Photo of a restaurant called "Heart Attack Fried Chicken & Burgers"

Best Restaurants in cairo egypt

Dining in Egypt for Every Budget and Every Taste

There are so many incredible things to eat while in Egypt!  I encourage you to try as many things as you can, as they are tastes unlike anything you would find in a typical American restaurant.  I’ve given you a few different options/categories below to suit the needs of everyone and give you some great starting points, but know that there are so many other wonderful places that I haven’t mentioned (another trip, another post… it’s all in the works, I promise!)  I’ve broken down this post into: Budget Friendly, Unique Experiences, Casual & Delicious, Coffee for the People, and A Sweet Ending.

Unique Experiences

9 Pyramids Lounge

Address: Nazlet El-Semman, Al Giza Desert, Giza Governorate 3512201, Egypt

If you go to Egypt, make it a point to go to 9 Pyramid Lounge.  Like, clear your schedule and make the effort.  I mean it.  When else in your life will you have the opportunity to eat breakfast or lunch in full view of the Pyramids?!?  (Answer: never again, so do it when you’re there!)

It does take some planning to have a meal at 9 Pyramid Lounge, so be sure to call ahead and make a reservation.  Hire a driver* (see note at bottom of this post) to take you to the restaurant, which is located beyond the main entrance to the pyramids. 

Once at the restaurant, you can choose to have a traditional Egyptian breakfast (complete with ful mudammas, fresh pita and my personal fave, the Egyptian white cheese) or go with more American fare (pastries, eggs, etc.).  Enjoy your meal and marvel at the pyramids off in the distance and tourists tromping by on camels.  It’s incredible.  After eating, there are some great areas to lounge and admire the scenery some more.

Multiple breakfast dishes on a table, including pita bread, fried eggs, falafel, pastries, fava beans and sauces in small dishes.
Photograph of Bess lounging on the outdoor seating at 9 Pyramids Lounge, a restaurant with a view of the pyramids.
Photograph of Bess and omar (head shot only) with 3 pyramids in the background, taken in Giza, Egypt.
Photograph of the Egyptian dessert, Om Ali, in a bowl with a spoon. Dish is topped with toasted nuts.
a photo of Bess and Omar on the prow of a boat as it goes down the Nile river by night.

Nile Dinner Cruise on Cafelluca Boat

Address: Multiple locations; see website at bottom of post for exact locations

Another fabulous unique dining experience is going on a dinner cruise on the Nile River.  WARNING: Don’t go for the big cruises that offer a buffet and seat tons of people (unless that’s your thing, then go for it).  These are often packed with tourists with sub-par food.  

We chose Cafelluca, a company that uses smaller vessels, which gives the experience a cozier feel with excellent service.  We sailed from the Dokki location, through the restaurant Seekh Mashwy.  

We went for a late dinner option so that we could be dazzled by the lights along the river at night.  As soon as you take off from the marina, you’re treated to appetizers, a full dinner and then dessert.  While cruising, your captain will play music and let you know about some of the different sights along the route.  It was an amazing experience!

The details: In order to do a dinner cruise, you will need to call ahead to make reservations and determine the type of food you’d like to have on board.  The boat can seat about a dozen people comfortably; we had a party of 9, though, and it was just right.  A minimum of 6 guests is required for the trip.  You may think such a cruise would be out of budget for you, but the 2 hour cruise and dinner for our entire group was just $195!  Not too bad for an unforgettable evening.  They also have a breakfast option or a drinks-only option (non-alcoholic) if that better suits your tastes and plans.


Koshari Abou Tarek كشري أبو طارق

Address: Choppin ln Champollion, Cairo 11511 Egypt (multiple locations)

Looking for a filling, delicious, vegetarian* meal that won’t break your travel budget?  Try what is called “Egypt’s National Dish”: Koshari (or kushary).  It is basically a carb overload, concocted from a base of macaroni and spaghetti noodles, black lentils and garbanzo beans.  Everything is cooked to perfection and comes to you with an assortment of traditional toppings: crunchy fried onions, a spicy tomato sauce flavored with chili, pepper, garlic and nutmeg.  Add it all together and it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted, and heartily delicious!  Best of all, a serving of Koushary costs about 30 Egyptian Pounds (the equivalent to a dollar) and will keep you full all day. 

*Note: the broth or stock used to make the koushary could be non-vegetarian. Be sure to ask before you order if that is an issue.

A photograph of a plate with Koushary, an arabic dish made up of lentils, noodles, chick peas and a tomato sauce.
Photo of koushary, an arabic dish, in it's various containers: a main container with the noodles and lentils, 2 smaller containers with tomato sauce, a bowl with crunchy onions and 2 small plastic containers with spices.
Photograph of Omar in front of restaurant "Semsema", a shawerma sandwich spot in Cairo, Egypt.
Omar eating a shawerma sandwich for breakfast.

