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Muhammad Mazhar, AZ Zamalek, Egypt
L'Auberine restaurant, on Zamalek
, is a favourite hang-out of rich young Egyptians. Downstairs is a dimly lit, slightly cramped restaurant, that used to be the only purely vegetarian restaurant in Cairo. Nowadays, meat is also on the menu, although there is still a wide variety of half decent veggie fare. Prices are a little on the high side, and if the serving staff are not always that friendly, at least they are efficient.
The real action at L'Aubergine, though, is in the bar upstairs. Even more cramped and dingy than the restaurant, the bar is the province of the younger Cairo jet set, but has a great atmosphere. It actually feels like being in a Western style bar, especially since you have to pay at the bar for each drink you buy, which is unusual in Egypt.
There is live music at L'Aubergine each week, and it's also a popular place to watch the football. Don't expect to get a seat though, and warm your vocal chords up thoroughly before entering: you're going to have to shout to be heard!