One of the many charms of Cairo is the Nile and the countless restaurants, cafés and docked boats dotted along its banks. Located at the beginning of the Maadi Corniche across from the Co-op Petrol Station, Nile Crystal is a tourist boat operated by Misr Travel that embarks on daily lunch and dinner cruises along our beloved river. The cruises include performances of Tannoura, belly dancing and live music to accompany your meal. However, if setting sail is not your style and you prefer to stay on dry land; you can check out Crystal Café on the water’s edge.

The café offers several seating areas, one of which is shaded by a pergola close to the boat docks. This seating area is more comfortable and has a better view than the patio furniture behind it, but service may suffer; as it is far from where the waiters hang out.

Don’t expect anything great from drinks at Crystal café. Both the coffee and the juice that this reviewer ordered were thin and watery as though the kitchen were trying to reduce costs.

After being let down by the beverages, we didn’t hold much hope for the food; but to our delight, Crystal Café serves some great sandwiches. Okay, so the burger (25LE) is a frozen patty, but it is dressed with a special sauce, fresh lettuce and thick slices of tomato on a fluffy sesame seed bun.

The Bora Bora (25LE) is a mix of marinated chicken, onions and peppers on a long sandwich roll. The chicken isn’t as spicy as advertised, but hot sauce is provided if you’d like more of a kick. Both sandwiches come with salted, golden brown fries and crispy picked carrots, onions and olives.

Crystal Café’s portions are definitely generous for their prices, and while the menu is short and only has your typical café food, they do it well. Salads aren’t on the menu, but if you ask the waiter, cold mezza such as tehina, baba ghanough and hummus are available for 8LE each.

The downside of eating lunch while overlooking the Nile is that you’re almost guaranteed to be fighting off flies from the moment your food is delivered, but if you bring your own bug spray, Crystal Café is a fine spot for a quick bite to eat on the Nile.