Spiced up, packed with flavor, big portions, colorful and just all-round brilliant food. We’re of course talking about the delicious cuisine of India. Below you’ll find our pick of Cairo’s best Indian restaurants serving everything from classic curries and Moghul food to modern interpretations of pan-Indian cuisine. Do you agree with the choices? Let us know in the comments box below.
Located at the Holiday Inn Citystars, Indira is an exceptional Indian restaurant with plenty of plus points. The interiors are colorful and elegant without being over the top fancy. On our visit, we were shown to our table by a lady dressed in a Saree. The staff is simply superb – friendly, patient, and will happily explain every item on the menu. The food is excellent too. Everything we ordered from the Tandoor (clay oven) was brilliant. The bread basket shows off India’s diverse variety of breads, and the kebabs and tikkas were delicious. The curries, biryanis, and lamb specialties were wonderful thanks to head chef Vikram Ghorpade, arguably Egypt’s best Indian chef. In short, Indira sets the benchmark.
Where: Nasr City (Citystars)
Contact: +20224803006, website
Nawab is a great Indian restaurant tucked away in Zamalek with a strong customer base. The original owners certainly have plenty of form for this kind of thing – they also run Begum in Maadi (see below). But they made their name in Cairo with Nawab some 7 years ago. Nawab’s interiors and staff are nothing to write home about, they’re just okay. But the food is good. Really, really good. In our opinion the chicken butter masala is their top dish. Just mix it up with some steamed rice, and you’ve got a winner. Another brilliant dish is the vindaloo – hot and spicy but oh so good. Don’t miss the Kashmiri pulao, it’s a rice dish flavored with aromatic spices, cashew, almond and raisins. Overall, Nawab is one of Cairo’s most established Indian restaurants and one we’d wholly recommend. But if you’re after the real taste of India then head to Begum, Nawab’s sister restaurant in Maadi to enjoy a world of authenticity unto itself.
Contact: +20227360433, website
Begum is located in Maadi and can be hard to find with the confusing numbered streets so we recommend using Google Maps. This is the sister restaurant of Nawab in Zamalek, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, the interiors are dull and drab. The place is poorly ventilated and the smell sticks to your clothes. The service and waiting staff don’t come close to others on this list, bar Nawab. But on the other hand, the food is phenomenal, delicious, rich, tasty – you get the picture. The prices are ridiculously cheap for what you get. And what is it that you get? The most authentic Indian food in Egypt. Begum flies the flag for authenticity high and proud. Every single item we ordered came nigh on perfect in every regard. When it comes to Indian food, Begum is in a league of its own. It’s as if the restaurant was dug out of Delhi and dropped in Cairo. And then there’s the Indian street food festival Begum hosts. An incredible experience filled with food and music. We can’t wait for the next one!
Contact: +201013100185, website
The Moghul Room
A 5 star Indian restaurant in the shadows of the Great Pyramids of Giza? Oh yes, please! The Moghul Room is set in the renowned Mena House Hotel, famous for accommodating presidents, kings and emperors throughout history. Also known for its enviable location and view of the Pyramids. The restaurant is tucked away in a corner of the beautiful old palace wing of the hotel and has a setting to match. The Moghul Room’s decor is perfectly suitable with lots of nice Indian touches here and there. The curries are superb with the lamb falling right off the bone. Everything from the naan, to the rice, to the papadum are fantastic. All in all, The Moghul Room is an exquisite Indian restaurant by the pyramids. Indians that frequent The Moghul Room often describe it as the best Indian restaurant outside of India. Now that’s something.
