Unassuming entrance to the Oasis Palace
Non-smoking room, brighter than before
Once upon a time, in the road alongside the El Luxor hotel, was the Oasis Café. It had two small rooms with a few chairs and tables in each and a separate coffee bar and take-away room. It gained a good reputation amongst backpackers and was listed in several guides.
The people running the Oasis Café thought that it might have to be demolished as part of the Luxor improvements and road alterations, so they pre-empted being told to go and chose to move to St Joseph Street, close to Tutti Fruitti (but they have since closed).
The Oasis Café original building is still there. New people took it over, tidied it up a little, and reopened it early in 2011 as the Oasis Palace.
The Oasis Palace is in an old building, full of character, and one of the few older building remaining in Luxor following large scale demolition, redevelopment and road widening in recent years. Turn right from the entrance steps into a reception lobby, where a cashier or waiter will direct you to the room you need.
The part of the building used by the restaurant is not large inside. The reception area now has classically styled furniture but the furniture style does not follow through to the dining rooms. The Oasis Palace still has two main eating rooms, one for smokers and a smaller one for non-smokers, but the colour schemes have been reversed since the Café days. The old red room is now the green room and the old green room is now the red room. As well as the colour change, the walls now have lighter coloured relief panels and borders.
The menu is similar to the old Oasis Café menu, catering principally for lighter snacks, with a good choice of beverages, but there is also a small choice of more substantial meals including a steak with sauce for LE75. The old emphasis on british and european tastes has given way to a more international range including some local options such as tagine (meat from LE52, vegetarian LE45. You can still get breakfasts and brunch. Omelettes start at LE18, salads at LE20 and hot sandwiches from LE35. Hot drinks are from LE8 (Nescafe and Egyptian tea) to LE15 (Cappuccino) and cans start at LE11. The prices are all subject to a 9% service charge, but they sometimes forego it, leaving you to tip if you want to.
A problem for the Oasis Palace is that not many people think it is there. They knew the Old Oasis Café and they know that it closed, but not that another restaurant has appeared in the same place. It is not the sort of road that many people need to go down, especially now that the Corniche at the end has been pedestrianised. But if the new entrance to the El Luxor hotel at the Nile end of this road opens one day, and if the pedestrianised part of the Corniche becomes a popular route to the museum, the Oasis Palace may be rediscovered. It has the great advantage that, whereas many of the other better known cafés and restaurants are bunched together with their competitors, the Oasis Palace still stands virtually alone.
It is relatively early days yet, especially compared with the long-lived Oasis Café, but some people will read about the old Café in outdated guides and come looking, and new visitors discover it. Given time, we think the new Oasis Palace deserves similar success.
Phone (mobile): (002) 0180659075
Review updated October 2014
Prices at October 2014