Recs needed for Zamalek, near Cairo Marriott & Omar Khayyam Casino.
My family will be spending a couple of days in Cairo, Egypt this summer, and we'll be staying at the Cairo Marriott & Omar Khayyam Casino. This will be our first trip to Cairo, so I'd love some dining recommendations for Zamalek, preferably within walking distance of the hotel. I'm also interested in any reviews of the many restaurants inside the Cairo Marriott. We have 3 kids (a teen plus two younger ones) who are all adventurous eaters! Would love to try some traditional Egyptian food, and any other cuisine!! Thanks so much!
I have spent the better part of two summers in Cairo and last year we were in Zamalek for 5 weeks. Cairo is decidedly not a foodie town, and IMO the best restaurants are Lebanese, if you can find one. We did a lot of take out from Le Pasha 1800, which is one of the restaurant boats on the Nile. Inside, there are a variety of different cuisines, and we found it to be not bad, though we were disappointed by the food the one time we actually ate on the boat. Make sure that you have some Koshari and some fattir. The former is the ubiquitous local favorite of rice, lentils, beans and pasta -- kind of a slaute to carbs, and fattir is a wonderful pancake-like affair that is either served sweet with honey or powdered sugar, or savory with meats or vegetables. I am also appending the names of some places in Cairo that were featured in Tony Bordain's show, No Reservations. These are places I plan to try when I am back in Cairo this summer.
Farahat Restaurant: At Farahat, Anthony Bourdain enjoys a local delicacy of Cairo -- pigeon.
Address: 126 Azhar Street, Al-Hussein
Abu Tarek Koshary Restaurant:Koshary is most accurately described as Cairanese fast food -- a dish of rice, noodles, spices, and fried onions. Anthony Bourdain samples this local treat at Abu Tarek.
Address: 16 Maarouf and Shamplion Street, Wust al Balad, Cairo
Mohamed Moustafa Ashour Foul Stall: Foul is the Cairanese breakfast of champions.
Address: Unnamed alley south of Opera Square, Ataba, Cairo
Cafeteria Stella: Beer is not always a welcome treat in Egypt, mainly for religious reasons. But at this neighborhood retreat, Anthony Bourdain and his friend Hassan welcome it with open arms.
Address: Corner of Hoda Shaarawi and Tallaat Harb Street, Cairo
Also, we had a wonderful guides while we were in Cairo -- Debbie and Colin from casualcairodetours.com , and in particular, my son loved the feluca ride on the Nile and the fish lunch we had on board. We used them for all our tours -- the Khan a Kahlili, the Egyptian Museum as well as the Pyramids.
What are you looking for? You are staying at the Marriott which is very "safe" food wise for westerners.
The food at the marriott will be tasty, but despite what everyone there tells you, not authentic in the least.
A good Egyptian restaurant near the Marriott is Abou El Sid.
It is across 26th July St (the very busy east-west avenue in Zamalek)
around the corner and about 1/2 a block from Maison Thomas.
Maison Thomas is a pretty good pizza place.
"Pretty good" is a relative term. It is pretty good pizza for Cairo, but may not be what
you are used to.
Abou El Sid is about a 10 minute walk from the Marriott.
It is traditional upsale egyptian food. Very tasty stuff.
You will need reservations most nights.
The food at the Marriott is _extremely_ overpriced by Egyptian standards.
My advice: get out of the Marriott. Walk around. Eat street food. As long as the food is hot and steaming, it is safe to eat.
And the name of the island is pronounced
za MAL ek
ZAM a lek
like I hear so many westerners pronounce it :-)
Have stayed at the Cairo Marriott many times. The area around the hotel is quite safe and walkable, but I haven't eaten anywhere around there. You might want to have lunch
on one of the boats tied up nearby, and at night I think they go out in the Nile. If you like Indian, the Mena Oberoi in Giza by the Pyramids has a great Indian restaurant.
At the Marriott, Egyptian Nights is picturesque and the food is very good. That would be
a great place to go with the kids. The outdoor cafe is also very good. They used to have lentil soup that I loved, but last year it was not on the menu. (I have just about figured out the recipe in case you are interested.) We love Cairo and the area around the Marriott.
Hope you do, too.
If you drink, the Egyptian wine is pretty bad, but Stella beer is quite good.