No time to cook? It’s a common complaint. For a student like me, grabbing a bowl of koshari or a quick sandwich from Baraka is easy enough. But what about those who have families to cook for? Luckily the ever-expanding world of Cairo take-out has something for everyone, and, surprisingly, take-out meals don’t have to be much more costly than cooking for yourself.
In Zamalek, the lovely Abou Adel restaurant on 26th of July Street sells (and delivers!) delicious half or whole roasted chickens for LE 20-40. You can also get healthy sides, such as green salad, baba ghanough, rice and baladi bread for only LE 1-5 extra. There’s a balanced meal for any family. If you’re not in Zamalek, the legendary Andrea’s in Giza provides similar fare. You might also try Abou Shakra, which has branches in Maadi, Mohandiseen and Heliopolis.
If you want more spice than roast chicken, try Al Marakshy in Nasr city. A family size Moroccan meal for four people, with delivery, is LE 60. Lamb, couscous, and vegetable stew is one of many nutritious options.
In Doqqi, Taza, on Tahrir Street provides better than average Egyptian food of all kinds. And if you’re in the mood for a sandwich, but tired of the usual shawarma, Iskandrani, also in Doqqi, has “the most ridiculously delicious chicken liver sandwiches, according to take-out connoisseur and AUC grad student Aaron Jakes.
For a non-Egyptian take on Middle Eastern classics like shawarma and fatteh, try Abu Ramiz Al-Souri, a Syrian spot in Dokki, which comes highly recommended by both Egyptians and ex-pats.
In Garden City, there are endless take-out options, AUC grad student Rafael Carr suggests Mamluket Al-Fatta’ir (Kingdom of Fattir) on Kasr El-Aini, or, for a full Egyptian meal, Mahrousa, which is across the street from the Canadian Embassy’s parking lot.
For pasta lovers, Dido’s Al Dente, in Zamalek, provides affordable and delicious Italian options. Their Penne Arabbiatta has some kick, but isn’t too spicy, and even the pickiest of eaters won’t be able to complain about their creamy Alfredo sauce.
Other than this, there are the usual delivery options. Downtown’s Abou Tarek, is, of course, the best koshari choice. Dar El-Amer, with branches in almost every neighborhood, has delicious Lebanese sandwiches and sides for LE 5-10. Theirs is the best Shish Tawouk I’ve ever tasted this side of Beirut, and the dolma compete with Abou Saeed’s, but for half the price.
Though the convenience of delivery is wonderful, to get some of the best food in Cairo, you may have to journey to get take-out directly from the source.
For meat meals with lamb and beef rather than chicken Cairo resident Mohamed Qadasme recommends Refa’ai in Saideh Zaineb for kebab and kofta with a side of rice and vegetables. It’s a rather badly taken-care of hole-in-the-wall, but, despite messy tables, the food is incomparable. Also in Saideh Zaineb, Al-Gahsh has some of the best foul and falafel in Cairo.
In Shobra, you can get a full meal of meat, rice and various side dishes at Bibo. It’s specialty is the zahra, or “flower, a unique mix of lamb, onions and oil.
One of the most unusual take-out possibilities is stuffed dove, a specialty at Farahat in Hussein. Though for less adventurous eaters, they also have classic kebab and kofta.
It may take some work to navigate Cairo traffic to pick up your food at these four spots, but the food is delicious, so the effort is worth it.
If none of this appeals to you, never fear. As most of you probably already know, there are endless delivery options at www.otlob.com. Any kind of food you could want is there, from Jamaican to Brazilian to Egyptian.
Abou Adel, 26th of July St, Zamalek, 7351185Andrea’s, 59 Teraat el-Maryotteya Street, Giza, 3831133Dido’s Al Dente, Mohamed Anis St., Zamalek, 7359227Abou Tarek, Champollion Street, DowntownTaza, El-Tahrir Street, Doqqi, 3363209Iskandrani, off El-Tahrir Street, Doqqi, 7484157Abou Ramiz Al-Souri, Doqqi, 3367229Mamlukat al-Fatta’ir, Kasr El-Aini Street, Garden City, 7940982Mahrousa, across the street from the Canadian Embassy parking lot, Garden CityAnd for endless other options, there’s www.otlob.com