Semsema – Shawerma Sandwiches

Address: Al Dokki St, Ad Doqi, Dokki, Giza Governorate 3750230, Egypt (multiple locations)

We’ve all seen the towers of rotating meat – often used in Gyros – but the shawerma meat in Egypt is in a league of its own.  In Egypt, the meat is beef (not a lot of lamb used in Egyptian cuisine).  A true Egyptian shawerma sandwich is simple: a kaiser roll and meat.  (their tagline: ‎ملك الشاورما الكيزر من ١٩٨١ Your favorite shawerma in a Kaizar bun since 1981.)You can order it plain, or add a slather of the tahini-based sauce.  Semsema also has chicken options and of course, all sandwiches are available with a side of crispy, oh-so-salty-and-delicious, piping hot fries.  Maybe it’s that I deprive myself of carbs on a regular basis, but there is just something magical about fried potatoes.  There are lots of other options on the menu, but if you want a taste of Egypt, you won’t go wrong with shawarma.  You can get a 10 pack of sandwiches (you’ll want more than one, believe me) and a couple large fries – delivered – for about 400 Egyptian Pounds, or $13.00, plenty to feed 4 people.

Casual & Delicious

Em Sherif

Address: New Cairo 1, Cairo Governorate 4740103, Egypt

This is a gem of a restaurant and a must-do if you’d like to sample some delicious, traditional Arabic dishes.  The original Em Sherif is in Lebanon… and if you know anything about the Middle East, you know that the Lebanese can cook their butts off.  And it shows at this restaurant!  We were a large group sharing dishes at Em Sherif and I can honestly say, there was not one dish that wasn’t exceptional.  The hummus, the fattoush (Arabic salad with crispy pita), the muhammara (a walnut-tomato dip to die for)… the list goes on, but I think you could blindfold yourself and point at anything on the menu and come out a winner.  If you are looking for lamb, Em Sherif is a place to get some!  Lebanese cuisine usually features lamb, so if that’s your jam, keep your eye out for Lebanese dining spots.

Photograph of restaurant Em Sherif outside of Cairo, Egypt
5 images in a filmstrip frame featuring different Arabic dishes: muhammara, fattoush, hummus, potatoes and tabouli.  Next to the film strip is a logo for the restaurant, Em Sherif cafe, written in English and Arabic.
A photo of Bess with a forkful of what looks like fluffy hair on a fork held in front of her nose - making it look like a moustache. It's actually cotton candy that was on top of a dessert.
Photograph of basara, a typical arabic mezze, or appetizer, in a bowl. The dish is made from fava beans, so the color is bright green and swirled, with toasted pine nuts in the center.

Le Pacha 1901 – Le Tarbouche

Address: Saray El Gezirah Street, El-Khalig, Zamalek, Cairo Governorate, Egypt

Want yummy, Egyptian food with a view?  Don’t want to actually ride down the river, but still experience the Nile?  Do not pass Go, just head directly to Le Pacha 1901.  This hub of restaurants is literally on the Nile river – it was originally built as a floating palace that is now moored just off Zamalek in Cairo.  Le Pacha 1901 has multiple restaurants housed inside.  The one I love, Le Tarbouche, serves up very Egyptian fare like delicate pigeon, molokheya soup with rabbit, stuffed grape leaves, etc.  They also have a very Egyptian mezze (appetizer) called “bsara” (or basara, bossara – in arabic, it’s بصاره.  It’s a little like hummus, but not quite.  It’s bright green and made from fava beans.  Try a little of everything and just dreamily gaze out the window as the Nile cruises by.  It’s captivating.  

Finish off with a fabulous ice cream dessert that is topped with halvah-flavored candy floss.  This item isn’t on the menu… you have to ask for it.  I don’t know how the magical chefs make this, but I firmly believe they should be in line for a Nobel Prize.  I could eat a pound of this.

Villa Caracas

Address: Mall Of Arabia Gate, 15 New extension, Al Giza Desert, Giza Governorate 3236020, Egypt

You might not think heading to the mall is the best bet for a meal, but we’re not talking Food Court here.  Caracas is a fantastic restaurant with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.  They have all that you would typically find on an Arabic menu: hummus, olives, pita, shawarma, etc.  It’s a perfect pause during your shopping adventures at Mall of Arabia.

Photo of a white plate with 2 seeded bread sticks and a small cup of olives as well as a small cup of oil.
An overhead photo of various Arabic breakfast dishes including falafel with tahini sauce, scrambled eggs, ful mudammas, hummus, halloumi cheese and olives.
Breakfast from Villa Caracas restaurant at the Mall of Arabia.

