Jewel of the Nile
Laura has plenty of experience with restaurants in Luxor. She has had a hand in managing quite a few, including the well-known 7Days 7Ways, and can generally be relied on to leave them in better shape than she found them. Now Laura has opened her own restaurant with her husband Mahmoud. Their restaurant is called Jewel of the Nile.
Jewel of the Nile is a little off the beaten track, down the road opposite the Lotus hotel, past Lantern, Snobs and the others in that road, across the main road and on a further hundred yards or so in the same direction. It is reasonably easy to find and worth the effort.
The restaurant is quite small, but a more flexible shape than the corridor-like 7Days, so does not feel as cramped. It is decorated in neutral colours. Laura looks after the customers and Mahmoud runs the kitchen. The mood is relaxed rather than formal, with plenty of chatter if you are up for it.
Jewel of the Nile
Smoking is not allowed inside but there are some tables outside if you need to light up during or after a meal. This makes eating a much more pleasant experience, now that most of us are used to eating in a smoke-free environment.
The restaurant is open most of the day, starting at noon, so you could visit for lunch and dinner as there are menu choices to suit most meals. Or if you missed breakfast, there is a good choice for your first meal of the day, too.
The focus of the main dinner menu is on Egyptian dishes such as tagen, shawerma and tawouk, but there are also traditional international dishes, including steaks, liver and cottage pie. Prices generally are lower than in the better-known of the restaurants in the busier roads. Soups start at just LE15 and a small selection of - again traditional - egyptian and international desserts are mostly around LE20. The ice cream is home made and you can have it in a pancake. Yes, we know: hot pancake, cold ice-cream, but it works.
Main course prices are in the mid range: lower than Lantern or Dean's but closer to the smarter, more formal, Snobs. A steak is LE60, or LE63 with sauce, but several other English dishes are around LE35-LE50. Most Egyptian meat-based meals are LE45-LE55 but less for a vegetarian option. Generally, vegetarians are very well catered for and vegetarian menu items are marked with the familiar V. You can also be confident that vegetarian choices really are vegetarian, unlike in some restaurants where the meat or fish itself is omitted but the other ingredients are not necessarily free of meat and fish extracts. There is also a 4 course Egyptian set meal, with options, for LE85, or LE75 for the vegetarian alternative: ideal if you want to try the local food but do not know what to order.
If you just want one course and are unsure what to order, try one of the favourites: Chicken Shawerma at LE45 or a Kebab Hala (beef) at LE50 and perhaps you can be tempted to follow-up with some novel treats, such as pancakes stuffed with ice cream for LE15, or something more traditional such as an excellent crumble with custard for LE25.
The lower prices do not mean lower quality. Mahmoud might be expected to prepare a good Egyptian option - and he does - but he also turns in an excellent steak and some of the best chips around!
Laura and Mahmoud have an excellent and extremely popular restaurant. Well worth a visit.
Jewel of the Nile web site http://www.jewelofthenilerestaurant.com/index.php
Review updated October 2014
Prices at October 2013