Cairo Cafés Guide - Cafés reviews in Egypt

Cairo Cafés

Dip n' Dip:  Chocolate Overdose at Citystars Branch of Popular Cairo Dessert Chain
Published On: 09/05/2016

For many, happiness equates to chocolate – and for good reason. Scientifically, chocolate produces two important hormones; the dopamine which helps you be alert and focus and serotonin – also known as the happy hormone – which prevents depression. Yearning for some great desserts, and of course some dopamine and serotonin, we headed to Dip n' Dip, one of the most talked about chocolatiers and dessert places in Cairo and a definite go-to if you're craving chocolate-infused desserts. Located inside Citystars, Dip n Dip's food court branch has a spacious indoor area with touches of wood, with red, black and white colours dominating the interior, the ceiling, the walls and even the plates, not to mention three chocolate fountains displayed in front of the open kitchen. The venue itself is big, with several tables set outside, so you don't worry about the long wait you'll usually find at Dip n' Dip's Cairo Festival City branch. With a huge variety of desserts, including Caramel Pain Perdu (50LE), Brownies n' Cheesecake Pot (65LE), and, wait for it, Fettuccine Crepe (60LE) – shredded crepe topped with molten chocolate – we wanted to try almost everything, until we finally decided to go with the Funky Brownies Crepe (50LE) and classic Dip n' Dip Waffle (60LE). The former is a French crepe with perfect thickness stuffed with fudgy brownies and smothered in Dip n' Dip's insane milk, white and dark chocolate sauce combo. As good as it sounds on paper, the combination of the brownie-stuffed concoction didn't work, with the chocolate sauce itself served in such abundance that we had to scrape it off to taste the crepe itself; it was an overly sweet dessert, unbalanced in terms of flavours. The waffle was a different story altogether, though. Served with strawberries, kiwi, bananas, pineapple, whipped cream and your choice of milk, dark, or white chocolate, the Dip n' Dip waffle is by far the best waffle we've come by in some time. The fact that it's overpriced and is actually half-a-waffle, it had a crispy exterior, with a soft and fluffy centre. The waiter came with a jar of milk chocolate sauce to drizzle it over the plate as a touch of showmanship, but again it was just too much and drowned the otherwise delicious waffle. With a cheerful vibe and a love of chocolate, Dip n' Dip is sure to please. Perhaps the one concern we had during our visit, was the fact that the chocolate was overpowering the desserts rather than complementing them. For those who like a little bit of chocolate over their dessert –including yours truly- the experience might be just end up being a chocolate overdose, but as far as chocolate, Dip n' Dip is every chocoholic's dream come true.


Ampersand: Quaint Cafe & Restaurant in Zamalek
Published On: 08/05/2016

Zamalek isn't short on cafes and restaurants, but that hasn't stopped the island being a desirable spot for the coffee houses and eateries to call home. The venues at Abu El Feda Street's Club 33 haven't had a good start to the year, but the Nile-side road is still largely defined by the number of venues sitting along it, the latest of which is Ampersand. As a restaurant and café, The aesthetic is all very simple, with outdoor seating in a fantastic little enclosed garden of light, natural wood and greenery and an indoor area boasting white walls and plenty of natural light on account of the glass walls, as well as a fussball table. The menu at Ampersand brings together a wide variety of dishes inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, but the sandwiches and desserts were rather tempting during a morning visit – the former of which you can customize to your heart's desire. You pick a bread (10LE), cold cuts/protein (15LE), cheese (18LE, vegetables (4LE) and a dressing (2LE). This is where we encountered a problem, though. The menu doesn't state the options available and, at the time of our visit, the waiter was unable to recall what was available. In the end, we decided to rely on luck and go for a roast beef sandwich with cheddar cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise – and luckily all the ingredients were available. Arriving in no time at all, said ingredients were noticeably fresh, with the beef in particular being tender and finely cut. Served with a side of solid French fries, the only issue with the sandwich was the baguette, which, already brittle from the outside as it is, was just a tad stale. We also tried a fresh orange juice (24LE) which was, indeed, very fresh and served in a very generous amount, while Ampersand's latte (27LE) was spot on. Continuing with the drinks, we also ordered a cappuccino (24LE) alongside a hearty slice of chocolate cake (45LE), which comes in a jar, as is the trend these days. Made of layers of cream and cake and topped with crushed biscuits, the cream and cake layers were outstanding. Boasting a balance of sugar that let the chocolate flavor shine, the cake layers were soft and moist, though the biscuit was an unnecessary addition and tasted stale while not retaining much crunchiness. While our visit to Ampersand wasn't without fault, there's a settling in period that every venue has a right to. As a venue, Ampersand is airy, pleasant and takes full advantage of its location, offering a good spot for lunch brunch or a quick coffee. All that's left is a little bit of tweaking in kitchen.