Coffee for the people!

Koffee Kulture

Address: Arkan Plaza, Sheikh Zayed City, Giza Governorate 12556, Egypt 

If you’re in the mood for a lively atmosphere with fabulous coffee, prepare to wait in line to snag a table at Koffee Kulture.  This spot is a trendy hangout for young people, and it’s perfect for large groups.  There is seating inside and out and a large selection of every coffee creation you can think of.  Additionally, they serve a variety of noshes to have alongside the caffeinated beverage of your choice: pastries, bagels, bowls – all members of your travel party will find something to satisfy their thirst and hunger.

Photograph of 4 cans of coffee drinks from Koffee Kulture, a coffee shop in Cairo, Egypt.  The coffees are dark brown, light green, pink and light brown.
Photograph of Koffee Kulture sign and 3 cans of coffee.
Photo of a cappuccino on the left and a plate of bread on the right.

paul Cafe & Bakery

Address: Multiple locations around Egypt; see website

In the mood for a café with a sophisticated atmosphere?  Head to Café Paul.  There are multiple locations of this iconic café and bakery around Egypt (and around the world).  While Paul has delicious coffee (I’m partial to cappuccinos), their baked goods are on another level.  Order some fougasse topped with cheese or have a sandwich made with their artisan loaves.  You can’t go wrong at a place that has good bread and good coffee.

A Sweet Ending

Photograph of the sign for KB's Cake Studio
Photograph of multiple tres leches cakes at KBs Cake Studio in Egypt. Multiple flavors on display, as evidenced by the different colors: pink for strawberry, green for pistachio and browns for a traditional tres leches, another chocolate caramel.

KB’s Cake Studio

If you are in need of a sweet treat that defies categorization… head to KB’s Cake Studio.  They have Tres Leches cakes (yes, we’re still in Egypt) with an Arabic twist.  Think tres leches with Middle Eastern flavor profiles: Rose Water sound incredible?  Yes, please!  How about Pistachio?  These two are worth the trip on their own, but there is also the traditional tres leches flavor as well as a rotating selection, capitalizing on fruits in season or just fun combinations (chocolate-caramel, I’m talking about you!).  They also have gorgeous Ice Cream Bombes in a variety of flavors.  Trust and believe, if you have a sweet tooth, proceed to KB’s Cake Studio! 

Photo of a restaurant called "Heart Attack Fried Chicken & Burgers"
Didn’t try this place, but hilarious advertising!

A few dining tips:

Hire a Driver: If you plan on visiting 9 Pyramids Lounge (see “Unique Experiences” in this post) or you’re staying in Egypt for multiple days, consider hiring a driver.  Once you experience the traffic and parking (or lack thereof) in Cairo, you will understand why you don’t want to attempt driving there yourself (you can thank me later).  Sure, you could rent a car, but for a little more, you can rent a car AND a driver, and your life will be made that much more comfortable.  There are many options to choose from, but I suggest using a site like instead of Viator or TripAdvisor that end up being expensive.  Ask ahead of time about any additional fees for things like airport pickup/dropoff and remember… you can always negotiate!

Alcohol: Egypt is a primarily Muslim country, so there are many places that do not serve alcohol.  You will find some places that do (Le Pacha is one from this list).  Instead, try some of the many incredible fresh fruit juices that are popular and typically on the menu.

Pork: For the same reasons mentioned above about alcohol, know that you will likely not run into any pork products.  

Tipping: While tipping is not required, it is, of course, appreciated.  Take note if any gratuity is already figured into your bill (you can ask), which may be the case depending on the number in your party

Start Planning Your Dining Adventure!

9 Pyramids Lounge

Nile Dinner Cruise on Cafelluca Boat

Koshari Abou Tarek

Semsema Shawerma

Em Sherif Café

Le Pacha 1901 – Le Tarbouche Restaurant

Villa Caracas – Mall of Arabia

Koffee Kulture

Paul Café & Bakery

KB’s Cake Studio

3 responses to “Best Restaurants in Cairo Egypt”

  1. omar.dahmash Avatar

    Very Informative post.

  2. Samar Avatar

    Hi Bess
    This post and the photos made me very hungry. I could almost taste the food. I would love to see short videos too if you took any. More photos of the Nile trip. Thanks for sharing this list.

    1. omar.dahmash Avatar

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

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Looking for more food-related posts?

Check out this post all about Arabic Breakfast and this one that includes a tasty recipe for a Swiss Inspired Keto Friendly dish!


  1. Hi Bess
    This post and the photos made me very hungry. I could almost taste the food. I would love to see short videos too if you took any. More photos of the Nile trip. Thanks for sharing this list.

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