Wannas Art Cafe, Luxor 06-2021

After the previous evening of wandering through western Luxor and having a constant number of touts offering us museum tours, hot air balloons, Nile boat rides and restaurants, we thought going somewhere close to Villa Sunrise and before the boat areas might be nice. Wannas had incredibly high reviews (4.9 on Google) and given we had eaten a lot of meat/fish recently and that Middle Eastern is probably my favourite vegetarian food, this vegetarian/vegan place looked a good idea. We wandered down a neighbourhood street, with some families on the streets looking on.

Wannas has a local art gallery attached too, and the owner was only too happy to let us have a look at some of the art pieces. Then it was off to the also art decorated restaurant side, along with the several curious cats hoping to get some of our dinner too.

White beans and tomato tagine EGP45, aubergine tagine EGP40, and a nice salad (can't remember which, maybe oriental) was served with bread and rice. Although some dips would also have been nice (and tend to be served with all meals anyway), we knew the meal sizes were generally too big for us and so a smaller simpler one was fine.

All the dishes were nice, flavoursome and healthy. 40mins wait for food was longer than expected given we were the only ones in the cafe. However as it was quiet summer/Covid season, I think they probably started the kitchen for us. It gave us time to play with the cats and and look at more art.

Cairo Plaza Restaurant, Luxor 06-2021

Our private guide brought us here and it's the only place I told him he shouldn't have. 

It's a buffet style that is FILLED with tour buses and boats chartering them from the other side of the Nile. The quality reflects this. Lukewarm food, stale bread, flavourless watery tahini. Fried fish was good though, crisp and soft, and chicken was ok. Otherwise other food items were pretty tasteless too. There are so many restaurants around it should be easy to find something better. 

Juice was ok.  They charge in Euro (reflecting the touristness) with a good rate actually of 1:15 EGP.

The outdoor area looks nice to sit in although in summer it is too hot to enjoy that anyway.

Unnamed falafel restaurant, Luxor 06-2021

Our guide was keen to take us for a traditional Egyptian breakfast in Luxor, his hometown. With a bright and early 6am start, this unnamed hole in the stone wall building which was indescriptly next to what looked like a plain open sandy walled off section (like an empty carpark) already had some locals waiting outside for their morning falafel.

The turnover of fresh fried falafels filled the air inside, but definitely not in an oil-saturated air way.

Breakfast was served with a traditional ful (fava beans with a boiled egg to mix in), crisp falafels which were very good, salad, pickles, potato fries (average and not crisp unfortunately), aubergine strips, and a soft cheese with cumin. And of course extra cumin and chilli to sprinkle as required.

An excellent and delicious Egyptian breakfast indeed. I'm sure a local will be able to find the location again for me if needed...

Villa Sunrise, Luxor 06-2021

We wandered around the east banks of Luxor and didn't really find anything particularly interesting to eat - there was a nice looking falafel stand and African Cuisine looked ok, but in the end just ended up back at the accommodation. Given the quiet season and us being the only guests at this very cheap place, we thought we'd boost their business a little by getting food too. The upstairs terrace does have some nice views over the Nile and during the day you can see all the way to the temples on the other side.

Tagine fish meal 80EGP was a fish they called moosa (I think, which may be dover sole) from the Red Sea. It was deliciously soft, with some acquired taste bitterness from lime peel that I enjoyed the contrast of. Kofta EGP90 was a simple rough beef mince.  Babaghanoush was a very strongly garlic and chunky version that I really liked alot. Boiled vegetables with dill was simple, plain rice with noodles, but the bread was a bit old and stale. 

A let down compared to the other places we'd eaten were the mango juice EGP25 which was not very sweet, slightly watery.

Overall a simple and nice meal highlighted by the fish stew and babaghanoush.

La Voche, Luxor 06-2021

After lunch at Al Saraya, we had the rest of the day free. I asked our guide (who was from Luxor) where to go for kunefe. He said there was a tea house somewhere that needed a drive to and they made it fresh, but unfortunately nowhere really in town. He then took us to this bakery just down the road as a close option.

It was full of sweet pastries that seem typical for the Middle East and Mediterranean including something that looked like kunefe, but wasn't really. Nonetheless with prices silly low (like 50-100EGP/kg or something), I walked out with so much and so many varieties that we had to give most of it to our hostel staff as we'd never finish it.

Worth a visit for sweets for the road.

Al Saraya, Luxor 06-2021

After arriving from Aswan, we were staying on the quieter west side of Luxor. We parked on an open street next to a wire fence then descended some stairs to what looked like an abandoned place and a bit dilapidated. I probably had a little bit of tunnel vision and didn't notice the outdoor tables and open park-like space next to you. It was honestly too hot at 48C to enjoy the area anyway.

The meal started with soup with pasta, dill, parsley and carrot. Bread was a little old I think, some smooth decent tahini, seasoned pasta and salad came along with the mains of tender beef shin stew with cartilage, a nicely charred okra stew, and a fried fish that was quite good although a little chewy.

It would be a pleasant place to sit outside weather permitting. The inside was quite dated and not atmospheric (we were the only people in there too).

Drinks were charged in Euro and they wanted an exchange rate of 1:21 EGP which is a bit extortionate (1:18 is about right). Oh well, it's small amounts overall.

After lunch we discovered that our accommodation at Villa Sunrise was conveniently just down the road.