Classic Rock Coffee Co.: Hidden American Coffee House at Citystars
Published On: 01/05/2016

Keeping up with Cairo's restaurant scene is as exciting and it is unpredictable and while local restauranteurs compete with new concepts every day, more and more international chains are also trying out their luck on Cairo's restaurant map. One of these venues is Classic Rock Coffee Co.; an American coffee house that takes up a space at a restaurant called the Garage at Citystars. Tucked away beside the tickets office on Citystars' fifth floor, Classic Rock Coffee Co. shares the same venue with the Garage, which dominates with a biking-themed interior – colourful scattered helmets, biking graffiti on the walls, a full bike at the entrance - while Classic Rock introduces subtle rock music theme, which is mostly shown in its guitar themed banners and guitar pick logos on their menu. Eager to find out what both venues have to offer, we decided to order our meals from the Garage and trying Classic Rock's shakes and beverages. Skimming through the Garage menu –which involves a mishmash of international picks including burgers, pizzas, Chinese and Italian food – we were a little concerned with the restaurant's lack of identity but we decided to keep it simple with Ninja Fingers (39 LE) as our appetiser and for the mains, we opted for the Garage Burger (39LE) and the Royal Star Burger (39 LE) with a side of Garage Cocktail Fries (19 LE each). Served as fourbreaded boneless tender chicken strips, the Ninja Fingers had a pleasant golden crunchy outer crust, but as soon as we sliced into it, the breading started to crumble apart or completely fell of as we dipped it into the accompanying honey mustard dip. Shortly after, our burgers and fries arrived. Served in small bowls, the Garage Cocktail Fries – basically chili cheese fries – were covered with a thin layer of cheese that we had to dig to find the minced beef, while the red beans were nonexistent as if the chef was holding back. Overall, it was a mediocre dish. A large burger patty stuffed with mozzarella cheese, covered with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and special garage sauce, The Garage burger had an unpleasant stale taste with no presence of any mozzarella stuffing as promised in the menu while the bun didn't taste special. The Royal Star burger was a double patty burger with essentially the same toppings as the Garage Burger, with an addition of beef bacon which we requested to give the burger an extra punch; only it didn't do much as the burger itself had the same stale taste as the one before. Fortunately, Classic Rock Coffee Co's milkshakes came in to save the day. The Chocolate Peanut Butter (26LE) was a heavenly piece of art, with a delightful taste of melted chocolate ice cream and a magnificent peanut butter aftertaste that was both delicious and exciting. The Purple People Eater (26LE) was incredibly refreshing with an amazing blueberry sourness complimented with bananas which worked so well with the overall flavour of the shake. We sealed the deal with the aptly named Full Tank of Sundae (36 LE); three scoops of vanilla, chcolate and strawberry ice-cream topped which were smooth and quite refreshing even though they were served without the promised chocolate/caramel sauce. Overall, we had a disappointing experience with the Garage burgers and we feel the place needs more time to elevate the quality of its dishes and figure out the type of restaurant it wants to be. But as far as milkshakes and desserts –which is what we actually came for- Classic Rock Coffee Co. introduces great flavours which definitely redeemed the evening and will make us come again soon for some more.


