Entertainment in Cairo


Pubs, Cafes and Restaurants in Cairo


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To find out about openings, events, and happenings in the social scene, check out the English edition of Al-Ahram newspaper, "Al-Ahram Weekly". It is published every Saturday. The monthly magazine Egypt Today is another option for an event calendar.

Drink

Egypt is a Muslim country, but liquor shops are present throughout the city. However, during Ramadan it becomes incredibly difficult to find any alcohol in the city. There are exceptions like:

  • The Greek Club
  • Odeon Hotel
  • Windsor Hotel
  • Drinkie’s - a beer and wine delivery service. They will only deliver to foreigners during Ramadan.
The Baladi Bar finder can help you locate a bar near you.

There are also delicious non-alcoholic options that are vital to survive the sometimes sweltering heat.

Beer - The god Osiris is said to have introduced beer to the ancient Egyptians. Today, there are some brands of beer that have been produced in Egypt for at least 100 years. There are strict laws about the production of beer and a high priority on using fine raw material.
Stella is the most famous brand of beer in Egypt. A 24 ounce Stella costs about 7 EGP.
Heineken is a popular imported beer and costs about 6 EGP.
Sakara is a new beer on the market.

Wine - The Egyptians were the first to record the ingredients and process of manufacturing wine. Rubis D' Egypte is a typical Egyptian wine with a medium rose color and costs 50 EGP.
Abarka is dedicated to the Christian Copts in Egypt and is consumed by them feast times such as Christmas and Easter. It is a much stronger wine.

Coffee/Tea - Almost any street in Cairo has a traditional coffee house with a variant of Turkish coffee called maqhâ in Arabic, but is pronounced as ahwa. A traditionally male institution, this is more than just coffee. It is an important center for social life tracing many hundreds of years back in history. Hibiscus tea kerkedeeh is also served, warm or cold depending on season.
Smoking a water pipe (sheesha) and drinking tea is another popular activity at coffee houses.
In addition, there is a growing number of modern European cafes serving Western coffee.

Non-Alcoholic - Juice bars can be found on every corner and offer a fresh quart of sugar cane juice for about 1 EGP. Flavors include mango, cantaloupe, pomegranate, strawberry, banana, apple, orange and grapefruit juice.

Liquor Laws

The drinking age in Egypt is 18, but Egyptian liquor laws are not applied equally. Age limits and restrictions may be applied in certain instances, but not in others. Bars and stores frequented by foreigners usually have well-posted policies they adhere to.

Liquor Stores

There are several companies that operate liquor stores in Cairo.
Maison Thomas - Outlet sells all kinds of beers and wines and it is open 24 hours per day.
Drinkies - Delivers drinks to everywhere in Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and the north coast in the summer. They have branches all over Egypt.
Egypt Free shops - A visitor can buy up to 3 liters of Alcohol and a case of beer, together with up to 200 cigarettes.

Eat

There are many dining establishments to choose from, serving delicacies from the west to the east. There are dozens of cheap street food options and world class restaurants. Downtown provides the best in budget dining with fine dining in areas like Zamalek and Mohandiseen.

Otlob.com offers delivery from a large number of Cairo restaurants, including fast-food. The site offers listings by type of food, area, and menus.

Egyptian Specialties

Egyptian cuisine combines some of the best elements of Middle Eastern cooking. As a Muslim country, finding pork is nearly impossible but other meats like chicken and beef are abundant.

  • Aish masri / aish baladi - bread dish is a mixture of wholemeal and ordinary wheat flour and is baked on open flame. It accompanies every meal
  • Oriental salad - Consists of fresh chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions, sprinkled with vinegar and olive oil.
  • Tabbouleh - Typical for the Middle East and is made of chopped tomatoes, parsley and cooked bulgur wheat, topped with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and sesame seeds.
  • Molokhiyya - soup seasoned with chopped and fried garlic and coriander.
  • Shourba ads - lentil soup
  • Fuul nabbed - broad bean soup
  • Kofta - spicy meatballs, grilled or fried. They may be served in the daoud basha in which the meatballs are cooked in a pot with tomato sauce and pine nuts.
  • Muzagga - the Egyptian version of the Greek moussaka
  • Fu-l medammis - Cooked and mashed fava beans served with olive oil, chopped parsley, onion, garlic, and lemon juice.
  • Kushari - The national dish, this is a vegetarian entree of rice, lentils, chickpeas and macaroni. Toppings include tomato sauce, garlic sauce and fried onion.
  • Muhalabiyya - dense milk pudding dessert, made with cracked rice, sugar and additionally sweetened with orange or rose water and topped with various nuts.
  • Baklava - Popular dessert, there is a rich local version in Egypt.
  • Kunafa (or kanafen) - Resembles capellini, in vanilla sauce.