Where: Giza (Mena House Hotel)
Contact: +20233773222, website
See that picture above? Look at how vibrant those curries are. See the perfect bake on the bread, and check out the color on those kebabs. The mint chutney’s shade of green suggests the perfect mint to yogurt ratio. It’s a sight for sore eyes brought to you by Maharaja at Ramses Hilton. Presentation is great and all, but this is Indian food and flavor comes first. How does Maharaja fare in this regard? Ridiculously good. It’s one of the few restaurants in Cairo that does justice to the cuisine on offer. Forget the fact that it’s at the Hilton, and strip away all the glitz and glamour of a five star hotel. That’s not what Indian food is about. It’s about the quality of the rice, the use of spices, the freshness of the ingredients, the tenderness of the meat, and above all it’s about a deep love and respect for food. Maharaja at Ramses Hilton knows this. It clear with every bite. It’s delicious, it’s vibrant, it’s tasty, and it’s most certainly fit for a Maharaja.
Where: Corniche El Nil (Ramses Hilton)
Contact: +20225777444, website
Maharani at Le Pacha certainly boasts one of the best interiors of all the Indian restaurants in Cairo. The Indian patterns are everywhere, with Hindu sculptures combining with the back-lit wall art to create a very unique Indian setting. The food is very good too. The kebabs, pakoras (fritters), and biryanis are the stars of this show. And for dessert, the kulfi (Indian-style gelato) is the perfect way to end a lovely subcontinental dinner. The service is brilliant as you’d expect from any of Le Pacha’s restaurants, with the manager himself walking us through the menu and making recommendations. Le Pacha is of course a large docked boat along Zamalek’s river bank, which means dining at Maharani comes with the added bonus of an incredible Nile view. In short, Maharani is a beautifully designed Indian restaurant serving lovely food with a Nile view. We can picture a real Maharani (Maharaja’s wife) dining here.
Where: Zamalek (Le Pacha 1901)
Contact: 19982, website
The Karvin Hotel in Heliopolis is home to Massala, one of Cairo’s best Indian restaurants. Thanks to the excellent food, and the fact that Massala serves alcohol earns them a spot on our list. Unfortunately, the interiors and atmosphere aren’t very appealing. The decor is quite average and just about does the job of creating an Indian setting. The service is generally on the positive side with a team of friendly and polite waiters. Back to the food, it’s spicy and full of flavor. And if you don’t want it spicy, the chef will happily oblige. The butter chicken and naan bread are absolutely delicious. The restaurant is a bit small but the authenticity of the food and the experience fades out all the negatives. One of our favorite things about Massala is that you can wash down a hot curry with a cold beer.
Where: Heliopolis (The Karvin Hotel)
Contact: +20226906458, website
Raj is located at the Fairmont Heliopolis and continually proves to be one of the best in the business. The service is extremely efficient and you can watch the chef work his magic in the open kitchen. The waiting staff is friendly and knowledgeable too. The Indian chef will regularly come out to greet the guests and make sure everything is up to standard whilst taking feedback. The food is very enjoyable as nothing was too spicy. The dishes are the most balanced out of all the Indian restaurants in Cairo. The Zafrani Chicken, garlic naan bread and variety of rice dishes are very tasty indeed. And thankfully, nothing is too oily. Overall, Raj is a brilliant restaurant with the ability to please Indians and Egyptians alike.
Where: Heliopolis (Fairmont Heliopolis Hotel)
Contact: +20222677730, website
By definition, Manipuri is a form of Indian dance. But Cairo will come to know it as one of the best places to enjoy Indian food. And who knows, you might end up dancing after your meal because, yes, it’s that good! Manipuri replaces the iconic Buddha Bar at the Sofitel, so you still get those massive ceiling to floor windows offering a stellar view of the Nile. The decor is beautiful with red and orange hues running through. The lighting creates a luxurious atmosphere. The food is packed with Indian flavors, and the staff will make a note of how spicy you like it. From start to finish, the food is magnificent. Egyptians love butter chicken, and Manipuri makes one hell of a butter chicken dish. Rice or naan, both are cooked very well and will go nicely with all the curries. The chicken tikka from the tandoor is out of this world. Manipuri is one of the newest Indian restaurants in Cairo but it’s hit the ground running. Excellent food, subtle decor, and top notch service.
Where: Zamalek (Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah)
Contact: +20227373737, website