This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to our very opinionated editors’ favorite things to eat, drink, and buy.
I first noticed Zooba, an Egyptian fast-casual joint that opened its first New York City outpost last September, because of the design. The graphic to-go bags that line the entrance. The fun food posters on the wall that remind me of works by famed Egyptian artist Hassan Hajjaj (he’s photographed Cardi B!). And have you seen the LED ceiling?! I had serious design envy.
It's all inspired by the streets of Cairo, with the branding by playful brand agency &Walsh and the restaurant design by creative studio AE Superlab. When I first went to Zooba, I thought it would just be to check out the decor. But when I sat down to eat, I ended up falling in love. Every dish was so delicious and nostalgic for me, having grown up not too far from Egypt in Saudi Arabia. Eating ful medames—stewed fava beans and Egypt’s national dish—was my family’s Sunday ritual as a kid. Now, going to Zooba is my weekend ritual in my home away from home.
From the oozy cheese hawawshi (fluffy baladi bread stuffed with a tender meat-veg patty and creamy roumy cheese) to the pickled lemon ta’ameya (freshly fried balls of mashed fava beans) to the za’atar fries, Zooba is my go-to spot for lunch. And dinner. And...really anytime I’m craving Egyptian food (which is often). I’ve basically become Zooba’s unofficial ambassador, taking any friend in town or the whole art team to the restaurant on a given day. Design might have been the gateway, but it’s really all about the Egyptian food here.
Go there: Zooba
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit