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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Restaurant Review - Porto on Mariotia

We spent our first afternoon in Egypt visiting with friends who live near the pyramids. Our apartment is about a mile and a half as the crow flies from the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids. Although we had taken a taxi over to the area, we decided to walk home and look for a place to eat along the way.

Walking through the neighborhood just east of the pyramids is a great way to experience the Cairo culture. Just move one block off the main streets and you leave the tourist-trap "papyrus museums" and perfume stores behind. We followed this approximate route back from the sphinx area to Mariotia road.

This area has many car repair and service shops. You might see cars out in front of shops or inside a garage bay being worked on by professional and semi-pro mechanics. In many ways, this reminds me of my home neighborhood in the 1950s. It wasn't unusual to see a group of young men pulling an engine out of a car in northeast Portland back then. I had to stop and take a look when I found these four fellows with a chain hoist pulling an engine here.

May I take a picture? (Linda asked for me in Arabic.) Of course!

We continued on past shops and homes until we reached Mariotia in a half hour. "Let's try Porto again," we decided along the way. Porto is a cafe and restaurant almost in the shadow of the new Ring Road connector that was completed a year and a half ago.

We walked in and the Maitre D' recognized us from last year. (They probably don't get a lot of western guests!) After we were seated, the owner, Mustaffa, stopped by and brought out the chef. I've probably mentioned before that local businesses are very friendly!

We discussed options for dinner and soon were served a delicious, tender and flavorful beef kabob meal. We had ordered potatoes (versus rice) which here almost always means french fries. These were excellent.

Highly recommended. We'll be back again during this trip. Here is the banner to watch for if you are passing by:

After dinner, we walked across the street to our favorite bakery and picked out some of the excellent pastries and breads we enjoy. Again we were welcomed back enthusiastically.

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