Yoggy’s: Fat-Free Fro-Yo at Sheikh Zayed's Americana Plaza
Published On: 30/03/2016

Frozen yoghurt is perhaps the best invention since French fries-except that maybe it is far less hefty and has guiltless calories. Arriving early to the IMAX movie theatre with a couple of hours to spare before the movie starts, we came across Yoggy's, a fro-yo specialist which turns out to be the sweetest waste of time. Located inside Americana Plaza, Yoggy's is a fat-free frozen yogurt shop with a simple, casual purple & white atmosphere, few wooden benches in the outdoor area –similar to the ones you find in school courtyards- not to mention intriguing DIY frozen yoghurt machines which stood out as soon as we stepped inside. Yoggy's has three different cup sizes, only the scale is what specifies the cost where 100 grams of frozen yoghurt costs 24LE. With three machines available, each having two blendable flavours –pistachio, strawberry and bubble gum to name a few- we opted for two medium sized cups of frozen yoghurt, where the first was a mixture of plain Frozen Yoghurt with Blueberry (65LE) and the second was Custard and Chocolate (60LE) ready to be spiked with toppings. Starting from the blueberry and plain frozen yoghurt mix, the consistency was thick, creamy and very smooth. The plain frozen yogurt had a creamy flavour with a tangy kick to it which worked so well with the sweetness of the fruits and the gummy bears, while the blueberry had a fruity, refreshing and zesty flavour which didn't need any additional toppings. Topped with oreos and M&Ms, the chocolate frozen yogurt was bursting with chocolate flavour which made us feel like it wasn't frozen yogurt and more of a soft chocolate ice cream while the custard frozen yogurt had a milky pudding-like flavour to it; a perfect choice for those who prefer sweet flavours overpowering the sour and tangy flavours of the frozen yogurt. Yoggy's is a fun experience and a great outing for those looking for a sweet light treat before heading to the movies or while on a shopping spree. Everything from using the fro-yo machines, watching the luscious frozen yogurt going into the cup and topping it with gummy bears was delightful but it definitely came at a price. 


Kayan Kitchen & Bakery: Excellent Gourmet Sandwiches at Unlikely Dokki Kiosk
Published On: 28/02/2016

The food and beverage industry in Egypt is so big, and continues to get bigger, that some venues often go overlooked - hidden gems ready to be discovered. One such diamond in the rough is Kayan Kitchen & Bakery; a small kiosk selling gourmet sandwiches in front of Shooting Club in Dokki. A smallish cart embellished by a green carpet, plants on the front; it can be hard at first to believe that such small venue is capable of making such variety of gourmet sandwiches from chicken, beef, turkey and cold cuts-you name it. We kicked things off with a Kayan Burger (27LE), which came with an impressive amount of Italian flavours. The juicy burger patty was covered in lettuce, diced tomatoes, fresh melted mozzarella, pesto sauce, pickled red onion and Dijon butter, all nestled in a light and fluffy bun with a spot-on crispy exterior. Everything came together perfectly for a genuinely Italian taste. Looking to try the chicken options, we were initially torn between BBQ Chicken (28LE), Kayan Breaded Chicken (30LE) – both highly recommended by the staff - and Chicken Curry (25LE). We opted for the latter, which came in the form of tender, curry-spiced grilled chicken, mixed with roasted peppers, pickled lemons and yogurt-coriander dressing. Though wrapped in pita rather than traditional Indian naan bread - wishful thinking on our part, maybe - the chicken curry was bursting with flavours with an overpowering pickled lemon flavour. Like the burger, it certainly lived up to its name. We couldn't leave Kayan without trying something from the cold cut sandwiches, that's when we went with famous BLT – (beef) bacon, lettuce and tomato (28LE). Bringing together Dijon butter spread, pickled onion, beef bacon, lettuce and tomatoes and served in Italian white ciabatta bread, everyhting from the bread to the vegetables tasted noticeably fresh, while the Dijon butter spread added an exquisite kick to the overall taste and was a perfect foil for beef bacon. Dessert was next up on our visit, but, unfortunately, they didn't quite hit the bar set by the sandwiches. Opting for Chocolate Donut (7LE) and Cinnamon Roll (7LE), the donut was a little too dense, while the cinnamon roll needed more cinnamon. Despite the desserts, it's difficult not to be impressed by Kayan. Everything from the friendly staff, to watching food in the making, to then eating it was a delight and, if we're honest, a suprise - never judge a book by its cover, indeed.


