Cairo Restaurants

Cairo's restaurant scene has really developed over the last decade, breaking out of the five-star hotels and onto the streets. Eating out is now a regular form of entertainment, affordable to the growing upper and middle classes in Egypt. Naturally, Egyptian food remains the local favorite, and Cairo is the place to find the best of the country's specialties. Restaurants compete mainly on quality of ingredients rather than refinement of preparations. However, the range of cuisine options has expanded dramatically to include Indian, Thai, French, Italian, and even Japanese.

Local beers (including Stella Premium, Luxor, and Sakara) are common, and you can usually find a range of drinkable, if unremarkable, local wines (the top-rate Grand Marquis label, then the passable Omar Khayyam, Sheherazade, and Obelisque, and a much less wonderful Rubis).

Egyptians eat late: lunch from 1 to 3 and dinner often starting at 9 or 10. Most restaurants are open daily for both lunch and dinner. Dress is generally smart casual. Local beers and wines are served in many restaurants, but expensive imported alcohol is limited to top-end establishments. Although fancier places levy a 12% service charge, it is customary to leave a tip in inverse relation to the size of the bill, ranging from, say, 8% at expensive places to 12% to 14% at cheaper places.

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  • 1. Mogul Room

    $$$$ | Giza | Indian

    The Mohgul Room sets the bar very high for Indian cuisine in Cairo. The setting in the arches-and-romance splendor of the Mena House could hardly...Read More

  • 2. Pane Vino

    $$$$ | Downtown | Italian

    The ultracontemporary and fashionable open kitchen–style Italian restaurant at the Semiramis InterContinental puts a modern twist on the traditional...Read More

  • 3. The Fish Market

    $$$$ | Giza | Seafood

    This restaurant is on the upper deck of a boat permanently moored on the west bank of the Nile. The scene is decidedly simple: there's no menu...Read More

  • 4. The Grill

    $$$$ | Downtown | European

    This top-notch restaurant at the Semiramis InterContinental concentrates on simple, classic Continental dishes. Starters include lightly cooked...Read More

  • 5. Aqua

    $$$$ | Garden City | Seafood

    With a dining room lined by wall-size aquariums, this is the coolest and most expensive seafood restaurant in the city. The sushi and sashimi...Read More

  • 6. Justine

    $$$$ | Zamalek | French

    Established in the mid-1980s as Egypt's premier French restaurant, Justine has only improved with age. The daily specials are always great choices...Read More

  • 7. Steaks

    $$$$ | Garden City | Steakhouse

    The sepia-toned photographs of proud owners and their cattle from around the world tell you what's on the menu, if the name of the restaurant...Read More

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