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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Al Madina Al Monawara: Cheap Desserts and Juice in Maadi
If you have a sweet tooth, then it’s good to live in Cairo. The city is full of dessert shops ranging from the super expensive gourmet delicatessen parlours to your basic street kiosks. It’s very possible to satisfy your sugar cravings for as little as 2LE in any neighbourhood in Cairo; and Maadi is no different.
Al Madina Al Monawara is a well-known dairy shop located on El Laselky Street, one of the busiest and most populated streets in Maadi, right beside Mo’men and Gad.
This small kiosk serves all kinds of juice, ice cream and dairy-based desserts such as rice pudding, belilah and couscous, as well as om ali, trifle and crêpes. The shop also sells milk, margarine and cheese as well as butter and yogurt.
This ground-floor shop is widely known for its fresh, high-quality and cheap desserts, which means it's always crowded; especially in the evenings. Al Madina Al Menawara is the kind of place where you gather with your friends for cold, tasty juice and ice cream on hot summer nights or couscous and delicious, hot Jamaica crêpes on chilly winter nights.
Al Madina Al Monawara’s prices are quite cheap: the Jamaica crêpe with chocolate and banana slices only costs 6.75LE, and is so delicious; you may never want to eat another crêpe ever again! Their ice cream costs 3LE, a tub of om ali costs 4.25LE, and the couscous with cream costs 7.5LE. Home delivery is also offered for an extra charge of 4LE.
Although it takes some time to get your order on a busy night, the staff at Al Madina Al Monawara are very decent and friendly. If it's not too crowded, you may find a staff member standing in front of the kiosk to take orders from parked cars on the street, so you can have your dessert delivered straight to your car.Head to Al Madina Al Monawara if you want a cheap, tasty dessert like their creamy om ali or heavenly crêpe.
From cupcakes to frozen yoghurt, Cairo cafes and restaurants have seen all sorts of food fads and fashions. Recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of ice-cream parlours popping up to help out with the heat. Aptly named Ice, the Zamalek venue offers a range of refreshing ice-cream flavours, alongside smoothies, milkshakes and other sweet treats. The shop itself is fairly understated; although the walls are brightly coloured, there is no indoor seating, creating a vast, bare space between the open front and service counters.
We were warmly greeted at the door and handed one of their paper takeaway menus. With such a diverse selection of fresh juices, cocktails, milkshakes, ice-creams and tarts, it took a while to make any decisions; a process which was helped along by offering tasters of all the ice-creams we fancied.
From their delicious looking chocolate, fruit and nut flavours, we requested a taste of their deliciously fruity mango sorbet, sweet yoghurt and raspberry as well as creamy praline flavours. We didn't see any biscuit cones, just tubs for ice-cream. Priced per scoop, we fell in love with the nutty praline ice-cream (8LE), and paired it with one scoop of sensational, Galaxy chocolate (6LE) ice-cream, complete with hidden chocolate flakes. We also couldn’t resist two scoops of said yoghurt and raspberry ice-cream.
As there was only one blender, the drinks took a while to prepare and considering the medium sized cups were a little on the small side, we ordered all our drinks in large. Firstly, we ordered one smooth and creamy vanilla milkshake; we could taste that their quality, vanilla ice-cream had been used to make it. Next, we had assumed our Banana Mama cocktail (12LE) would be both banana and strawberry juice of the same consistency; however, half the cup was filled with an incredibly sweet strawberry puree whilst the other was a more fluid, milky mixture with just a hint of banana – which didn't mix well. The fresh watermelon juice (9LE) was slushy but under-ripe, which unfortunately meant it tasted a little too watery. Lastly, our Oreo milkshake (17LE) fared better and was every bit the sickly, chocolaty concoction we were expecting.
Also on offer were a number of interesting ice-cream cakes displayed in a large, glass fronted freezer. Alongside the colourful Fruitopia cake, named because of the plethora of different scoops of fruit ice-creams on top, we spotted the Syrian dessert, mastic cassata (85LE). Made on site by their resident Syrian chef, it’s about as authentic as it gets, with a little added sweeteness for Egyptian taste.
On the other hand, the drinks were not the best we’ve tasted, but were indeed refreshing and for such reasonable prices, it's difficult to have any complaints. Whilst the décor at Ice may not speak volumes, the ice-cream certainly does and given its central location, we're likely to go back for more.