Tourists usually flock to Cairo to visit the Pyramids, take a boat trip along the Nile or to take a dip in the Red Sea. But Cairo is now becoming renowned for its restaurants scene, which serve a range of international and innovative cuisines. Here’s our selection of Cairo’s ten best international restaurants.
Situated inside the Kempinski Nile Hotel, Osmanly offers guests the chance to dine like a Sultan in this beautiful setting. The à la carte fine dining menu pays homage to the past Ottoman Empire, serving classically Turkish dishes such as kuzu tandir (a 12-hour slow cooked leg of lamb), meat kofte and chicken kebabs. On arrival guests are given a brass pitcher of jasmine water and a warm towel to wash their hands as the perfect start to the elaborate dining experience. Dine like a true Turk and order the cold mezze sharing platter to start.
For authentic Latin American food in a country very new to this cuisine, go to the much-loved restaurant Tabla Luna. Plating up traditional dishes from Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia and Mexico, the chef says many of his recipes are inspired by his mother’s cooking. Sit amongst the red, yellow and green furnishings and the Aztec and Mayan motif tiled floor and sample the delectable concoctions made using only home grown and organic produce. Don’t leave without trying the ceviche and the empanadas with the homemade spicy aji dip.
Said to be the best Thai restaurant in Egypt, the Birdcage is located inside the Cairo Semiramis InterContinental Hotel. With a huge water feature at the entrance and dark wood and plants throughout, the Birdcage is the perfect setting for romantic dates and celebratory meals. Guests can watch the Thailand-born chef prepare exotic dishes in the open kitchen from their table. Choose between the garlic pepper shrimp, the cashew chicken, the tom yum or a favorite, the chicken green curry.
Fasahet Somaya has been making waves among the Cairo crowd, drawing in visitors with its loyal version of true Egyptian home cooking. While this place won’t impress you with views over the Nile, it plays to its strengths with cozy charm and an intimate, hole-in-the-wall setting with only four tables. Tune in to the soft-playing radio and enjoy Somaya’s home-cooking, like the simple spiced chicken with rice or be surprised by the daily specials.
This casual, hole-in-the-wall style restaurant is the perfect spot for a quick lunch or casual dinner. Zooba serves authentic Egyptian street food made from fresh local produce and a good sprinkling of chili, cumin and coriander. Try the falafel, eggs with basterma, hawahshi, lentil soup or rice pudding. The furniture and décor is upcycled and unique, professing the restaurant’s desire to promote Egyptian creativity in both food and design. Zooba is cozy with a long table in the middle to share between parties.
Andrea El Mariouteya is famous for its barbecued marinated chicken. The restaurant uses a special secret herb blend seemingly impossible to recreate at home. Dine inside or out and accompany the barbecued chicken and kofte with exquisite salads, stuffed vine leaves, tahini and freshly baked warm Egyptian bread. This is authentic, rustic, Middle Eastern cooking in a beautiful setting. Stone walls, gold and red décor and cute cubby holes draw visitors back again and again to Andrea El Mariouteya.
With floor-to-ceiling windows offering views out over the water and the rest of the city, Sequoia attracts visitors wishing to enjoy a meal in a laid-back atmosphere. Guests can lounge on plush white sofas while eating from low tables and gazing out at the mesmerizing panorama. The menu is a fusion of Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, Moroccan, Turkish, Greek and Italian cuisines. Choose between a hot or a cold mezze to start and follow with either the grilled salmon, classic shish taouk, cheese-stuffed kofta or the seafood selection for main.
Situated across from the Aquarium Grotto Garden, the Barbeque Terrace restaurant exuberates wealth in its dark purple, black and gold décor. Lounge on a plush gold cushioned sofa or armchair and enjoy your meal off of a low dark wooden table almost as if you were eating at home. The menu is full of barbecued treats accompanied by colorful and exciting chef’s salads. Try the escalops, kebabs, Syrian konafak and the juicy salmon steaks, then sit back and relax with a refreshing iced mocha in this elegant, if not slightly masculine, setting.
Run by a lovely Swiss lady, the Little Swiss Restaurant is the best place in Cairo for beautiful raclettes and scrumptious fondues. Diners begin their meal choosing between different Swiss cheeses. After it’s time to cook your own chicken or meat on your table before finishing with a chocolate fondu. Perfect for special occasions or romantic dates, the Little Swiss Restaurant is only small and gets busy so it is essential to book ahead.