Cake Café:  Zamalek Bakery & Café Still One of the Best in Town
Published On: 23/02/2016

Cake makes everything better – fact. Eager to try some of the best cake shops in town –the few that are rather away from Cairo's never-ending cupcake craze-we headed to Zamalek's cosy bakery and cake specialist, Cake Café. Cornered in a side street next to Gezira Sporting Club, Cake Café has maintained its small two-storey space, with the ground floor housing few seats and an impressive cake display showcasing what's on the menu; the upper floor, meanwhile, has a more homely feel, thanks in part to its small library of books and board games display. With an impressive collection of cakes, cookies, cupcakes and cocktails –think pumpkin ginger cake, chocolate fudge, Oreo cheesecake, pecan tarts and chocolate chip cookies- it took us some time to settle on what we'll opt for; especially that many of the items we aimed for – including the pineapple-banana spiced Hummingbird Cake and Pumpkin Ginger Cake– were not available at the time of our visit. We instead went with Apple Cinnamon Cake (32LE) and Zucchini Carrot Cake (32LE) alongside two cocktails; Kiwi Splash (32LE) and Green Banana (32LE). Starting with the apple cinnamon cake, we loved the cinnamon kick that hit with every bite, but by far the best thing about was how soft, and fluffy it, was – a sign of freshness and, more significantly, the skill that has cemented the venue as one of the best and most enduring in Zamalek. Unfortunately, the zucchini carrot cake didn't fare as well. Firstly, there was an imbalance of flavours; the ginger was overwhelming and it was overall dry in texture, despite the presence of a moist component like zucchini the flavourful, if a little too strong, cream cheese crust. Our cocktails were, surprisingly, what stole the show, boasting refreshing flavours and spot-on chunky consistency. Bursting with fruity flavours, the kiwi splash was a mixture of mild grape, complimented by the sweeter flavour of the kiwi, while the green banana cocktail was just as good, with an overpowering banana flavour concealing the kiwi kick. Our visit to Cake Café wasn't without fault, but there's a reason that it has been steady ship throughout the years, even with the influx of 'concept bakeries', if you will and baked-good-trends (we're looking at you, cupcake). On Facebook, you'll find Cake Café using the words 'simple' and 'elegant' – and that's exactly what you get here. The efforts of Cake Café are channelled into the kitchen and not gimmicks and fads.


Haagen Dazs: Ice Cream Giant's Latest Branch at Cairo Festival City
Published On: 16/02/2016

One cannot simply stop eating Haagen Dazs just because it's winter; especially when it comes to the sweet ice cream bliss that is Haagen Dazs. Craving some luscious top notch scoops, we headed to the Danish ice cream tycoon, Haagen Dazs at Cairo Festival City. Anyone who abides by the idea that ice cream should be eaten only in summer, clearly doesn't appreciate the concept of ice cream at all – especially when it comes to Haagen Dazs. Though it has had mixed success in Cairo – a Zamalek branch opened and closed pretty quickly – the new branch at Cairo Festival City is awash with people daily. Given that it is almost always packed with people and the limited space, we were torn between grabbing some ice cream to go or waiting in line for an empty table; we were finally happy to decide the latter, though. From the Brownie Explosion (45LE) –brownies served with chocolate, cookies and vanilla caramel ice cream- the Haagen Dazs Fondue (125LE) – a house specialty comprised of mini ice cream scoops, molten Belgian chocolate sauce and fruits – and the Belgian Waffle Dream – pralines and cream ice cream drizzled with butterscotch served on a freshly baked waffles (45LE), the revelation that Haagen Dazs' menu is so much more than ice cream left us overjoyed and excited to try out as many as we could get hands on. After a lot of thinking, we opted for a mishmash of desserts comprised of Haagen Dazs Salted Caramel Crunch (50LE), a Classic Banana Split (65LE), and finally, Haagen Dazs Signature Apple Pie (34LE). A parfait-like dessert comprised of two scoops of salted caramel ice cream, infused with wafer, almonds nibs and caramel sauce, Haagen Dazs' salted caramel crunch was outstanding. With a creamy smooth ice cream flavour, complimented by the wafer cone's discernible crunch, toasted crushed almonds and a perfect caramel coulis sauce; a masterpiece dessert we will be happy to order over and over again. Served with our choice of three ice cream scoops –of which we picked banana chocolate brownie, caramel biscuit & cream and mango sorbet – the classic banana split, was another great dessert choice; with the banana chocolate scoop elevating the overall banana flavour, the caramel biscuit scoop working so well with the almond and wafer bits and finally, an extremely refreshing taste coming from the mango sorbet. Last but not least, and with barely enough room for more, we had a go at Haagen Dazs' Apple Pie. A crumbly crust with caramelized apple which had a discernible bite to it, the apple pie was delicious; only it lacked cinnamon flavour. An addition of cookies & vanilla ice cream (19LE), some hazelnut crunch (5LE) and a subtle drizzle of caramel sauce (5LE) –which we had fun improvising – made this classical dessert all the more fantastic. With a great execution, not to mention a wide variety of dessert on the menu paired with Haagen Dazs' flavourful and unique ice cream is something that will surely caters for all tastes.


