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Cairo

F&W's roundup of the best restaurants in Cairo, from one modeled after a 1940s supper club to another with excellent mezes and a prime view of the Nile. For more great restaurants, check out our guide to the world's best places to eat.

Restaurants

Abou El Sid

At this restaurant modeled after a 1940s supper club on Zamalek, one of two river islands in the Nile, locals and expats sip sugarcane juice and smoke shishas (water pipes) while lounging on couches. The specialty of the dining room is molokhia, a homey stew prepared with chicken, rice and the spinachlike mallow plant.
We loved: Molokhia; skarasseya (chicken breast and rice with walnut sauce).

Abou Tarek

Koshari–a flavorful mix of rice and lentils topped with fried onions and tomato sauce–was once a fast food beloved by Egyptian workers. Now it has become a Cairene foodie favorite, and the three-story Abou Tarek in the heart of downtown has been serving the best for decades.
We loved: Koshari.

El Kebabgy

The Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo helped the island of Zamalek reclaim its status as Cairo's chicest quarter when it opened in 2007. The hotel has a standout restaurant: the traditional El Kebabgy, which serves Middle Eastern classics like an exceptional mixed grill of lamb and chicken.
We loved: Kebabs; lamb kofta; slow-cooked tagine.

Fishawi's Café

Nobody goes to Fishawi's for the food–it doesn't serve any. They go to check out the crowd and–as generations of Cairene have done–to smoke water pipes and sip copious amounts of mint tea while watching the city go by. This 200 year-old institution in the heart of the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar also serves a range of exotic juices, from carob to licorice.
We loved: Sahlab, a warm, thick, milky drink with rose water and pistachio.

La Bodega

Reservations here are some of Cairo's toughest to score, thanks to its prime location on Zamalek island, its glamorous Euro-Arabian vibe and its expansive menu. Euro-Asian-Mediterranean dishes range from tuna carpaccio to herb-marinated chicken brochettes.
We loved: Sweet-and-sour honey-glazed duck.

Misr Restaurant

The beautiful Al Azhar Park in the city center, set on what once was a garbage dump, opened under the auspices of the Aga Khan Trust in 2005. It now offers pristine views of the Saladin Citadel and a great restaurant, Misr. The simple salads and grilled meats are among the best bets, but traditional dishes like pigeon soup are also stellar.
We loved: Fattah, layers of meat, rice and bread in a yogurt sauce.

The Moghul Room

The Mena House Oberoi's restaurant serves exceptional Indian food, like haute versions of shrimp biryani, chicken masala and slow-cooked dal.
We loved: Yogurt-marinated chicken tandoori.

Sequoia

Cairo's restaurants facing the Nile are usually disappointing, but this spot set on the northern tip of Zamalek is one of the few exceptions. Customers cluster on sofas under billowy tents to eat mostly Lebanese- and Egyptian-styled mezes like hummus, falafel, stuffed grape leaves and tabbouleh.
We loved: Couscous with stewed lamb.

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