No matter what your educational level or social class, when you refer to this home-cooked-meals restaurant in Imbaba, you don’t call it “Prince.” You say “El-Brince.”
Technically you don’t have to enter El-Brince, because half of the tables are actually set outside in the street, giving you an opportunity to watch the toctocs and occasional motorcycle tricks in the street for entertainment. But if you don’t feel safe eating two feet away from traffic, you can relax inside the restaurant, after you pass under a banner featuring the owner’s picture welcoming you with a smile.
As soon as you pass by the entrance of El-Brince, the strong smell of clarified butter will hit you, giving you all the reassurance you need that you’re about to have a real authentic Egyptian meal.
The restaurant has all the classic Egyptian dishes available – from vegetable casseroles to pigeons – but its most popular dishes are Molokheya, oriental sausages and liver.
For some people, going to El-Brince means getting a home cooked meal that they’ve been craving but for others it’s more of a social experience. For the upper middle class young crowd which has made El-Brince the new trend, it’s a place to experience the culture of the popular area of Imbaba and to get rid of minimal etiquette standards that you must abide by in other restaurants. Brince is the kind of place where if you choose to use a plate, you need to ask for one.
What makes El-Brince a favorite across social classes is that it combines the authenticity of street restaurants with the hygiene of upscale ones, allowing you to have a street food experience without the risk of food poisoning that usually comes with it.
Despite its cleanliness, which is demonstrated by the open kitchen that allows you to witness the cooking process by yourself, you can still get in trouble after eating in El-Brince because of how heavy the food is. So if your stomach is sensitive, self-restraint is advised.
The setting’s simplicity fails to correlate with the restaurant’s prices, which are as high as any upscale restaurant; most of its regular visitors, though, will argue that it’s worth every penny.
The cherry on top of an already satisfying experience in El-Brince is the presence of “Al-Malky,” a desserts place, right next door, giving you the option to ease your heavy meal down with a bowl of their famous (roz blaban) or a couple scoops of ice cream.