Gourmet gold: 10 restaurants that turned Dahab into Sinai’s Flavortown


Gourmet gold: 10 restaurants that turned Dahab into Sinai’s Flavortown

Image credit: Sada El Balad

There is an alluring mystique behind the Egyptian city of Dahab (Gold), which makes it a popular destination for most visitors, local and foreign. Originally a fishing town based in the Sinai Peninsula, Dahab is now a tourist paradise famous for its wondrous waters, beloved Bedouins and, perhaps most surprisingly, a delicious variety of unique restaurants.

Tourists often find themselves enchanted by Dahab, to the point that some of them choose to abandon city life in favor of the simple coastal town – a few go so far as to leave their previous occupation in favor of the opening of a restaurant, to the great benefit of visitors.

RED CAT

Image Credit: Red Cat/Facebook

Around the Dahab lighthouse area, Red Cat is ironic at first; first, for the fact that its interior decor is all green and white — even the cat artwork on the restaurant’s walls is green. The irony is forgotten, however, when the food is served. A mix of Russian – the owner’s nationality – and Italian, Red Cat serves up some of the best food in Dahab. The ingredients of the dish are freshly prepared and take little time to serve. Red Cat’s pizzas are by far the most popular part of its menu, often a highlight of visitors’ dining experience.

TIM’S MUNCH

Image credit: Google Maps

For breakfast and brunch, look no further than Tim’s Munch. Located on the roof of a dive center, Tim’s Munch offers a wide variety of meals that will fill anyone up. From the traditional American platter to the traditional Egyptian breakfast, everyone has their preference. Worried vegans will be happy to find that there are also oatmeal pancakes and plant-based yogurt breakfasts to satisfy their appetite.

RAMEZ & PAOLA

Image credit: Google Maps

A restaurant that fuses Dahab’s warm aura with authentic Italian cuisine, Ramez & Paola is one of Dahab’s oldest restaurants, run by a married couple from Egypt and Italy respectively. Away from the hustle and bustle of other restaurants in Dahab, Ramez & Paola is in a quiet location closer to Laguna, known as Al-Mashraba area, with indoor and outdoor seating while classic Italian songs play all around you.

In terms of service and efficiency, Ramez & Paola has a controversial reputation, with some customers enjoying the experience and others lamenting the way the staff treated them. A quick scan of Google Reviews or Trip Advisor confirms this. Nevertheless, the portions are known to be generous, while the food is delicious, be it pasta or pizza.

SABAH W MASA

Image credit: Google Maps

Lebanese cuisine has long been admired in Egypt, with restaurants like Beirut and ‘Einab (Raisins) scattered across Cairo. Located on the terrace of the Sea Soul Hotel, Sabah w Masa (Morning & Afternoon) is Lebanese through and through – made more evident after learning that it is named after a song by Lebanese singer Fairuz.

Sabah w Masa is the brainchild of Ashraf and Joslin, a Lebanese couple who moved to Dahab and opened the restaurant shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic. Joslin is a chef herself, ensuring that authenticity and quality are always present in her dishes.

Customer favorites include tabbouleh (oriental salad), hummus (chickpeas with tahini), batata harra (spicy potatoes), sujok (Lebanese sausages) and waraq ‘einab (grape leaves).

THE VEGAN LAB

Image Credit: The Vegan Lab/Facebook

Vegan visitors to Dahab will be happy to know that most restaurants offer vegan meals. However, for a full-fledged vegan dining experience, The Vegan Lab offers meals not found anywhere else in Dahab. Located on Dahab’s quiet and subtle Fanar Street, Vegan Lab’s soft, welcoming yellow lights and friendly staff ensure comfort and convenience before checking out their menu.

The Vegan Lab offers a wide variety of vegan dishes, like poke bowls, beyond fresh burgers and smoothies, but at a higher cost than Dahab’s usual prices.

DAI PESCATORI

Image credit: Google Maps

At the end of Dahab’s mamsha (gateway), Dai Pescatori (By Fishermen) is a quaint and quiet restaurant, perfect for a romantic date or a social gathering with friends. True to its name, the restaurant offers upscale Italian seafood dishes. The restaurant’s simple furnishings may deceive passers-by, but the food, however, is where luxury and culinary artistry exist, highlighted by their freshly prepared pastas and seafood.

JACKIE’S

Image Credit: Jackie/Facebook

A tasty Mexican restaurant that teaches diners how to make salsa, Jackie’s has long been a staple of Dahab’s food culture, with its large-portioned enchiladas, fajitas and tacos energized by rousing Latin American music. For the more spirited customers, Jackie’s organizes salsa lessons every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, requiring no prior experience or skill in any form of dance. For day seekers, the restaurant looks directly onto the Dahab coastline, with a descending staircase set up near the water for those looking to take a dip.

NAMASTE

Image credit: Google Maps

Coated in eye-catching yellow and sky blue, Namaste is Dahab’s answer to Indian cuisine. The restaurant, located on Fanar Street, offers visitors a high quality Indian dining experience, enhanced with friendly staff and large portions. Frequent visitors often order biryani rice, chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, naan bread and samosas.

CHICKEN KING

Image Credit: King Chicken/Facebook

Arguably the most Egyptian restaurant on the list, King Chicken reminds hungry tourists that Egyptian cuisine can hold its own in the list of sumptuous restaurants in Dahab. There is nothing remarkable about the way the restaurant is designed. In fact, it’s quite remarkable how unremarkable and frugal interior and exterior design are on long waiting lists – a testament to the quality of its cuisine.

SPECIAL CRY: RICE PUDDING IN LAGUNA

Image credit: Youm7

Far from the kitchens and tables of Dahab’s restaurants, far away in Dahab’s beautiful Laguna Beach, there is a man on a bicycle selling rice pudding. His name is Youssef, an American Muslim convert who left his life as a chemist in the Netherlands to spend the rest of his life enjoying Dahab while selling his signature rice pudding. Youssef’s glazed rice pudding, offered plain, in a blueberry, caramel or cinnamon sauce, is a Laguna staple for those looking to cool off in the summer sun.

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