Meal Times

Meal times are not rigid, but generally center on the lunch meal around 16:00.
Breakfast is usually a selection of flatbread and eggs. A side dish of fuul (simmered fava beans) is traditionally served.
Lunch is usually the main meal of the day. Families meet after work around 16:00. Plates of kosherie (a mix of macaroni, lentils, rice, fried onions, chickpeas, and spicy tomato sauce), molakheya (sauce of Jew's mallow), chicken or rabbit, and fateer (a flat pastry that can be served either savory or sweet) are served.
Dinner is light, served late at around 22:00

During the month of Ramadan the eating schedule changes drastically. A light sohour meal is eaten just before sunrise (which makes it either a late dinner or an early breakfast). An enormous iftar (breakfast) is consumed just after sundown with festivities and eating happening throughout the evening. Read the EasyExpat article on "Respecting Ramadan as an expat or Traveler".

Vegetarian Specials & Dining

Vegetarian options are increasingly available, with a core of traditionally vegetarian Egyptian dishes providing ample options.

The site, VegGuide, has restaurant listings for cities around the world. EasyExpat's FAQ section also has a helpful article on vegetarian dining.

Tipping

Most restaurants will automatically add a 12 percent service charge. Some people decide to round up and leave 5 to 8 percent in cash. This is because the staff may not be given the included service charge.

Fast Food

For meals on the go, there are many options from fast food chains to stands conveniently located on the street.

  • Kushari - One of the most popular Egyptian dishes as well as a quick filling option. A large bowel is only 4-8 EGP. The chain, Kushari Tahrir, is a reliable chain.
  • Sharwma - Popular option that can be found anywhere in Cairo. Sandwiches cost around 10 EGP and are quite filling.
  • Fuul medames - Cooked fava beans are sold stuffed into a sandwich for breakfast.
  • Ta'amiyya - also known as falafel, these deep-fried middle-eastern vegetable balls are stuffed into a sandwich with vegetables.

Restaurants

Cairo has an enormous number of restaurants. Along with the plethora of street food, there is the best in fine dining. The best restaurants are often located in hotels and Nile boats.

    Standard meal prices:
  • Very Expensive meals 150 EGP
  • Expensive meals 100 EGP
  • Moderate meals between 50 to 80 EGP
  • Inexpensive meals between 25 to 50 EGP

Cairo Dining is a magazine with a half-yearly updates of over 1000 Cairo restaurants.

Revolving Restaurant
Address: 1089 Corniche El Nil, P.O. Box 63 Maglis El Shaab, Garden City 11519, Cairo, Egypt; Tel. 20 (2) 2791-7000
This tall building in the city of Cairo looks like a UFO is perched on top. Located on the 44th floor, it is best to go just before sunset.

Cucina
Address: JW Marriott Hotel Cairo, Ring Rd., Mirage City, New Cairo City; Tel. 2411 55 88
Delicious Italian located in the Mariott Hotel.

Lan Tania
Address: Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers, Cairo, Uruba St., Tel. 2267 77 30 / 40
A Thai restaurant, Lan Tania (translated as "blue palm") is located in Fairmont Heliopolis and Towers.

Oak Grill
Address: Conrad Cairo, 1191 Corniche El Nil, Tel. 2580 84 40
Newly opened restaurant at Conrad Cairo.

Richoux
Address: Citystars, Omar Ibn El Khattab St., Phase 2, 3rd Floor; Tel. 2480 25 31 / 016 551 12 42
English elegance, this renowned restaurant is upscale perfection.

Update 4/12/2011



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