Maureen Witten
Koshari Time's signature koshari -- an Egyptian specialty.

Koshari Time

Maureen Witten
Like many mom-and-pop shops, this tidy cafe lurking in an unassuming Aurora strip mall has more to offer than it first appears. As the only eatery in town specializing in Egyptian cuisine, its few menu items — koshari, hawawshi, kunafa, rose blaban — may be unfamiliar to Denver diners, but their flavors won us over immediately. Its namesake dish is an ungainly pile of lentils, rice, noodles and chickpeas, but each element is cooked perfectly (there's no trace of mushy pasta or too-firm legumes), then the result topped with garlicky tomato sauce and sweet, crunchy fried onions for a surprisingly satisfying and homey meal. Of the pair of desserts on the menu, we swooned over the kunafa, a nest of shredded phyllo stuffed with a mild cheese similar to ricotta, and topped with fruit or pistachios and Nutella; it will satisfy your sweet tooth whether you grew up in Cairo or Kentucky.

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