We've already established how integral food is to the classic Ramadan experience, but there's a bit more to it than gorging ourselves at fetar. By the time you actually sit down at the table to break your fast, you have already gone through all the ways you are going to devour that mahshi, or that kofta you've been dreaming about all day. This is why many Egyptians enjoy, and fuss over, Sohour just as much as Fetar, making the Cairene nightlife scene all the more popular during the Holy Month.
With many a tent and restaurant boasting the ideal Ramadan experience, we've picked out some of the ones to keep in your radar.
Event Republic's stylish lounge, Wahawi, returns to Le Pacha Zamalek for hearty meals and laidback shisha nights. With a little something for everyone, Wahawi is perfect for a night with family and friends. Their carefully crafted menus, quality shisha, games and entertainment has made it a popular sohour pick. For reservations, call 0100-294-7111.
Bab El Nil (Fairmont Nile City)
With Fairmont Nile City's open-roof setting and that perfect Cairo weather, Bab El Nil is sure to have you in an ultimate chill mode. For sohour, the Fairmont's renowned chefs have been working meticulously to bring you a truly delectable selection of Ramadan inspired food and when all of the above is coupled with live music and breathtaking views, well, it sells itself. Call 02-2461-9494 for reservations.
Fawazeer (Le Meridien Cairo Airport)
Widely agreed to be the quirkiest tent out there, this colourfully contemporary gem aims to breathe new life into 90's pop-culture, reanimating such icons as Fatouta and Sherihan. Held at the luxurious Le Meridien Cairo Airport, Fawazeer guarantees an eccentric twist to your sohour experience, offering several different games consoles to keep you entertained in between bites. With actual Fawazeer for you to solve and music to keep you entertained, this kheima is definitely a must-go. To book, call 02-2265-9600.
Ramadan Fel Harra (Eat & Barrel)
Transforming from popular Cairo hangout to Ramadan wonderland, Eat & Barrel has gone all out this Ramadan. Replacing some of their iconic décor pieces with Ramadan inspired knick-knacks and festive furnishings, Eat & Barrel is offering a distinct and authentic Arabian atmosphere, with some of Egypt's biggest bands and musicians set to perform. For reservations, 0101 649 6999.
Speaking of sailing off into the distance, 3al Markeb is a similar concept, offering eight lounges with some rather tempting little features – how does each table having its own popcorn and cotton candy machines sound? The drawback here is that the lounges are docked, but with sohour buffet, live entertainment and NOLA Cupcakes providing nibbles, you won't miss out on the Ramadan experience. Call 0102-7987-904 for reservations.
Jayda (Conrad Cairo Hotel)
One of two special Ramadan venues at Conrad Cairo Hotel this year, Jayda is, by far, one of the best places to have your sohour thanks to the hotel's consistently excellent food and the Lebanese restaurant's uniquely calm, but traditional, ambiance - live Oriental takht, great food and great shisha. For reservations, call 02 -2580-8000.
Som3a Basha (Cairo Marriott Hotel)
When a tent is named after Ismail Pasha, and is held at a palace that was built for him, you know it's got to be good – and Som3a Basha definitely lives up to expectations. Take a stroll down memory lane for sohour as you sample traditional Egyptian street food from the live cooking stations Som3a Basha has to offer. To reserve a spot, call 02-2728-3000.
Embracing natural surroundings with their edgy design concept and amazing Zamalek views, Sequoia hits the mark again this year reclaiming its place as a perfect sohour venue. With their popular shisha selection and wide variety of different cuisine selections, Sequoia is up there with the greats, and highly recommended for a laidback Ramadan night. Call 02-2735-0014 for reservations.
Fawanees (InterContinental Semiramis)
Combining spectacular Nile views and live entertainment every weekend, Fawanees provides a definitive sohour experience. Offering a sohour set-menu and one particularly large and impressive octagonal fanoos, there's no going wrong with one of the city's most underrated hotels. For reservations, call 02-2798-8000.
Founded by marketing mogul, Tarek Nour, Ramadana has paved the way for luxury Ramadan events. Boasting a night of extravagance and merriment, the sohour hotspot is frequented by many of Egypt's A-list celebrities – so while you're there, keep an eye out for them. Along with the great food, of course. Call 0121-280-1290 for reservations.
Lanterns (The Clubhouse, Uptown Cairo)
Boasting a stunning and unique view, Uptown Cairo's Clubhouse is situated perfectly for a breezy Ramadan evening. With traditional sohour food on offer, the tent hosts live Oriental music during weekdays, as well as some of Cairo's top bands on weekends.
The Lounge (InterContinental Citystars)
Lebanese sohour buffets, live bands and DJ sets await at the InterContinental Citystars' Ramadan activities, with the hotel's tent, the Lounge, standing as one of the sleaker spots in Cairo to enjoy late nights during the holy month. For reservations and more information, call 02-2480-0100.
Stay tuned for more Ramadan suggestions and review on Cairo 360 – Ramadan Kareem!