Abou Tarek – This institution of a koshari restaurant in downtown Cairo is the most famous of Egypt’s koshari houses. Takeaway is on the ground level while a sit-down restaurant area is located on the upper floor. No need to order downstairs if you’re dining in, as they have a full-service wait staff upstairs. The beauty of koshari is that it’s super quick and very filling. If Egypt had a national dish, this would be it!
Prince Cafe – If you ask any local Egyptian what their favorite local Egyptian restaurant is in Cairo, this will be it. Nothing fancy here, but just solid hearty local fare in a very local neighborhood close to downtown.
Abou El Sid – For a more refined local culinary experience, this institution of a restaurant located in Zamalek is the place to go. Make a reservation to make sure you get a table and show up hungry. It’s good not only for the food but also for the authentic local atmosphere. It’s located in one of the most tranquil and walkable neighborhoods in all of Cairo, which also happens to be right in the heart of Cairo on the island of Zamalek in the Nile.
El Marwadia – A ground-level Egyptian restaurant in the Cairo Sheraton’s north tower. Very decent Egyptian food, but they got rid of their dining tables and now just have couches and armchairs around coffee tables, which makes eating a real meal a little awkward, it’s better for snacks and appetizers if you get the munchies during the day or evening. The large TVs throughout often broadcast big football (i.e. soccer) matches when they’re on, otherwise it’s usually catchy Arabic music videos.
Koshari el Tahrir – A quick good koshari can be had here by all at this local takeaway spot. The name comes from the fact that the original one was (and still is) located just off Tahrir Square, while another is located on Tahrir Street across the Nile in the Dokki neighborhood of Giza a few short blocks from the Cairo Sheraton. A large bowl of koshari will set you back less than a buck and fill you up completely. It’s also vegetarian, so no chance of any food-borne nasties derailing your journey. Oh, and by the way – this local dish has nothing to do with kosher food. The naming is just a coincidence, seriously.