3 Strikes: Hotel Restaurants.

I’ve not had the energy to write up reviews for some of the restaurants I’ve been to recently; but after a 3rd attempt at having supposedly high end dining experience at some of the hotels in Cairo, I can’t keep silent any longer. I went to 3 different hotels and 3 different restaurants; Okashi, at the Hyatt Regency; JW Steakhouse at the Zamalek Marriot; and Shogun at the Intercontinental city stars.

The reviews will come over the next couple of days, but right off the bat, you should know that all 3 were experiences I would not repeat; it seems hotel restaurants follow the time-honored tradition of the Egyptian Tourist trap, promising much more than they can deliver at ridiculous prices.

If you must go to a hotel restaurant, temper your expectations: these restaurants are designed for those who value style over substance. I’d take a business client, or a romantic interest there – especially if the company was paying and my guest seemed like the kind of person who thinks anything with “Le” prefixed before it automatically qualifies as “Gourmet”. Most do not go there for the food; instead they go there for the status conferred to them for having been there.

Hotel restaurants are supposed to be at the pinnacle of the local food industry; yet they fall short so often, relying only on lazy tourists and starry eyed lovers to occupy their seats. And while our country entertains millions of tourists a year, I’m left wondering why there is only one hotel restaurant dedicated to serving Egyptian Food (the fantastic Kebabgy at Sofitel Gezirah).

Anyway, my rant is done, but the search continues.

Cooking Time 5 minutes


About Wesam E Masoud
Chef Patron of @chefsmarketmasr, Host of @CBCSofra's #matbakh101. I have one degree in Medicine & 3rd degree burns from cooking.

8 Responses to 3 Strikes: Hotel Restaurants.

  1. Alia says:

    well ranted 🙂
    (i think starry eyed lovers who drench themselves there are also compensating for lack of substance)

  2. Silverfoot says:

    You my friend are spot on. But I do have to correct your latter comment about hotels not serving Egyptian food that is false.

    – Zamalek Mariott
    – Mena House
    – Sheraton Heliopolis
    – Intercon City Stars

    The list goes on…

    • Wesam Masoud says:

      Do not fall into the familiar trap of thinking that a Lebanese Restaurant qualifies as Egyptian, just because it serves stuffed grape leaves and tahina. The Intercontinental City Stars does not have an Egyptian Restaurant – but they do have an outdoor cafe that hosts and “Egyptian Night” every week.

      The Zamalek Marriott and Fairmont Heliopolis both have restaurants called “Egyptian Nights” as your standard cookie cutter confused Egyptian restaurant; I hate to say this, but Abou El Seed is much better, and infinitely more authentic, than these two options. I did think the belly dancer at the Fairmont was cute – but she turned out to be Lebanese, so once again, I was tricked.

      We can name hotels, but we can’t name specific Egyptian restaurants at these hotels; conversely, if I were to ask about Italian, Indian or Chinese, we’d all be able to spout off an entire list that wouldn’t have to “go on…”. The point remains: Egyptian Hotels are not known for their Egyptian Restaurants; only their restaurants serving international cuisine. If this wasn’t the case, then the answer to “Which is the best restaurant to have Egyptian food” would not be Abou El Seed.

  3. Silverfoot says:

    Yes I gues a lot of the restaurants do claim to be Lebanese that’s true. But actually the answer to that question is Andrea! And I still stand by my earlier (unrecorded) comment that the Mena House has a kick ass one…At least it did 15 years ago when I used to go with my parents.

    • Wesam Masoud says:

      But Andrea isn’t part of a hotel, is it?

      As for the Mena House; you’re right about it having an Egyptian restaurant – perhaps we need to check it out?

  4. Kareem says:

    You might wanna add Zeitouneh at the four seasons, the Lebanese restaurant at the Heliopolis Fairmont both the Lebanese and the Italian restaurants at semiramis intercontinental to the list of disappointing dining spots…
    Zeitounih and the intercontinental used to be good at some point… as for the Fairmont it was a first time visit so i can’t comment on the decline but it was by far the worst experience…

    The waiter at the Fairmont was incompetent in general and got one order wrong… the food was standard fast food lebanese, nothing spectacular, the grilled meat was overcooked and get this we had to send back 2 glasses and 3 forks because they were not clean… i’m not talking fingerprints here, i’m talking bits of food stuck to the fork or the glasses… plus two of the plates (i think they were Tahini and such) had splashes of the dish on the side of the plate… didn’t even bother wiping the sides of the plate before bringing it over…

    A very disappointing experience

  5. Mister Hanky the Christmas Poo says:

    I must second Silverfoot’s nomination of Andrea (in Moqattam). There is not a finer meal to be had anywhere in Cairo. And our correspondent is correct, it is not part of a hotel.

  6. Seedi Abidurahmean says:

    Kauka basha likes zees places much.

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