What’s the story? In 2012, when the world was at the precipice of a street food revolution, nobody was talking about Egypt. For Egyptian-American businessman Chris Khalifa, it was essential to bring his home country into the conversation. Having partnered with Estrella Damm N.A. Chefs’ Choice award winner Moustafa Elrefaey, who trained in the US before returning to Egypt, he opened Zooba in 2012 to bring a refined take on street food that plays jovially with colour and flavour.
On the plate: Expect all the hallmark dishes offered by the vendors that line the roads and markets of the Egyptian capital. Think Egypt’s legendary taameya, its take on falafel that uses dried fava beans instead of chickpeas as its base, served in a warm pita and drizzled in smooth tahini. Other dishes, such as the basterma eggs, where the diner-style scramble plays alongside fenugreek-spiced air-dried beef, shine just as bright.
What’s the vibe? Marked by its inviting turquoise door, Zooba is a wholly casual affair, with its long communal dining table sitting as the centrepiece of the small bistro. Reflecting and honouring the multi-sensory feast of Cairo’s bustling streetscape, every corner of its interior is accented by splashes of vibrancy. In line with its street food roots, dining is designed to be accessible to all, with truly affordable prices to match.
International fame: After enjoying great success, Zooba has expanded internationally to open outposts in Riyadh and New York, bringing its taste of Cairo to eager diners outside of Egypt.