Desoke is a small restaurant in Zamalek. It is essentially run from a kitchen that is embedded in a wall and complemented by a few simple tables and chairs on the pavement across from it. Desoke serves traditional Egyptian cuisine at its best, following recipes passed on in the family for generations. Molokheya, a special Egyptian stew or soup with rice, roasted chicken, beans in sauce and other Middle Eastern dishes make for an excellent dining experience at Desoke.
Fasahet Sumaya is a true hidden gem in Cairo’s culinary landscape. It is a small restaurant with only four tables, hidden away in an alleyway. It is owned and run by one woman alone. Sumaya’s menu varies depending on what day it is. The delicious roqaq, which is pastry stuffed with minced meat, and the classic aromatic molokheya stew are integral parts of Sumaya’s success. This is a truly authentic experience of Cairo’s culinary culture. However, be aware that Sumaya is only open two hours a day.
Abou El Sid is a hip and young Egyptian place that gives an upscale impression with its impressive arched doorway and classic interior decorated with a lot of attention to detail. The food complements the interior and the menu is nothing short of spectacular. Traditional Egyptian dishes are reinterpreted and given a personal touch. These include stuffed sausages cooked the Abou El Sid way, or veal liver done the Alexandrian way. The wide and varied menu also includes a number of grilled meat specialties, like rabbit, duck or pigeon – a typical Egyptian national delicacy.
26th of July Street, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt, +20 22 735 9640
Farhat is an Egyptian grill restaurant that can be found in a rather inconspicuous location, hidden away in an alleyway of the Al Azhar district of Cairo. Farhat is very popular with locals who socialize and enjoy the reportedly best stuffed pigeon in town. Farhat’s star dish, the pigeon, comes with a delicious cracked wheat stuffing and side salad for a very reasonable price. Apart from its signature dish, the restaurant also offers a mixed grill on its menu. However, for an authentic dining experience the stuffed pigeon is the must-have.
El-Mashrabiah is an intimate venue located just a few steps below street level. It offers excellent home-made Egyptian cuisine. The restaurant, with its friendly and relaxed atmosphere, is equally popular with tourists and locals. This makes it the ideal place to experience a traditional Egyptian evening while socializing with Cairo’s locals. Classic Egyptian delicacies, such as kofta and tagen, which is a stew traditionally cooked in a clay pot, are offered side-by-side with modern interpretations of duck or other meat specialties. This makes for a fantastic diverse menu.
4 Sharia Ahmed Nessim, Giza, Cairo, Egypt, +20 2 3748 2801