Five times I have eaten in this little restaurant, and five times my companions and I were completely satisfied. That should be reason enough to start my Restaurant Reviews with Al-Tekkia in Cairo although upcoming reviews will not always include only the positive experiences.
The more my steps lead me to Al-Tekkia, the more the difficulties increase to find the place. Well-hidden in a quiet residential area, even the taxi driver wasn't much help. Cairo is a metropolis where you have to provide the taxi driver with information more basic even than the exact address of your destination. But what is more basic than the neighbourhood, in this case Dokki, between the Mohandessin Shooting Club and Musaddaq St., and the name of that lovely little square where the restaurant is situated, and, last but not least, the restaurant's name? Nothing, of course. The Cairo taxi driver doesn't seem to know the Ibn Al-Walid Square at all. Always a good possiblity for assistance, if you've already reached the neighbourhood at least, are that young men on their Vespas, motorbikes and little pick-up trucks delivery services from near-by fast-food outlets, supermarkets, pharmacies etc. There is nothing you can't get delivered to your doorstep in Cairo, food, beverages, medicine, your laundry or even diapers, so you will be easily able to catch one of these helpful guys flitting through the city's jungle.
So, having reached Al-Tekkia, you will have the feeling you have made a real discovery. This feeling can only be disappointed by the discovery that the restaurant is occupied by a noisy laughing crowd of locals and foreigners as well. How did THEY get here? Last time I entered Al-Tekkia, I found a large group of French expatriates and/or tourists, sitting, having the menu translated from Arabic into French, which obviously was a very funny performance, judging from the excessive laughter, which only was surpassed by the clamour from the TV set on the side.
But, have no fear, the menu is written in English, too! Although the all the tables are not always occupied, an advance reservation will prevent disappointment. Your daring will be rewarded with a fine selection of excellent Egyptian and Arabic food. The prices are reasonable. Appetizers known as the Egyptian mezze course, cost between LE 3 and LE 9; a main meal between LE 10 and LE 25. The restaurant's interior is not worth mentioning, only a simple pizzeria decor with white walls and some forlorn pictures that's it! The waiters won't try to excel each other in speed, either, but when it comes to
recommending some selected dishes, there is no end, because almost every menu item is worth recommending.
As usual in Arabic countries, you should try at the beginning of your meal some salads and other starters and you won't regret it. The Tahini is creamy and thick, the olive-topped Babaghanoush is of strong and intensely rich taste. But the Mousakka Beshamel (eggplant combined with ground meat) and the grape leaves stuffed with rice, spices and minced meat are very soft and will bewitch you. For the main course you can choose between a large selection of different beef, rabbit, chicken or duck dishes, coming from the charcoal grill or the oven, served with pommes frites (French fries) or rice. Several times I have had the the Al-Tekkia chicken. It melted in my mouth and tasted great, definitely worth recommending, but ask for Oriental Rice instead of the common white one. Its oriental version is brown and topped with nuts and raisins.
Every visit to Al-Tekkia, I have decided in advance to crown my visit with a dessert, but never have I reached this point. I was simply not able to add to all those yummy, juicy, spicy sauces, salads and meat dishes, anything else. Maybe this is a good reason to try the Al-Tekkia home delivery service? As you now, there isn't anything you can't get delivered to your doorstep in Cairo...
Al-Tekkia. 12 Ibn Al-Walid Square. Dokki. 1 pm until 2 am. Telephone: +2-02-33496673.
A good place to have a look at the Al-Tekkia menu on the internet is at Otlob.com, a Cairo-based internet delivery service displays the menus of some 200 restaurant and fast-food outlets in the city, including Al-Tekkia. http://www.otlob.com
On 64 Lebanon Square, Mohandesseen, Giza (Cairo) can be found the "Maroush Restuarant". The restaurant has a pavement caf which is a place "to be seen", or was until Lebanon Square was demolished to build the new bridge! Maroush has a better restaurant upstairs. It offers something like what was really playing on my mind .. smoking a shisha "tofahah" with apple flavour. The restaurant also serves light snacks, soft drinks and full meals if your appetite can take it. It is relatively expensive but very good Lebanese food.
This a place to keep in mind while considering a nice evening out, not for the food or the service, but because its popular and because of the open air seating. Girls on a night out on their own are well cared for by the waiters, not even stray cats begging from the tables can disturb them.
When we ordered Hommos Maroush with meat (LE8), it came as a regular hommos. The chickpea mash did not taste fresh, including the tasteless mince meat. The tabooula (fine chopped parsley with bulghar wheat and diced tomatoes) and fresh green salad (both LE4.75) were great. We also had three tiny sambousek (LE1.75): the one with cheese filling was delicious, and the spinach sambousek was just brilliant. The Labnah L.E 4.75 was delicious.
Serving two main dishes at the same time proved to be too difficult for the staff there, but eventually, though within fifteen minutes we had both dishes on the table. The steak filet served with mushroom (LE22) came with mashed potatoes and rice. There were two thin slices of meat, cooked dry, and mushrooms and gravy. The Maroush mixed grill (LE26), was good but not excellent. The chicken was good but over grilled and the Kofta was not that tasty. The fries were ok. The tomato and cucumber garnish was excellent.
With more than 50 other items on the menu, try your own luck at Maroush. Our shisha and coffee and juices were all very nice, and our previous tests of shawerma sandwiches were successful. The Om Aly (LE6.50), finally, was one of the best we had: hot from the oven, not too sweet and my company took a very tasty crme caramel dish for LE 5.00
Maroush is on 64 Lebanon Square, Mohandesseen, Giza.
Home delivery is available but prices are topped up with 10 percent.
Opens from 8 am and closes 2 am.
Felfela - Hurghada
The Felfela Restaurants are a chain in Egypt so one will find these in a number of different tourist locations, including Cairo. The one in Hurghada, like many of the others, has excellent facilities, with a water fall in the entrance. The hotel sits on the beach, with layered terraces and the view is excellent.
Unfortunately, we wish we could say the same about the food and service. I eat here with several other people, including the local representative of one of the big tour companies. Each of us had a different dish, including shrimp, roasted chicken and Kabob. None of the food was particularly fresh, including the shrimp, which seemed odd for a seafront restaurant. Most of it was edible, but I would have difficulty saying anything better.
What was particularly surprising was that when the tour company representative, who bought us to the restaurant in the first place, requested that his roasted chicken be returned to the kitchen, he was told in no uncertain terms that this was impossible.
Further, the service was slow to nonexistent. We rarely even saw our waiter.
This type of service is highly unusual in Egypt. Usually, the Egyptians are simply great hosts who are eager to please, and the quality of food is a matter of pride. So it is with regret that we must discourage our readers from this restaurant, but at the same time, advise them that normally one can not go wrong with most other restaurants in Egypt.
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Last Updated: June 5th, 2011