What’s SO good about street food?
That is a question no one asks, ever. And they aren’t gonna start now… If you’re a street food fanatic, it can hardly get better than Zooba. 

Egyptian street food restaurant Zooba is all about creating a modern twist on traditional classics. Having a large customer base in Cairo, Zooba decided to venture out and explore the world. It open its first store in NYC, and it surely made a mark. Situated on the corner of Kenmare St, Zooba brought a noteworthy taste of Egypt to Nolita. The award-winning falafels, fluffy pita, intimate home-style Koshari, 12 spice-blend Dukka fries and olive oil-drenched hummus all make you want more before you’ve even left.

The entire Zooba experience – spotting it across the street, running in, indulging, and checking out – is a dazzling alternative to the usual salad and bowl chains that we all know. The bright colorful LED lights and Arab hip-hop music omit from the walls and transport you to the traditional food markets that make Egypt so lusty and authentic. Hand-painted typography, street carts and murals, geometric mix-matched tiles, posters, and national illustrations mirror the beauty and layered traditions in Cairo, saturating them into a single space.

Nothing about the restaurant is mundane – especially not the branding. Using Cairo-based calligrapher Mohamed Mohamed (Zizo) to create a unique type for the brand, Zooba displays its food on what seems to be canvas. The wrapping paper, napkins, food trays and takeout bags could all be framed as artwork. The huge windows that open to the street (although not always a good idea in a pungent city like New York) the communal tables, the counter seating and the easy check-in and out machines make it an inviting environment. Just like their food is a modern twist on traditional classics, Zooba’s visual language aims to do the same. Everything about Zooba is exciting and alive.

 ⓒ Zooba

This fast-casual restaurant is a must-go spot. When feeling nostalgic, missing the feeling of a home-cooked meal, or just craving a delectable meal you don’t need to reserve or dress up for, it seems Zooba is a place everyone is always welcome to. 

Tip for the newcomers: Get the sauces. Seriously, Zooba’s Dipping sauces just make everything better.

Born and Raised in Abu Dhabi, Palestinian creative Dujanah Jarrar reports on all things imaginative, immediate and intimate. Passionate about shifting perceptions and cultivating insight, her writings carry themes of cultural placement, identity and representation, exploring what innovative collaboration and creativity mean today.