian falafel, also made from fava beans.

Mut, Egypt
092-794–0767
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

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Albabenshal Restaurant

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The terrace of this roof-top hotel restaurant commands a view over Siwa's central square and catches the cool evening breeze beneath the floodlit ruins of Shali. The well-executed menu is primarily typical oasis cuisine but also includes a few unusual dishes, such as tagines (slow-cooked stews served with couscous), moza begui (braised lamb shank), and a delicious khodar masani (grilled vegetable platter). Backlit gypsum softly illuminates the outdoor dining area, and a niche in the karshif walls serves as a romantic indoor dining room.

Siwa, Egypt
046-460–2299
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, No credit cards

Badawiya Restaurant

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Offering a welcome change from the usual grilled chicken, this large, air-conditioned dining hall prepares delicious and varied meals. There's a set menu each night with meat or chicken, as well as traditional dishes and fresh bread. Ingredients are sourced in the oasis and the surrounding area. Dinner guests can eat on the terrace during the warmer months, and the chef sometimes fires up the barbeque.

El Forsan Hotel

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If you're looking for a place to eat in the center of town, a former cruise-boat chef whips up decent, hearty meals here. Service can be slow.

Kenooz

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One of the best restaurants in town allows you to go on the rooftop terrace, shaded by date palms that rise up through the floor, or to recline on pillows in the downstairs den by the fireplace. Either way, you'll enjoy traditional fare served up piping hot. The eclectic menu also includes delicious crepes, lamb casserole, and a chicken curry that would pass muster in Mumbai. The staff are friendly and attentive. Give them enough notice and they'll prepare a stuffed lamb for your party.

Siwa, Egypt
046-460–1299
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Popular Restaurant

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Something of an institution, this street-side café has been serving traditional food to locals and foreigners for nearly 30 years. Its galabiyya-clad owner, the irascible Bayoumi, spills wrath onto locals and sweet talks the foreigners, all in the same breath. Don't expect to walk past without him at least cooing or blasting a whistle. His charm compensates for the basic and dirty surroundings. You can dine alfresco at a long table exposed to the safari touts, or semiprivately indoors behind a blue lattice. There's no menu, so ask for the price in advance to avoid surprises. One special is prepared each day. A typical meal includes boiled meat or grilled chicken, rice, potatoes or vegetable stew, soup, bread, and tea.

Bawiti, Egypt
No phone
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Rashed Restaurant

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A popular lunch stop for safari groups by day, this restaurant is often transformed into a shisha (hookah) café packed with locals watching football matches by night. There's seating indoors, but the shaded, ceramic-tiled terrace is really the place to be. The grilled chicken here is possibly the best in town and comes with the usual side dishes as well as some tasty local olives. It sometimes has dessert, too.

Bawiti, Egypt
02-384–7237
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Tanta Waa

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Built of mud and palm trunks, this simple and cheery café nestled under lush palm trees beside Cleopatra's Pool is a popular lunch stop. Staff fire up kofta (ground meat on skewers) and barbecued chicken, while locals and tourists lounge in hammocks and palm-frond chaises while enjoying a postswim tea or fruit juice. Come in the evening, and you may find a glowing campfire with lamb, goat, or camel meat on the grill—definitely a memorable experience.

Siwa, Egypt
010-129–1337
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: May–Sept. opening times can be erratic, No credit cards

Wemby al-Basateen Restaurant

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With its polished granite walls and floors, and a small outdoor terrace, this restaurant is the best of a cluster of cheap eateries around the square. It even has a "family section," really just an alcove separated by a wooden panel. There is no menu, but you can choose from grilled chicken, meat kebabs, or a rather chewy steak. All are served with the usual soup, salad, and rice. Check prices before ordering.

Al-Kharga, Egypt
092-793–7105
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch Fri., No credit cards