Nile Cafe in Scottsdale's Papago Plaza is not surprising -- the cozy cafe is Egyptian-themed, complete with big gold sarcophagus models and hieroglyphics-print table coverings. But what did surprise us was the tasty, affordable food.
Despite the gaudy interior, the food is actually quite good. A free sampler of super-fresh regular, roasted red pepper and artichoke hummus was served with warm pita before patrons even order their food, which was unexpected and delicious.
The lunch menu features several pita sandwiches all under $9; actually, all are under $7 except the Kingdom Shawarma Sandwich, which has two kinds of meat and a variety of veggies.
We ordered the Chicken Shawarma Sandwich, which was pleasantly light in flavor, with strong hints of saffron and tsatziki over substantial chunks of chicken. Combining those flavors with the creamy garlicky hummus was divine.
While the lunch menu is seemingly small, there are options for just about anyone.
Vegetarians can fill up on the Falafel, Vegetable or Koshari Sandwich, which has lentils, rice, macaroni and chili peppers. On the flip side, there are beef and chicken sandwiches, too.
The best part was that from drink order to check, the meal only took about a half hour -- perfect for workers on the go.
The Nile Cafe is at 7051 E. McDowell in Scottsdale.