If you’ve ever visited Egypt, you’ll immediately notice how the locals have an unfettered love affair with Egyptian food, whether it’s the unmatched foul sandwich they pick up from their favorite foul cart before they commute to work or that famous bowl of hot koshari that can be enjoyed at the wee hours after midnight.
Along with these local delicacies, there’s also the all-star contender loved and adored by everyone all over Egypt: the mighty seafood. Across the country, you’ll find a spot that knows how to gather crowds of hungry customers because of its delicious catch. Now, let’s take a look at the best of the best across Egypt!
Bahary Restaurant (Cairo)
Most of the time, dining at a seafood restaurant in Egypt isn’t the most luxurious experience, which is why if you’re craving a more extravagant dining experience, Bahary is the place to go. This restaurant, which first entered the seafood market in 1995, currently boasts a modern design in New Cairo that stands behind massive glass panes with three spacious floors.
Word to the wise, go before 7 pm. This seafood eatery is known to be packed most days of the week, to the point where they’d have an ongoing wait list that they’d postpone for an hour ahead.
Following the hassle of getting a seat, you’ll also indulge in a delicious high-quality seafood feast. The restaurant has an extensive shrimp menu along with its fish menu. We recommend going for its creamy seafood soup that’s packed with a generous serving of shrimp, calamari, crab and fish. Besides that, you need to try its barboon (small fried fish), fried shrimp, and Denis fish made with oil and lemon. You may find its overall price hefty, though, but it’s worth it.
Aroos El Bahr (Alexandria)
Knowing that Alexandria is a seaside town, there’s this constant ongoing debate on the best seafood spot among locals, with some top contenders including Farag, Seagull, and Zefir. Yet, nothing beats the seafood eatery known as Aroos El Bahr. Nestled within one of the many streets that branch out of Alexandria’s corniche in Bahari is this much-beloved seafood spot. Surrounded by glass on all sides with a massive lacquered blue ceiling decorated with fish and mermaids, sitting inside will feel like you’re journeying underwater.
The best part about Aroos El Bahr is that its seafood is directly sourced from the surrounding Mediterranean Sea, meaning that you’ll get to dine on fresh and succulent fish. A must-try is its unique besaria, which are finger-sized, deep-fried fish — you’ll feel like eating a pack of salty chips.
If you or any of your family or friends love shrimp, we recommend going for its grilled jumbo shrimps, as they’re perfectly juicy and packed with flavor.
Of course, you cannot go to a seafood restaurant without trying out the fish. Go for either its grilled Denise, Sengari Aroos or deep-fried Musa.
The Fish Market (Port Said)
Imagine eating a massive seafood feast for just 200 LE. That’s the kind of experience you’ll get by heading to Post Said’s own fish market. Probably the most raucous and lively spot across Port Said, visitors and locals constantly flock to the fish market, which is made up of intersecting pathways lined with stalls dedicated to different fishmongers with their names hung above on flailing signs.
As you pass by each stall, you’ll get called over by fishmongers telling you to try out their latest catch. You’ll see some interesting types of fish including the spindly eel, known as a favorite among Port Said locals.
You even get to call the shots by picking the fishmonger of your choice, heading to their stall and pointing at your picks for a seafood-fueled dinner. We recommend picking tiny crabs, bouri fish, and a hefty sample of orange-hued shrimp.
All of your picks will be placed in a black plastic bag, which you’ll take to one of the many open kitchens available and ask the chef to cook them to your liking, whether grilled, fried, etc. Then, you get to sit on an elongated table at the market and enjoy the meal.
Known as the meeting point between the East and West, Suez is the port city that acts as the beating hub of Egypt. It houses one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes, the Suez Canal, that connects Asia to Europe. Many flock to the city to witness the Canal, but along with that, they also get a taste of the city’s delicious and popular seafood scene.
Back in Suez, there’s one seafood eatery that we recommend visiting. Known as Fares, it’s one of the oldest and most famous fish restaurants in Egypt that serves a wide variety of fish, shrimp, and the like.
At the restaurant, you need to try its butterfly shrimp drizzled in that creamy lemon sauce as well as its buttery-cooked fish and squid tagine. The menu is quite extensive, so prepare yourself to browse and pick out an entire feast of seafood.
Haj Kamel ElShe’eri Fish Restaurant (Ras Sedr)
At the underrated locality known as Ras Sedr, you won’t just get to enjoy orange-hued sunsets and a cozy family trip to the beach, you’ll also get to indulge in a delicious feast of budget-friendly seafood. You’ll probably be staying at one of the resorts or compounds dotted along the water, so you’ll need to take your car and head to the town of Ras Sedr itself which can be an average ride of 30 minutes.
At the town, head to Haj Kamel ElShe’eri Fish Restaurant. This seafood spot isn’t the best in terms of looks but we promise that it serves up a delicious seafood experience.
Compared to Aroos El Bahr and Bahary, the menu options are more on the limited side but you’ll definitely find the basics. You can pick from its fresh crab, fish, sardines, clams, squid, and more. With each of these seafood picks, you can cook them to your liking whether grilled, fried or baked with lemon and oil.
Haj Kamel ElShe’eri is probably one of the tastiest spots on this list, so drop it a visit if you ever hit up Ras Sedr.
Hooda El Gondol (Alexandria)
For the adventurous foodies out there who don’t mind heading to underrated, hidden spots that serve food in unique and new ways, Hooda El Gondol needs to be on your seafood bucket list. Seeping with history, this special spot opened up back in 1987. Merely entering it is an adventure in itself, as you’ll need to walk through a bustling, narrow alleyway surrounded by houses on both sides. The volume will get louder as you get closer to the kitchen, where several sellers pile masses of shrimp and fish on large pans.
This special spot has this fast food and street food nature to it like a buzzing beehive of flowing fish, shrimp, and the like. You can get seated at the alleyway or upstairs where it’s quieter.
But before heading up, you make your order, and the usual go-to is a set plate of five types of seafood: several shrimps, one large grilled Bouri fish, a couple of slices of fried fillet fish, one small fried Barboon fish, two fingers of fish kofta. And the best part is that this packed plate of seafood is, surprisingly, budget-friendly.
Knowing that Egypt has such a wide variety of seafood options for diners to pick from including the luxurious Bahary and the budget-friendly Hooda El Gondol, it’s plain to see how seafood is integral to Egypt’s culinary identity.