The Best Thai restaurant in Cairo
I’ve lived in Thailand since 2007, almost 15 years. Since teaching English in Chiang Mai, then buying a condo in Bangkok Thailand, Thailand was my new home. And in those years, I’ve eaten A LOT of Thai food. It’s my favourite cuisine in the world, and when I’m celebrating, or stressed, it’s my go-to meal. I was back in Cairo again, running my tours to Socotra, Yemen, so I had been in Yemen for weeks. I couldn’t face more hummus or falafel. Also, I was flying my fiance in from Bangkok, Thailand to visit the Pyramids and spend 3 days in Cairo together, and I know she would miss Thai food even if it’s only 3 days! So I started researching where the best Thai restaurant in Cairo was. And when I found out about the Ruen Thai restaurant at Dusit Thani LakeView Cairo, which was awarded recently by the Luxury Lifestyle Awards as the best luxury restaurant in Egypt, it helped me make my decision to stay at the Dusit Thani Lakeview in Cairo, in my opinion, if you’re wondering where to stay in Cairo, then that is the best luxury hotel in Cairo.
Cairo is a city that lives at 100mph. After a day of sight-seeing, the last thing I want to face is more craziness for dinner! With that, I was delighted that the Ruen Thai restaurant was located inside the Dusit Thani Lakeview hotel. That meant it was super easy to find, even easier to access, and the staff were super helpful in escorting us to the restaurant.
Once we arrived outside, 2 Filipinos hosts and servers took care of Jaa and me, and sat us at the table. The restaurant was actually quite quiet, so we had our choice of seats. The best thing, instantly, that I thought about was the huge open kitchen. You can directly see the staff, the head chef, the sous-chefs, working so hard. The kitchen was ultra-modern, much more so than what I’m used to in Thai restaurant back home in Thailand!
The layout of the restaurant is chic and modern. Beautifully lit, with a relaxing colour scheme. I was drinking alcohol so we skipped the bar, which was a struggle, as it looked very inviting too! It felt like a luxury experience, which was a huge plus, as often when foreign countries run Thai restaurants, they aspire to the ‘street-food’ vibe which doesn’t match the quality of ingredient, the price point, or the experience you want when having a nice meal. So the Ruen Thai got it absolutely correct here. The lemon-grass palate cleansers, and hot towels, before we had even looked at the menu meant it was a great introduction all round.
The headache, an older Thai lady, came out to speak to us before we dined (nice touch), we explained that we were vegetarian, and that I lived in Thailand and of course my fiance was Thai. She went through the vegetarian options on the menu with us, but told us that she can accommodate any dish as a vegetarian dish should we so wish. With that, I’ll go through our selection below, and please listen to me when I say, I highly recommend copying exactly this – it was one of the best Thai experiences of my life.
STARTERS: Vegetable spring rolls & Veggie balls
Often options for vegetarians can be limited for starters, but this was a great introduction and set the bar high for the rest of the meal. The spring rolls were crispy to perfection, any fear of sogginess was gone after seeing the professionalism of the open kitchen, and the sweet sauce they paired the spring rolls were quite the treat.
The highlight of the starters, and a must-order item on the Ruen Thai menu though is the vegetable balls. We were recommended these by the Head Chef herself, and they didn’t disappoint. It seemed to be a mushroom base, and again, the crispiness of them was just so moreish. Jaa wasn’t happy when 30 seconds after the photo, 2 of them were already gone straight to my belly. That should explain it all! I would have ordered another batch to be honest, but we had ordered a lot for our main course, so we held back, reluctantly.
MAIN: Som Tam (Papaya salad), Tom Ka Gai (coconut-based soup), Gapow (fried basil and chillis and tofu or pork), Phad Thai (fried noodles), & Yellow Curry.
Here’s the true beauty of Ruen Thai in my opinion. Plush surroundings, excellent service, high-end drink options, but they still have the confidence to offer what I would call ‘staple’ Thai dishes. GaProw, Som Tam and Pad Thai are favourites of Thailand, but more often than not they’re served on the street, so to have a high-end restaurant offer the same dishes, but with an artisanal touch and higher quality of ingredients was a breath of fresh air.
The Tom Ka Gai and yellow curry were great, everything was. And if Thai curries are your go-to order, then you won’t be disappointed. A great balance of sour and sweet, and the ingredients imported directly from Thailand.
However, it’s the Tofu Gapow and the Phad Thai that really stood out. Being vegetarian, the team of chefs had no problem swapping out the Fish Sauce, the pork or chicken, and replacing accordingly. The basil and chilli from the Gapow felt like being back home in Thailand again, albeit with a higher quality of ingredients than I’d normally be used to. Equally so for the Phad Thai. They managed to retain the flavour that you’d expect or hope from street food, but without the heavy sugar, MSG or reused oil. So calm on the palate, but with an edge once you add the optional chilli flakes and squeeze the fresh lime.
The Som Tam (papaya salad) is cold, grated papaya with chillis (and crab for non-veggies). It’s notoriously awful outside of Thaliand, often said because the Papayas don’t travel well. But the Ruen Thai is in the Dusit Thani hotel, a Thai hotel, so however they’re importing their food, they’re doing a stellar job, the Som Tam was perfect, but it carries a serious kick, so be careful!
DESERT: Assorted Thai Deserts
We were pretty full by the time for the 3rd course came, but we agreed to share, for one last time of ‘home’. The assorted Thai deserts were home-made coconut icecream (divine), a gelatine and chia seed jelly, a coconut with sweet noodle and, for anyone wanting to indulge in heavier calories (like me!), a deep-fried, piping hot banana. I paired the hot banana with the home-made ice-cream, and despite being full, scrambled the whole combination down in a matter of minutes. I left the other 2 traditional deserts for my fiance. They lasted barely 2 minutes more.
Thai food in Cairo might not seem like a normal choice. But once you enter the luxurious Ruen Thai, with the world-class service, you’ll understand why it’s known as the best Thai food in Egypt. Cairo can be a little much, especially for people on their first visit to North Africa, and with an atmosphere like this, and the food even better, all your stresses will melt away. Ours certainly did. As I told the chef as we left, this was the best Thai food I’ve ever had outside of Thailand, I can’t compliment it any more than that. So when it’s your turn to escape Arabic food for a meal, check out the Ruen Thai, and let me know if you loved it as much as we did!
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