The quest for Cairo’s best sushi

Though we’ve been teased with moderate temperatures for the past two weeks, summer is here in Cairo and it is here to stay. If you love sushi, you better hurry up and catch as many nigiri and maki meals as possible before it’s too hot to be sure your raw fish is safe.

As sushi fanatics, we often search for excuses to eat more sushi (“It’s fish! It’s great for dieting”; “It’s raw–not cooked in fats”; “It’s full of vegetables!”) and in rating some of Cairo’s best sushi restaurants we created the best and most extensive excuse of all. With a team of our favorite sushi eaters, we hit the streets of Cairo for a week-long sushi-eating extravaganza. Here are the results:

Makani – Maadi, Mohandiseen and Heliopolis

A hub of sushi-creativity by Cairene standards, Makani boasts low prices and a wide variety of rolls. Makani’s main downfall is its lack of consistency. Although it is rare to be served questionable sushi at Makani, often one may be served a very different version of the same roll depending on the day, the Makani restaurant and, perhaps, the chef. As long as your taste buds are relatively flexible, you will appreciate Makani’s risk-taking combinations and special sauces.  

Recommended: Geisha, Volcano, Crispy Flying Salmon, and Spider

L’Asiatique – Le Pacha

Dubbed one of the region’s best restaurants, L’Asiatique offers not only sushi, but also a number of dishes from India, China, Thailand and Japan. In fact, sushi is not necessarily the focus at L’Asiatique and this is perhaps why they have not bothered to develop their selection. They recently created a new list of interesting rolls but you’ll find the list of ingredients redundant as most amount to just standard rolls with the mere addition of cheese. But one cannot argue about the quality at L’Asiatique. Never had we tasted such fresh salmon sashimi. L’Asiatique’s have a couple a superstars hidden away in the form of new rolls, and you can make a half-order of a rolls, which is good because they are very expensive. Prices are around LE100 for eight pieces.

Recommended: Dragon Fire Roll and Salmon Sashimi

Aqua – Four Seasons Nile Plaza

Despite its fabulous setting and incredibly chichi locale in the Four Seasons, Aqua has a terrible reputation for its all-you-can-eat Tuesdays. Aqua’s sushi is very good on a regular night but it makes Aqua fans a little upset to see the restaurant’s generosity on Tuesdays tarnished by the low quality mishmash of sushi and roll selections.

Recommended: Pick another Four Season’s restaurant

Shogun – Intercontinental City Stars

The path leading to Shogun at the Intercontinental City Stars allows for enough anticipation to make the arrival exciting! A very pricey option for sushi in Cairo, it has the exciting possibility of sitting at the tepenyaki grill or a romantic table for two in the corner. Shogun has developed a number of new maki rolls and offers lovely fresh sushi and great service. Because it is buried away inside the Intercontinental complex and requires reservations, Shogun is not necessarily the place to drop in to whenever you want a bite. A trip here may require planning.

Recommended: Ask the waiters what fabulous rolls are secretly in their roll repertoire but not officially on the menu.

Grand Hyatt – Okashi

Okashi is a small Japanese restaurant under Hyatt’s lobby that serves teppenyaki and sushi. Okashi has only ten tables. The eel sushi and the salmon rolls were very good. Once again, Okashi is a sushi restaurant that’s flexible and they will make any roll you want. Their teppenyaki is also fabulous, especially the calamari, salmon or shrimp and the fried rice with shrimp. Their combination set menu runs from LE200 to LE400, and the sushi at this establishment is generally more expensive than Makani. You will not pay under LE200 for your meal.

Recommended: If you know what you want, tell them to make it–otherwise order the eel sushi or the calamari teppenyaki.

Gaya – Maddi:

Gaya is the kind of place you recommend to friends. It’s a cute little restaurant with a friendly staff that stands in a corner in quiet Maadi. They offer mainly Korean cuisine, but also serve excellent sushi as well. As you enter the restaurant you are ushered to one of the tables separated by short wooden walls and offered a free miso soup. The prices are surprisingly reasonable (LE160 for a two-person sushi meal with appetizers) and the atmosphere alone allows you a trip to the East that you won’t forget.

Recommended: Try to mix and match between your sushi and Korean appetizers. A killer combination.

Bob Sushi – Dokki and Heliopolis:

Don’t visit Bob Sushi in Dokki. The tiny place stands in a small cornor by the Galla Square and can serve a maximum of only two tables. Bob Sushi, however, delivers sushi to you in most areas around Dokki and Heliopolis, including Garden City and Mohandessin. So, if you are home alone with an appetite for sushi, take a look at their menu, pick your favorite rolls, pick up the phone, and 45 minutes later they’ll be at your table. 16 rolls won’t cost you more than 120LE with delivery charges.

Recommended: The place doesn’t offer a set of rolls but allows you to pick per piece. So, if you are crazy about sake sushi and unagi sushi, order as much as you want of the two with an eight-piece set of California rolls.

Mori Sushi – Zamalek:

Mori Sushi has a postmodern feel. Rather than the usual Chinese red lightballs and dragon-fans hanging on the walls, Mori features a modern, lounge-like atmosphere. They offer a wide variety of Japanese food including sushi and a number of different sets of rolls from between six and 36 rolls per set. The food is excellent at Mori, but what really stands out is the delicious drinks menu. If you include a glass of wine or sake with your meal expect the prices to be around 300LE for a two-person meal.

Recommended: Celebrate a special occasion at Mori Sushi and try to pick a time when the bar isn’t full of Zamalek youngsters. They adore the place but make for a rather noisy atmosphere when present.

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