NileGuide Expert Says:
Al-Omda offers good, hearty Egyptian food in very relaxed surrounds, and their shishas are excellent.
6 El-Gazayer Street
11435 Cairo, Egypt
+20 (0)2 3346 2703, +20 (0)2 3346 2702, +20 (0)2 3346 2701, +20 (0)2 3345 4320
NileGuide Expert tip:
Since the portions at al-Omda are so large, be careful not to overindulge in the bread that is brought out at the start of the meal!
Al-Omda translates roughly as the "mayor", and this restaurant really is the boss of Egyptian cuisine. Not because it's the best Egyptian food in Cairo (it isn't), or because it's the cheapest (likewise), but because the restaurant just feels really genuine. This is where the locals come for decent food with prices to match.
All the Egyptian staples are here, from fuul to falafel, and fattah to feteer. The Koshary with meat (beef) is particularly good, as is the lamb fattah, and the portions are huge. The décor at al-Omda is traditional arabesque, but without being overbearing or pretentious. Egyptian families often eat here late in to the night, and old men play backgammon whilst smoking shisha pipes and drinking Turkish Coffee.
The corollary to this authentic Egyptian set-up, of course, is that the service is very Egyptian: friendly, attentive, and yet not very efficient. It's all part of the appeal, and you'll hardly mind, since al-Omda is a pleasant space to while away the hours in. Note that al-Omda is also popular with tour groups, so it's probably best to book a table in advance, just in case. Also, no alcohol is served.