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Dining in Cairo

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Toronto, Ontario
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Dining in Cairo

Female, travelling alone, landing on a Sunday night 8 p.m. Staying Talisman Hotel de Charme on Talaat Harb St., Downtown, Cairo. I am being met by a driver at the airport and brought into town.

I expect I won't get settled 'til ~9pm. Any suggestions on where and how to go about feeding myself at that hour? Any place in the neighbourhood? I don't honestly care about price, it's more about accessibility at that hour. (I have a rather odd sense of direction, so it can't be that far from the hotel, or I could end up in Morocco by accident...).

I'll be there for 3 nights, so all suggestions welcomed. Any any (decent) local shopping. I always like to take home some local art or jewellery.

cairo
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1. Re: Dining in Cairo

For Dining, you can go to Felfela Restaurant, it is in the same street Talaat Harab.

Stockholm, Sweden
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2. Re: Dining in Cairo

The area of Talaat Harb is the liveliest in Cairo. It's in the heart of downtown Cairo. It's crowded at any time of the day or night. As previous poster advised, Felfela is a good choice if you want to meet the crowd. There are other fast food restaurants in the neighborhood and It's easy to see them.

You can also take a taxi to Zamalek which is less crowded. There are good restaurants. Try Le Pacha boat, there are many restaurants on board with different cuisines: Egyptian, Italian, Greek, Indian, Lebanese, Asian etc. The boat is docked at all time. It doesn't sail. In Zamalek there are also coffee shops, art galleries, gold shops, clothes. If you want to buy a good quality of souvenirs try the Nomads. They have a shop inside the Marriott and a second one 100 meters south of the Marriott on the Nile side, on the first floor of an apartment building. Their prices are fixed and mentioned on all items. You don't need to haggle.

Al Azhar Park is also a good choice if you want to have a dinner with a stunning view of Cairo. It might be cold though during this time of the year but they have indoor restaurants.

CHEERS

Edited: 31 January 2010, 08:36
Toronto, Ontario
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3. Re: Dining in Cairo

Thanks Mofissio and Boss3; guess I should have clarified, will be there beginning March, so it may warm up a tad.

M, am I likely to get frowned upon as a single diner? I only ask because I have run into this in other places; it is what it is, but I try to work around the solo female ting. I will actually return to Cairo 3 times in my trip; first one is 3 nights, second time 1 night between stops, last time my last night there. Am staying Talisman all 3 times, just makes it easier. So...I have a few nights to account for dinners.

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4. Re: Dining in Cairo

Frowned upon is not what you will experience...but possibly alot of staring. Not trying to scare you but independent women traveling alone can get some unwanted attention . If you are used to this you will probably be fine...no danger...just interest. In the past if I continued to feel uncomfortable I would eat in hotels...expensive but they are used to female solo travelers. You are staying in a very hectic and busy central location of downtown Cairo so see where your comfort level is after such a long flight and maybe the hotel would have some suggestions. Good luck and I know you will have a great and exciting adventure.

Toronto, Ontario
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5. Re: Dining in Cairo

Thanks for the perspective, Gene. Ya, am used to the staring part; ran into that in Malaysia, especially when my travel companion went sleeveless! And used to being the only white woman in the Asian crowd, so...starting doesn't scare me. Odd, I feel less at home eating in my room than I do being stared at! Mind you, as you say, after a day's travel...Thanks again.

Sherwood Park...
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6. Re: Dining in Cairo

We really enjoyed the Blue Nile boat in Zamalek. Like La Pacha it is a boat that doesn't move and has multiple restaurants. We really enjoyed the open air middle eastern restaurant called Al Mawal.

There is an Egyptian fast food restaurant called Abou Tarek which is a couple blocks away from the Museum and has Koshary and Sweets. You get a feast for pennies. It is very worth it in my opinion.

Felfala is great and everyone we know recommended it to us when we asked them where they ate.

I will point out another place, although it is not near downtown, it is near the entrance to the Pyramids in the Mena Oberoi House. It is called The Moghul Room. It is indian food, and I've eaten at some of the best indian restaurants in the world and this place really is one of the top 2 I've tried. If you like your food, this place is very worth it. It is busy, we made it in without a reservation, but it is recommended you get one.

We also tried Tamarai which is an amazingly beautiful place with an even nicer view, but the price was outrageous and the service was even worse. In the servers defense, the head PR person booked me a reservation 2 hours before they opened (which oddly enough was at 9pm the night we were there, our reso was for 7pm). The staff were running around trying to open the place and accommodate us, but they forgot to accommodate us. We asked for a different table since our view was obstructed by a giant pillar and the waiter had to squeeze behind my chair to get to the computer. Not a single person in the restaurant and they refused to allow us to switch tables. We paid for our 2 drinks (Just under $40 US) and were lucky enough to discover the Blue Nile boat and Al Mawal where service was great and prices were even better, not that that mattered.

We also ate at one of the 4 restaurants at the Intercontinental hotel right across the Nile from Zamalek. It was the Thai restaurant which I completely forget the name. It was a very good set menu of Thai food. My wife and I made the mistake of eating at Abou Tarek a few hours earlier so we were over stuffed and most of our meal was wasted, but the part we did eat was awesome.

Stockholm, Sweden
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7. Re: Dining in Cairo

I agree that the Thai restaurant at the Semiramis is EXCELLENT. I've eaten there many times and the food is delicious. The name of the restaurant is the Bird Cage. Prices are high though compared to the Egyptian standard prices.

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Sherwood Park...
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8. Re: Dining in Cairo

That is the one, thank you Mofissio.

Since you've eaten there multiple times, maybe you can answer a question my wife and I had about it. We went there with about 8 people and were only shown a set menu. The options were great and we really enjoyed them, but as we were leaving we seen some type of chocolate dessert that wasn't an option for us, as well as a few other options on peoples plates in equally large groups that we didn't have.

Any idea if it is a regular menu with choices, a set menu, or do they have both? We weren't even given the option to choose anything else and if I had seen the chocolate dessert I wouldn't have hesitated.

Stockholm, Sweden
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9. Re: Dining in Cairo

I've never had a set menu at the Birdcage. I always prefer to choose my own dishes . When they gave you the set menu didn't you ask for the regular choice menu? Did you go there on your own or with a travel company?

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Toronto, Ontario
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10. Re: Dining in Cairo

Ahhh, now this is very helpful. Thanks a million, Shane. And especially for the heads up about the Mena Oberoi; I love Indian food, and I was hoping to get a chance to see this place, it is written up in many places as a stunning hotel. And funny enough, I was actually considering staying at the Semiramis, but opted for the Talisman instead, but still wanted to see that one, too.

M, my travel planner (John, @ the Freelancers) also suggested that Zamalek would be a good place to head to so now it's evidently the group vote, too LOL. I had already intended to take his advice, but now have even more reason to.

Thanks, all, this is great help. I am getting very excited as the days fly by, bringing me one step closer to Egypt.