Food Review: Ayadina in Heliopolis

Ayadina's doors
Ayadina's doors
Ayadina’s doors

Tucked away in one of the side streets of regularly traffic-oozing Heliopolis, Ayadina presents itself as the perfect serene hideaway. And what could be better, especially with amazing shisha flavors, awesome Lebanese delicacies and a really cool interior?

interiorPast the bright blue doors and prettily adorned stairs, which leave you wondering what lies behind them, you’re greeted into a large seating area with different table set ups. Once you get over the hideaway feeling, you start taking in the colorful hues that dominate the place – blue, purple, pink, lime green and beige tones.

Mirrors are scattered and stuck to the ceiling, while revamped vintage chairs in canvas and suede blue, purple, pink and beige match the dangling colored glass chandeliers and light fixtures at Ayadina.

The colour theme reminded me a bit of Caracas, another Lebanese restaurant that started out in Mohandessin then 6th of October, but definitely the feel and service here are completely different; truly elegant, clean and cheerful.

With screens displaying a mix of Lebanese music clips and famous sites around Lebanon, the place isn’t too stuffy with shisha smoke inside, which is great given that at most places it is.

So after a long drive, I sat down, ordered a shisha, mint lemonade (which arrived nicely chilled and minty green) and had a look at what seemed to be a huge menu, while the very friendly waiter stood by.

As any Lebanese restaurant in the capital would, the menu had your typical selection of salads and appetizers, but I noticed the kiwi tabbouleh, which seemed quite interesting, and a keba mohamassa in the hot mezza section, which was a version of fried meat coated in toasted almonds.

The rest of the menu included kebbeh nayya, mashawi , fatta, manakich, arrayes, shawarma, desserts – all of course incorporating an Egyptian item or two (I even noticed Mokh Panee on there) to please the majority.

Ayadina's Tabouleh
Ayadina’s Tabouleh

I went for a kebbeh arnabiyeh, which is a pot of kobebah immersed in caramel-colored gravy with potatoes, a tabbouleh and a batata harra (which I can never get enough of). The order took approximately 45 minutes, which is a bit late given that I ordered only three things (I would have definitely tried more if I wasn’t on my own, as everything looked delicious).

The bread was fresh, floury and hot out of the oven. The tabbouleh was fresh, but needed more lemon, and the batata harra was crispy soft and perfectly seasoned and spiced, tossed in parsley, coriander, chili and garlic chips.

The kebbeh arnabiyeh was perfectly spiced on the inside and came with no potatoes, unfortunately, but little onions. I could taste the pomegranate molasses in the sauce with an undertone of yogurt and lemon, which are the main components – really scrumptious.

The service overall is solid, portions are generous and the staff is very clean, which I was happy with.

To my disappointment, I found that the bill was a bit high, totaling approximately 280 EGP with tax. The cost would have been reasonable if it was split between two for the items ordered. So, word of advice: Drag a friend, head down there and order lots of things because it’s really worth it and there’s plenty to try!

3 Cleopatra Street, Heliopolis
Phone: 01023331599



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