El Kababgy (sometimes spelt El Kebabgy)
El Kababgy restaurant
There are five restaurants and cafes on the lower level of the Corniche between the Iberotel and the Luxor museum. Three of them are quite close to each other, along the part of the corniche that is opposite the Winter Palace and Luxor Temple, down the steps from road level. El Kababgy is the most southern of this trio - the left as you face the Nile. To the north (the Luxor temple end) is the Cilantro (previously the Metropolitan cafe) and between them is the Metropolitan Bowling Club.
Groups of feluccas are moored only a few metres away from El Kababgy. This has the attraction that it provides a picturesque backdrop as you relax with a cold drink or snack. However, it also means that you are likely to be approached by their captains with offers of Nile trips. The owners of the restaurants discourage felucca touts, but they seem to get through, either by calling you from a distance or by trying to sell a trip as they pass through. You may also be approached by people selling scarves or souvenirs.
During the day most customers go to El Kababgy for drinks and sometimes a light snack rather than a full meal. There used to be a wide variety of beers but these are no longer sold at any of the Edris restaurants and cafes. To eat you can choose from a range of salads and the varied menu also includes jacket potatoes, soups, grills and pastas. You can get better food elsewhere but the snacks are reasonably well prepared and presented and brought to you by attentive staff, although it can take a while if you order more than a drink with light refreshments.
Nile views from the El Kababgy
As well as the drinks and snacks, El Kababgy serves a full meal menu including traditional steaks, varieties of chicken and meat and vegetable tajines, but not everything is available all the time, so have a second choice ready.
If you are eating after dark it may be best to take your meal at one of the few inside tables or to stick to the meals that do not need too much attention. Although there are lanterns, and candles are sometimes brought to the table as well, when sitting at the Nile's edge we found ourselves leaving more meat than we intended from various on-the-bone meals, not because of any fault with the meat but because it was difficult to see what we were eating in sufficient detail.
If you want the best meal you would probably choose not to eat at any of these Nile-side restaurants. We thought the food was OK but not special whereas prices line up with the better traditional restaurants and dearer than many Luxor favourites. You do pay for the view and you don't get some things that you might expect at these prices - side plates for the bread and real napkins, for example. Nevertheless, what you lose in sophistication you gain in location. If you like to eat in the open and choose carefully from the menu; if you are happy to pay a premium to be right on the Nile, and if you are willing to put up with sometimes slow service and 'OK' rather than excellent food: for daytime refreshments and snacks with a Nile-side view, El Kababgy is a reasonable east bank choice.
updated April 2013