Updated: Feb 11
If you’re like us and Thai food is your jam, Cairo at first glance might not seem like the best purveyor. We have Lebanese restaurants by the dozens, Italian restaurants galore, and even a fair share of Indian venues. But Thai? Not so much.
But if you have a serious craving for some pad thai, tom yum or Thai curry, then fear not, because we’ve got you covered. The Thai restaurants in Cairo might be limited, but we brought you the very best.
1. Bua Khao (now called Sala Thai)
This place in our humble opinion is the godfather of Thai restaurants in Cairo. It opened over 20 years ago and has been going strong ever since, which is a feat in and of itself in Egypt. They even opened a second branch in the Movenpick in Gouna, so Bua Khao is not here to play!
Owned and spearheaded by a Thai family, this award-winning little restaurant is hidden in one of the many midans of Maadi (non-”Maadistas” might need the help of good ol’ Google Maps in tracking down Bua Khao).
Note: they changed their name in January 2023 to 'Sala Thai' for some reason, but everything else remains the same.
Their menu is large but not too large, with straightforward and sensible dish descriptions instead of the generic “fish soup” menu entries found in many of Cairo’s other Asian restaurants. Beer and wine is served as well.
Recommended dishes: the chicken with basil leaves, the sizzling beef with bean sprouts, onions, mushrooms and chili in oyster sauce, the crispy chicken with chili, ginger and garlic and their Tom Ka Gai soup. Their Pad Thai Bua Khao is also excellent.
Address: 9 Rd. 151 Intersection of Rd. 100 (off of Midan Horreya)
Phone number: 2378 3355
Opening hours: 12:00 pm - 10:30 pm
2. Sabai Sabai
Location: Zamalek, Sheikh Zayed, City Stars
Another long-term heavy hitter, the original, main branch of Sabai Sabai is hidden in the same shabby building as Metro Market in Zamalek, near Flamenco Hotel. It also opened a small branch in Galleria 40’s Zaitouna Food Hall and City Stars.
It’s a real shame that most Cairenes and foreigners haven’t heard about Sabai Sabai -- you’re missing out (except on the horrible Zamalek parking, that is).
Staffed by Egyptians but headed by a Thai chef, almost all of Sabai Sabai’s rave reviews mention the authenticity of the food, and their menu even has a few nods to Chinese cuisine (their dim sum is awesome) and Vietnamese.
Recommended dishes: beef green curry with Thai eggplant and basil and the Ped Kai Yang -- roasted duck in a “homemade Thai sauce”.
Address: 1 El Masry Buildings, Gezira El Wosta street, first floor
Phone number: 01024602260
Opening hours: 12:00 pm - midnight
Location: Garden City
The first “fancy” entry on the list, Birdcage has been one of the Semiramis Intercontinental’s flagship restaurants for over a decade now.
On the second floor, next to Sabaya the Lebanese restaurant and en route to Pane Vino, the Italian restaurant, you’ll find a quiet, wooden little oasis in the hotel -- that’s Birdcage.
The service and ambience is on par with what you’d expect from a 5 star hotel, as is the actual food presentation -- and luckily the food rises to the task as well, which isn’t always the case with Cairo restaurant hotels. But we’ve been going to Birdcage for about 15 years now, so that should be some indication regarding their food.
But alas, the food also comes with hotel prices, so keep that in mind. You can find their menu here.
Recommended dishes: their spicy shrimp in a pineapple red curry, yellow curry with garden vegetables, and their konafa shrimp marinated in Thai spices
Address: Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel, Garden City
Phone number: 2798 8000
Opening hours: 12:30 pm - 02:00 am
Location: New Cairo
Another fancy hotel entry, Tao is the culinary claim to fame of the Thai hotel Dusit Thani in New Cairo, so that should give you some idea of the authenticity of both the chef and restaurant servers.
Tao is a 'multi-Asian' restaurant, which means they're not just serving Thai food -- their menu is immense and is full of our favorite Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Indian classics, plus a live teppanyaki station.
The Thai section of the menu is massive, with soups, appetizers, a dozen different Thai curries and main courses. And get this - there's even the calorie count of each dish written on the menu!
But similar to Birdcage, with hotel restaurants comes hotel prices, so be prepared. You can find their menu here.
Recommended dishes: crispy duck with tamarind and lemongrass sauce
Address: Dusit Thani Lakeview Hotel, New Cairo
Phone number: 2614 0000
Opening hours: 1 pm - 1 am
5. Nile Thai Food Restaurant (yes, that’s its name)
Location: Nasr City
This next entry is pretty much as far from a hotel restaurant as you can get. This little hole in the wall is in Nasr City, which as we all know is not Cairo’s culinary center, so consider it a hidden gem of sorts.
The cooks and servers are a mix of Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian, and the restaurant is a favorite of Asian students at Al Azhar, so you know their expectations of Thai food are going to be high.
Nile Thai itself is small and very basic -- expect to pull up a chair and share a plastic tablecloth-covered table with other patrons. The prices are very reasonable and the portions are large, but we warn you: their spicy is *spicy*. And we’re talking legit spicy, not Peking spicy.
Their menu comes in English, Arabic, Malay and Thai, and the food item names are pretty basic: “very spicy fried noodle” for example (hey, it got its point across).
Recommended dishes: their wide variety of noodles and chicken curries.
Address: 4 Abu Haneefa Street, Off Abdullah El Araby Street, 7th District
Phone number: 01149681751
Opening hours: 12:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Location: New Cairo
We’re not huge fans of the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski in New Cairo, but their Thai restaurant Yana is one of the few reasons we’d make the journey.
While the restaurant is predominantly Thai, they have a variety of other Southeast Asian cuisines on their menu -- Malaysian dishes, Chinese dim sum and even Singaporean beef.
And similar to the other two hotel restaurants on this list, Yana scores high on ambience and low on affordability. Nice pool view, and expect a lot of golden Buddhas.
Recommended dishes: their curries are the most Thai dishes on the menu, and besides that, the Singaporean Wagyu beef medallions
Address: Royal Maxime Palace Kempinski, New Cairo
Phone number: 01097111151
Opening hours: 06:00 pm - 12:00 am
7. Dragon House
Rounding up our list is another classic and one of Maadi’s underrated restaurants for years now: Dragon House.
Dragon House is another Asian fusion restaurant, serving Chinese, Thai and Indian (plus sushi!). So you can either stick to one cuisine or order a bunch of dishes from all three.
The restaurant used to be on the second floor of a building on Road 9 in Maadi (since 1993!), but recently has moved to Road 7 in Maadi, with an outside garden area.
They don't serve alcohol but don't mind if you BYOB.
This is their menu.
Recommended dishes: spicy barbecue beef with basil, spicy fried rice with red curry and shrimp
Address: 32 Road 7, Maadi
Phone number: 01272405517
Opening hours: 02:00 pm - 01:00 am
For our favorite restaurants in Cairo for both tourists and locals alike, check us out here.
Missing Sequoia? Check out these Nile-side restaurants that you can take your foreign friends now that Sequoia's closed.