Like taking a Felucca or dining on Andrea’s chicken, the Zamalek Marriott’s garden café is just one of the Cairene staples that everyone must experience at some point in their lives. The garden café is also an excellent place to take your out-of-towner friends to if you want to impress them while basking in the glorious June sun.

Open all week long from 7AM till 1AM, the Marriott garden (or Promenade Café as the hotel calls it) becomes a bustling hotspot on Fridays and Saturdays around brunch time. Considering it’s just one of three venues in Zamalek that provide open-air seating (other than Coffee Bean& Tea Leaf and Sequoia) and the only one in a green and breezy garden, the café is pretty much the undisputed king of outdoor, lazy weekend brunches in Zamalek. It’s a lot of fun to sit and people-watch; and you’re sure to spot a few celebrities and public figures on a good day.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the food is mediocre and far too expensive for its quality. The spinach omelette (a whopping 59LE) was so bad; we barely finished our second bite. If you’re feeling fabulously generous, the continental gentlemen’s breakfast (95LE) includes fresh juice, eggs, muffins and toast. If you’re minding your waistline, the low-calorie breakfast (also 95LE) offers a rather bland selection of cereal, skimmed milk, fruit and whole-wheat toast.

Sandwiches are just as expensive as their selection of pastas, all ranging between 65LE and 80LE. The grilled tuna salad (105LE) is the sole bright spot on their menu: the tuna is actually tuna steak and grilled well, a rare feat in Cairo.

The cheapest items on the menu are the pizzas (around 55LE), which are quite poor. The fact that the verde pizza needed massive amounts of ketchup to be eaten is a strong indication of how terrible it is.

Service can be quite slow on busy days, and waiters may stroll past you while avoiding eye contact or hearing your calls for help. A pizza and a juice will easily cost just under 90LE, while a cup of juice and a small water bottle will set you back 40LE.

Nonetheless, this café is more about the atmosphere and the open air than the food or service. With June weather in full swing; it’s great to find a cool breeze in an aesthetically pleasing location. If you’re yearning for a full-blown continental breakfast, we highly recommend the buffet breakfast at Omar’s Café inside the hotel.