Most people come to Luxor for monuments as opposed to cuisine – a good thing as most restaurants, particularly in the hotels, have long been mediocre. But the food is improving, particularly where restaurants serve traditional Egyptian food. Outside of hotels, few places serve alcohol or accept credit cards.

East Bank

Little Britain

The area around the Sonesta St George Hotel, on Sharia Khaled Ibn Al Walid, slightly away from Luxor centre, has a concentration of pubs and restaurants popular with British visitors and residents. Every other restaurant seems to be run by a British-Egyptian couple; most are clean and serve decent British-European food as well as a few Egyptian specialities. If you are yearning for a good pizza, pasta or steak, this is the place to head. A Sunday roast of beef with Yorkshire pudding is on most menus.

Somewhere to Chill

After visiting the tombs of the Nobles or the Ramesseum, take a break in the tree-shaded courtyard of the oldest mud-brick hotel in Luxor, called the Marsam Hotel but popularly known as Sheikh Ali's. They have a full menu, fresh juices and cold beers to revive the spirits while looking over the ongoing excavations of the temple of Amenhotep III and the Colossi of Memnon. Alternatively, the nearby Ramesseum Rest House has a terrace that overlooks the Ramesseum. It's a great place to relax and have a cool drink, a beer or something simple to eat. You can leave your bike here while exploring the surroundings.

Self-Catering

Luxor has a number of good bakeries. Try the ones on Sharia Ahmed Orabi, at the beginning of Sharia Maabad Al Karnak and on Sharia Gedda. The best pastries come from Twinky near the railway station. There is also now a Drinkies, selling Egyptian beer and wine. On the west bank, try the food and fruit shops on the main street in Al Gezira, or head for the wonderful weekly market Souq At Talaat, in Taref opposite the Temple of Seti I. Also on the west bank is Sa-Re Gourmet Food, a small shop near the ferry selling fresh soup, duck à l'orange and other treats.