Winter calls for slight variations in restaurant ordering habits. Although you may be prone to crave heavy fried foods or steaks in some attempt to protect yourself from the cold with a stomach barricade of fat, one of your better and lighter bets is to order a soup! Many soups are fatty and creamy, so the heavy-food junkie will be at least momentarily satisfied, but at least soups are warm and comforting in this spotty winter weather and the liquid in them will help increase your fluid intake as is generally prescribed in flu-inducing weather.
Restaurants have different takes on the decadence and care with which they create and present their soups. Some people leave their onion soup chunky, others add cream and puree it to an even consistency. Tomato soup also has a range of spice additions and creaminess levels. The following is just small selection of Cairo restaurants but each has a soup that has stood out, particularly in the warm, comforting, and decadent category!
Onion soup: Crave, Zamalek
With just enough onion bits to give the traditional onion soup feeling chopped small enough to keep you from dripping onion pieces off your spoon and out of your mouth, the chefs at Crave have found harmony in their fabulous onion soup. The toast is cheesy enough and yet you can cut it with a spoon (a very important characteristic of a practical French Onion Soup Gratinee).
Crave – 22A Dr. Taha Hussein Street, Zamalek – 02-2736-3870
Potato soup: Lucille's, Maadi
Only served on Tuesday due to Lucille’s very adamantly followed soup schedule, the potato soup there is definitely the best of the soups on Lucille’s list. Thick and full of potato chunks, this soup has the right consistency to keep you going between bites of perfectly cooked potato. Flavored generously with cheese, this soup is likely to keep you wanting more so have a little cup (a small portion) and move on to a main dish. Otherwise, order the bowl, but keep in mind that the bowl of soup at Lucille’s is a meal in itself!
Lucille's – 54 Rd. 9A, Maadi – 02-2359-2778
St. Germain soup (pea soup): Tamarai, Corniche El Nil
This pea soup fantasy may be pricey but it is a personal winter favorite. Put together by chef Marc, this soup is ‘cappucino’– served with a little foam on top. For those who cringe at the thought of peas, have no fear–this is a creamy yummy soup and that is all you have to know. It has nothing to do with the taste of the little sauteed peas you may have been forced to eat as a child. So if you can convince yourself to head out to Tamarai for dinner in the next month or so, order the St. Germain!
Tamarai – Nile City Towers, Northern Tower, Corniche El Nil (Ramlet Boulak) – 010-147-2886
Chicken corn soup: L'Asiatique, Le Pacha Boat, Zamalek
It is hard to pick out just one food from L’Asiatique's fabulous Asian-inspired menu, but for a winter starter, nothing will do better than the chicken corn soup. A mild, heartwarming soup, the chicken corn is thick and yet not creamy (due to some Chinese combination of magical ingredients). L’Asiatique’s service is such that you will receive your soup steaming hot, so be careful not to burn your tongue and kill your taste buds before getting to the rest of your meal.
L'Asiatique, Le Pacha Boat – Saray El Gezira St., Zamalek – 02-2735-6730
Tomato soup (with garlic bread): Cellar Door Bistro, Maadi
Even before Cellar Door Bistro was Cellar Door Bistro (when it was still just Le Petit Swiss Chalet), it was know for its fabulous soup and garlic bread. Cairo residents who were ‘in the know’ (as you all are now) would flock from all districts of the city to slurp, dip and devour Le Petit Swiss Chalet soup with the freshly made garlic bread, perfectly shaped for soup dipping. Beware, the waiters will realize your plan as you order basket after basket of the bread – in fact, they may have started charging for extra bread baskets, but the combination is worth it.
Cellar Door Bistro – 9 Rd. 151, Maadi – 02-2359-8328