By Ali Saeed
Sitting on a bench surrounded by the melodious voice of Um Kulthum, the famous Egyptian singer, men and women enjoy the affordable and tasty Koshari. After minutes of arriving in Tata restaurant, one feels that he/she is in Koshari al-Tahrir restaurant in downtown Cairo. However, this restaurant is in the luxurious Hadda street in the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
In this place, you can enjoy different variety of Egyptian food including Kushari, Kabab, and rice with milk. The restaurant is a branch of Tata restaurant in Cairo, and has been operating in Sana’a for nine years. “Customers include Yemenis, Egyptians in Sana’a and foreigners,” said Mohamed Al-Haj, a waiter who works there. “The staff of the Egyptian Embassy often come here to have their meals,” he added.
Hadda neighborhood is known for their many expensive restaurants serving all types of food. Yet, affordable casual dining, such as Tata restaurant, also exists. These affordable options serve different Arab food including Lebanese, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian, and Palestinian. Moving from one restaurant to another gives you the chance to fly from Cairo to Beirut passing by Riyadh and Jerusalem without a plane ticket.
Approximately 100 meters away from Tata restaurant, is located a small Lebanese restaurant called Al-Mathaq. The friendly welcome, the crowded space in front of the cashier and the smell of the kabab is reminiscent of the small restaurants on Al-Hamra street in Beirut. “Our main clients are the Yemenis of all classes, local and foreign companies, foreign and Arab embassies and NGOs,” said restaurant owner Josef Bozaid.
The daily specials include stuffed lamb, rice on chicken, okra with meat and rice. You can enjoy them warm at the restaurant or you can use the take out option and eat at home.
On the other end of Hadda street lies Al-Tazij, a Saudi Arabian restaurant which serves a variety of chicken cooked in many different ways including Kabsa (rice cooked with chicken simultaneously), and farooj (small chicken served with rice).
This restaurant chain first opened in the holy city of Mecca in 1989 and has since opened branches in eight cities in Saudi Arabia, and in eight countries in the region.
Finally, in the Hadda vicinity but not on the main road lies Falafel Falasteen. This hole in the wall does not have seating options, but do not let the physical appearance fool you. Their falafels are fresh and crispy. The sandwich is filling and is best to be accompanied by seasoned French fries.
So the next time you are looking to grab a quick bite to eat in the luxurious Hadda area, do not despair, there are many options, and the above are just a select few to help you start your food journey.Français
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