12 Talaat Harb Street
11111 Cairo, Egypt
tel: +20 (0)2 25743102
NileGuide Expert tip:
Estoril can get quite busy on Thursdays, so the atmosphere is less intimate, and it's advisable to book in advance
, Middle Eastern
Estoril is a cosy restaurant/bar tucked down an alley in Downtown
. It's a small place, and although the smart tables are close together, it still feels quite intimate. The lighting is soft, and the atmosphere muted. There is no music, so soft conversation provides the aural backdrop.
Estoril is decorated in a restrained, classy fashion: modern Arabic paintings adorn the walls, and there are a few mashrabia screens dotted about. The end of the room is dominated by a heavy wooden bar, complete with mashrabia panelling, and an ornate, gilded mirror.
The staff are usually very welcoming, and the service is generally good: attentive and efficient, without being fussy. The menu at Estoril consists of classic Arabic dishes, many of which have been given a French twist. Start your meal with a selection of hot and cold mezze, and move on to a main of chicken, beef or veal. The chicken with molokheiya is pretty good. There's also a good selection of seafood, and – unusually for Egypt – a decent choice of quality veggie dishes. Finish with fresh fruit salad, or a traditional sweet mihallabiya.
Don't feel rushed to leave after your meal – grab a stool next to the beautiful bar, and linger over a drink or two.
Note that Estoril can be rather hit and miss. Sometimes the food and service is great; other times it's mediocre at best. And some nights, especially at weekends, the bar can be rather boisterous, whereas other nights it's all but dead. It's worth turning up to see what's going on, because there are lots of other places nearby like The Greek Club
and Le Grillon