There are days when all you need to overcome the day’s weariness is the comfort of a good bowl of pasta. Even though it seems to be one of the easiest dishes to prepare, to do it well still takes a bit of time and effort. Combine this with Cairo’s well established delivery culture and instead of heading to the kitchen we often just reach for the phone. Sadly the craving for a good bowl of pasta often persists and haunts you while you eat what proves to be a mediocre take out meal.
The problem with pasta places in Egypt is that despite them popping up every which way you look, they usually serve over-cooked pasta with too much garlic. Not to mention the accompanying sauce, which is usually too chunky and is prepared with too much butter. That is why we went to the new pasta place El Maiz in Zamalek with low expectations. However, we were delightfully surprised.
The small take out place offers a variety of pasta dishes, such as Mac and Cheese, Alfredo and Marinara. The price range is very affordable with the cheapest pasta dish at EGP 20 to the most expensive at EGP 38. You get to choose from different shapes of pasta and there is an option of whole grain pasta as well.
In addition, they offer different types of grilled cheese sandwiches, salads and a whole bunch of French fries options. The new thing on the menu is the spoon pizza, which is a thin-crust pizza with a focus on cheese, so you eat it with a spoon, hence the name. They also offer coffee, soft drinks and Italian desserts such as Tiramisu and Panna Cotta.
We tried the Mac and Cheese and the Alfredo pasta. They were both delicious and the sauce was sufficiently creamy but not overpowering. The pasta was cooked Al Dente and the chicken in the Alfredo was very nicely cooked and spiced. The portions were very generous and we could not finish our dishes.
El Maiz is definitely the place to go for a quick fix of homemade and delicious pasta, especially since the great food is accompanied by very attentive and friendly service in this family-run restaurant. The place is very small with only two communal tables inside and one outside, the latter serving as a nice place to eat if it is not too cold. So on a busy night you might not find a place to sit, but keep in mind that it is mainly a take-out place.
They currently offer delivery in Zamalek only.