I’ve been up to Alexandria a couple of times now and while Alex, as everyone calls its here in Egypt, is beautiful, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. Instead of the calm and idyllic sea-side resort I had conjured up in my mind, I found Alex to be a very busy and a very loud city! However, Alexandria is famous for its food – lauded to be the best in the country – so here are my Alex food adventures! Also, a big thank you to all my the friends who have shown me around and introduced me to the local cuisine!
Following Alexandrian tradition, one must have breakfast at Mohamed Ahmed (17 Shakour Street), because its serves Egypt’s most famous taamia. The place is frequented by locals and tourists alike – there is a visitors wall that even includes Queen Sophia of Spain. The restaurant is nothing fussy, everything is served in aluminium dishes, but the food lives up to its reputation. The taamia (Egyptian falafel) are delicious and the shakshouka (scrambled eggs with tomatoes and peppers) are perfect!
You should also try Alban Swisra (Camp Citzar, Port Saiid Avenue), which is a local institution that serves everything covered in their special cheese sauce! We had Frankfurter sausages, fried chicken, and kofta all served with cheese sauce. While this may not strike you as an obvious choice, let yourself be surprised and go on a food adventure! It’ll be delicious! Plus, this place also serves as a local grocery store, making it truly unique.
While you’re walking around and exploring the city don’t forget to venture into one of the local cafes, where they will serve you a perfect coffee or tea. Be warned though…the Egyptians like a lot of sugar in everything!
Of course, Alex is famous for its fish, so you must go and have some! While everyone swears by their favourite fish restaurant, the Greek Club (Corniche, Anfushi), is probably the best known restaurant in town. A reputation well deserved, the location and décor are beautiful, with blue and white chairs and a great view across Alexandria’s harbour!
Another true Alexandrian institution, though the very opposite of the Greek Club, is Balbaa (Malak Hifny Street), serving fish and meat, grilled and fried. It is the size of small football stadium and includes several stories. It’s loud and packed and not for the faint hearted. However, it serves some great local treats – the fish, served open and grilled with onion and tomatoes is an absolute must try – so go and be brave!
Finally, a special treat – Friske. Only available along the North Coast, it is a must when you’re up there. It is a wafer that comes plain and simple or with three different delicious flavours – peanuts, coconut and sesame. Yum Yum!!