Enterprise’s top restaurant choices: We’re proud to be a team of huge foodies, and work on many an Enterprise publication is fueled by Otlob’s services and office discussions about what to have for lunch. With no shortage of great places to eat in our fair city (and beyond), it’s a tough job selecting only a few to recommend, but here are some of our favorites.
O’s Pasta: Behind a blue door on 26 July Street in Zamalek, delicious creations await you. A small room with colored walls and wooden décor is filled with pungent aromas. Every dish is freshly prepared and all feature top-notch ingredients, including olive oil shipped from Siwa Oasis, organic sun-dried tomatoes, and handmade buffalo mozzarella, all of which has earned the restaurant not one but three Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Whether you are a vegetarian, a meat lover, or a fan of seafood, you will find plenty to choose from. If unsure, go with the signature La Vie en Rose. The main chef will keep a discreet eye on you to gauge your reaction. If the food doesn’t meet your expectations, he will personally introduce himself and switch your plate in minutes.
Never underestimate a great shaabi restaurant: Located around the corner from the famous El Rahmany sobia joint in Sayeda Zeinab, Al Emam does some of the best rice-stuffed chicken you can find around downtown Cairo. The menu has all the Egyptian staples, plus a healthy selection of tagins. Suitable for families, with friendly table service, and a good location two minutes from Sayeda Zeinab mosque, Al Emam is an obvious choice for good Egyptian food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t give a shout-out to some of our favorite spots in Maadi, especially those around Enterprise Headquarters. We’ve long been fans of Lokali, a concept restaurant on Road 250 with a cozy setup that is perfect for a wholesome meal with friends (four-legged friends also welcome here). The menu is distinctive, albeit somewhat limited, but most dishes served at Lokali offer some kind of unique element that is sure to keep your taste buds on their (metaphorical) toes. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that the restaurant sources its organic ingredients locally (hence the inspiration for the name) and makes everything from scratch.
We are also longtime customers of Tabla Luna, which residents of the Republic of Maadi probably don’t need an introduction to. This colorfully decorated joint, which has also opened branches in Westown Hub and Zamalek, has all the usual suspects in Latin American cuisine, including enchiladas, empanadas, and chili con carne, to name a few. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on their iconic torta tres leches, and thank us later.
Want to get out of Cairo? Here’s where to eat great seafood in Alexandria: There is no single restaurant that’s an all-rounder. Each has its perks. But generally speaking, Samakmak, as commercial as it may be, is unlikely to disappoint. The place can be crammed on weekends, but you still get a near-authentic Mediterranean taste and a nice sea breeze. Balbaa is also quite tasty for a meat grill-turned full-fledged diner. It’s closer to home for Cairo visitors, and ideal for day trips, as it’s situated on the tip of the Cairo-Alex desert road. The Greek Club’s Santorini and White and Blue restaurants are another two good choices, but the food is often not up to par with the venue. This food-venue gap was recently bridged by newcomer SeaSide, also a top contender. For more authentic experiences, the iconic Zephyrion in Abu Qir and Zephere in Dekheila are as Alexandrian as it gets. Abdo Farag in Bahary’s cooker’s market should also definitely be on your local experience bucket list, and you could pay a visit to SeaGull if it brings back fond childhood memories.