Friday, May 14, 2010

Taboula's Lebanese Restaurant


After our Spa day, I'd planned for the group to go to dinner at Taboula's ( ★) in Garden City. The restaurant was tucked away behind the Canadian embassy on a quiet residential street. When our group of 5 entered, the maitre d' did not look too pleased to see us. Upon realizing that we had not made reservations, he immediately dismissed us to the bar to wait 5-30 minutes for a table. The restaurant was filled with young Egyptian couples and families and a few tourists. After 15 minutes, we realized that there were 3 tables available that were large enough for our party. We inquired again about the wait time and the maitre d' told us that they were giving priority to people with reservations. Frustrated and hungry, we left to see if there were any nearby restaurants where we could eat. Not finding anything else in the area, we debated our options. At least 10 minutes had passed and we'd made no decision so I decided to take one of the guys with me and go back to Taboula's and check on the wait time again. When we entered, I stood back and let the guy do the talking. At first, the maitre d' tried to brush him off again for another 5-30 minute wait but my friend insisted that we take one of the still empty tables. Looking as if he was surprised to see the tables there, the maitre d' told us we could have one of those tables if we wanted it.

As the rest of our party came to join us, our little moment if triumph was short lived. The service was by far the worst I've had in Cairo. It took 10 minutes to get someone to fill our glasses with overpriced bottled water and another 5 to get menus. After 20 minutes, we had to flag our waiter down and ask for bread. Of course, the bread was never brought to our table but to the table of newly arrived guests sitting next to us so we had to ask for bread again. When the bread was finally dropped onto our table by a passing waiter, it was steaming hot and obviously burnt. Another group of foreigners arrived at that point. The group also did not have reservations but the maitre d' had no issues immediately seating them at a newly emptied table.

The waiter who took our orders never bothered to visit our table again. Our water glasses sat empty on the tables never to be refilled for the duration of our meal. I guess that when a 12% gratuity and a 10% sales tax are added to the bill automatically, it's not necessary to be respectable and attentiveness to your guests. When the food was brought out, I was disappointed to see that it was basically all chunks of meat with no vegetables, rice, or even bread to accompany it. I'd ordered the Grilled Lamb Cubes, which is usually one of my favorite dishes. Unfortunately, the food was unexceptional. I ate it and barely tasted a thing as I chewed. We all sampled each others dishes and, excepted for the Fillet Steak, all the dishes were forgettable.


Minced Meat

Fillet Steak

The poor serve at Taboula's combined with the lackluster food makes the moderately priced restaurant a place that I surely won't visit again. I've had better Lebanese food from street carts in Paris.

walking home after Taboula's, approaching Tahrir Square

1 Latin American Street
Garden City – Cairo
Tel: ++202 7925261


Sara said...

SubhanAllah, I wonder why the service was so bad like that? Do you think its because of racism?

Frenchie said...

Ahlan Wa Sahlan! After only one visit, I would not be able to tell you what motivated Taboula to treat us so badly. I was the only black person in our group. There was also 1 Indian girl, 1 white girl, and 2 white guys. When we first entered, the girls asked for a table. The second time, I purposely allowed the white guy with me to speak to see if the response would be different and, eventually, it was. I'd expected a more positive response towards because he's a man. Afterward, when our entire party sat down, I sat next to him. As we all shared food and reached into each others plate, I did notice the wait staff giving he and I disapproving glances and whispering our way. I dont know if they mistook our behavior for romantic flirtation or if they were just generally gossiping about the guests.

Later on, the other group of middle-aged foreigners that enterd did not have reservations but was promptly seated.They were made up of 2 white men. 1 white woman, and 1 Asian woman. The Asian woman was the one who requested that they be seated. They received their food before us

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