Din­ing Out

Eat­ing well in lean times

Business monthly (Egypt) - - INSIDE -

Sabai Sabai Metro Tow­ers build­ing, 1 El Gezi­rah El Wosta, Za­malek, 010-0170-2827

To­day’s av­er­age res­tau­rant-goer knows all about heir­loom toma­toes and Miche­lin stars. But the truth is that the best restau­rants are neigh­bor­hood spots—sim­ply dec­o­rated and de­cently lit—usu­ally not too far from where you live. Tida Loabuppa, the friendly, diminu­tive owner of Za­malek’s Sabai Sabai, which spe­cial­izes in the de­li­cious cui­sine of her home coun­try of Thai­land, un­der­stands one of the key prin­ci­ples of run­ning a small busi­ness: do what­ever you can to keep your reg­u­lars happy. The menu pro­vides brief, help­ful de­scrip­tions of the var­i­ous dishes; high­lights in­clude the Som Thum Thai (LE 21), “tra­di­tional Thai pa­paya salad with a unique com­bi­na­tion of veg­eta­bles and dried shrimp” with tangy, spicy dress­ing and the Dim Sum (LE 54), a plate of half a dozen steamed Thai-style won­tons stuffed with a de­li­cious veg­etable fill­ing served with a small bowl of sweet brown sauce. Sabai Sabai has a loyal clien­tele of largely ex­pa­tri­ate reg­u­lars who keep com­ing back for the good food and the friendly, comfy vibe, not to men­tion the avail­abil­ity of beer.

Pi­noy 47 Road 263, Maadi, 2754-7745

A “hole in the wall” usu­ally has a sense of au­then­tic­ity, as if Mama and Grandma were back in the kitchen, mea­sur­ing out spices by the hand­ful. Or the term can sug­gest a less than sa­vory sit-down ex­pe­ri­ence that’s one step be­low bare bones. For­tu­nately, Pi­noy, in Maadi, Cairo’s first and so far only Filipino eatery—lives up to the best parts of the hole-in-the-wall stereo­type: gen­er­ous por­tions of good food served in a cozy, un­pre­ten­tious space. You can eas­ily spend an hour por­ing over its de­tailed, quirky menu, which fea­tures elab­o­rate de­scrip­tions of the 20plus main dishes, to say noth­ing of the of­fer­ings in the Ap­pe­tiz­ers, Noo­dles, Rice and Break­fast cat­e­gories. The Beef Siomai Dumplings (five pieces for LE 25) is a starter that prom­ises to “make you know what true love re­ally means,” while the Siopao (two pieces for LE 15) is billed as a Chi­nese-style steamed bun “but we made it bet­ter.” Pi­noy’s menu is an­chored by meat, fish and veg­etable dishes jazzed up by trop­i­cal touches such as co­conut milk and tamarind.

O’s Pasta 159 26 July St., Za­malek, 010-0415-5756

You might have trou­ble find­ing O’s Pasta, a tiny res­tau­rant off busy 26 July Street in Za­malek, on a nar­row side street across from Abou El Sid. The gi­ant cur­sive O above the res­tau­rant’s blue an­tique wooden doors is the big­gest thing about the place. The res­tau­rant is a one-room won­der, with an open kitchen tak­ing up one-third of the room and five ta­bles com­pris­ing the din­ing area, which fea­tures quirky

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