egypt / Food. / Good Times / Tourism / Travel

Alexandria: Grub Hunt

I’m not sure I even want to be writing this post right now, because this last week of travel/vacation has seen me eating such large quantities of food and sweets that just thinking about food makes me feel like a slug.

However…a slug with a very satisfied set of tastebuds.

Everyone we talked to before going to Alexandria advised us to go to two places–The Greek Club and Mohamed Ahmed. The former being a shwanky Greek restaurant (obviously) known for being a bit overpriced but popular for its beautiful view overlooking the entire harbor, and the latter was described to us as “the best foul and falafel (ta’amiyya) in Egypt!”

If you attach the word “best” to anything, I feel like I’m probably obligated to eat it at least once. So we started with Mohammed Ahmed for a late lunch our first day, on a little side street very close to our hotel.  The place was clearly very busy and very popular with locals, but had English menus–always makes ordering that much faster.

Alexandrian foul, fries, pickled veggies, salad, and a bit of the hummus in view.

Alexandrian foul, fries, pickled veggies, salad, and a bit of the hummus in view.

We got a typical sort of grouping of Egyptian mezze, ranging from a salad, hummus and omelette to “Alexandrian” foul, falafel, and some of the crispiest and most delicious fries I’ve had in Egypt–all this with a side of bread, of course.

Little golden fried balls of happiness.

Little golden fried balls of happiness.

The hummus was reasonably good, but not quite a match for my Levantine standards. The fries were delicious, as was the foul–they kept the beans more intact than a lot of other places here where the foul is more creamy, and added a little mystery sauce on top that was great. We had some wonderful beets as well, but for me the real star of the show was indeed the falafel (which, confusingly in contrast to the rest of Egypt, was called falafel and not ta’amiyya) which was crispy and hot and just SO GOOD. Definitely worth the trek to Alexandria and all the hype it got! The only thing that failed to pass the test was the omelette–they cooked it in so much oil that that was basically all you could taste.

The harbor as seen from the Greek Club

The harbor as seen from the Greek Club

Saturday night, our last night in Alexandria, we decided to go a bit fancier and stroll down to The Greek Club for the infamous sunset views on the terrace. We got there a bit late, so the tables right on the edge of the terrace were all full, but I persuaded the cook making fresh pita bread in a secluded side area to let me into the back to take photos over the wall with a clear view. 10 points to me for persuasion.

Fresh balls of bread dough waiting to be flattened and placed into a burning hot oven where they would puff up and become pita.

Fresh balls of bread dough waiting to be flattened and placed into a burning hot oven where they would puff up.

Definitely lovely and serene.

Definitely lovely and serene.

We decided to treat ourselves first with a bottle of wine (Omar Khayyam, an Egyptian brand, of course) but after that, I mostly left the menu selection to my friend, because she is in fact Greek and actually knew what all of those things were.

A friend if ever there was one.

A friend if ever there was one.

…I’ll be honest, I’ve now forgotten the names of most of those things.

But! I do remember they were tasty. We started with an extremely fresh salad with bits of feta, olives, tomatoes, onions, etc (and of course lots of fresh bread) and a small dish of “just okay” tzatziki sauce. However, the star of the meal was some grilled octopus tentacle–a bit chewy in practice, but actually had quite good flavor! My only real complaint is that it cost WAY too much for only coming out with ONE tentacle. There definitely should have been at least two, for 60 pounds!

Don't knock it till you try it.

Don’t knock it till you try it.

We also ordered a plate of what I can only describe as french fries of the sea–some little baitfish (or something along those lines) that were battered and fried and easy to just pop into your mouth one after another. They did have a fishier taste, but I enjoyed them all the same.

IMG_2238

I’m starting to feel like I’ll eat just about anything if you put enough fried batter on it. Probably not good.

Although we ate a lot and were quite full, we decided we had to leave a little room for dessert on the way home, because Alexandria was just OVERFLOWING with ice cream stores and mobile stands. It seemed like it would be a crime for us to be surrounded by it all weekend and never try it. So, while walking back up the corniche, we pulled into one of the many stores and ordered some mango ice cream and another dish we saw all over the place, “couscousy”.

IMG_8193EDIT

Couscousy. Not a thing I was aware of before.

The couscousy was pretty much a sweet plate of couscous (shocking, I know) with crushed nuts, golden raisins, and sort of a sweet syrup/milk drizzled over the top. I feel like there was also some shredded coconut as well. Overall it was tasty, but the syrup made it very, very sweet.

………Not that that’s ever stopped me.

Overall I was pretty pleased with the offerings of this charming little city!

Now, to go through all my photos from this last journey…

-B

One thought on “Alexandria: Grub Hunt

  1. Pretty sure I would never survive in Egypt because I have yet to see a plate of chicken fingers in any of your posts.

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