Sun Shadow: A Dissapointing Visit to Manial's Blue Blue Bay
Published On: 13/12/2015

When visiting one of the many restaurants or cafes in Cairo, we're taught by the Cairo 360 editors to never enter with personal expectations – to take something for what it is and judge it on what it promises and how well it delivers. Sometimes, however, you can't help but be effected by a first impression, especially if that first impression is a negative one – something that we couldn't get away from when stepping foot in Manial-located cafe, Sun Shadow. As part of the bay-shaped, Nile-side mall, Blue Blue Bay – so blue they named it twice, clearly – Sun Shadow benefits from a nice view and its large outdoor seating area. The décor and general aesthetic of Sun Shadow tries to replicate that of a Parisian café, but beyond its Eiffel tower-shaped logo, it's a pretty standard, though pleasant, Cairo café set-up – think wicker chairs, wood flooring and dim lighting. The same can be said of the menu; everything from coffees, juices and (virgin) cocktails, to pizzas, sandwiches and desserts and it's the unusual cocktails that caught our eye first, with the café offering peculiar drinks such as mango lemonade and mint & peach (24LE each) – we plumped for a pina colada (24LE), which took an eternity to arrive. When it did arrive it was nothing more than a banana milkshake, which was sent swiftly back, only to return with pineapple and coconut in the banana-milk mixture – still very much not a pina colada. We tried our luck with a lemon and mint smoothie (24LE) but it too wasn't quite up to standard, with the distinct flavours of the two main components being rather faint. Hoping the food would fare better, we ordered a hotdog tortilla sandwich (24LE) which is exactly what it sounds like. Unfortunately the whole thing seems to have been left on the fire for too long; in addition to the slices of bell peppers inside the sandwich being burnt – not charred, but burnt – the whole thing was very heavy and greasy. The chicken pasta (32LE) disappointed, too; served in a white sauce, the chicken was overcooked and very much under-seasoned, leaving the whole dish pretty flat in taste. Meanwhile, a poor chicken pizza (32LE) rounded off an all-round frustrating experience; there was next to know tomato sauce or cheese on what was a very thick base. With a location that many cafes and restaurants owners would die for, we were hoping for more from Sun Shadow; but then the fact that we were privy to infighting between the staff and the fact that the floor was covered in a fine layer of dust, our visit seems to have been doomed from the start.


L’Éclair Paris: Cairo’s First Parisian Éclairs Patisserie at Downtown Katameya Mall
Published On: 23/11/2015

Cupcakes took Cairo by storm almost five years ago, but with dozens of cupcake specialists and pastry shops trying to bleed everything they can out of the simple baked good – think konafa cupcakes, et al – it's about time for Cairo to latch into a new dessert. Having recently opened in Downtown Katameya Mall in New Cairo, we headed over to L'Éclair Paris, fully open to the possibility of becoming addicts infamous Parisian delicacies. Browsing through the display, of the outdoor-located shop, we were mesmerised by the diversity of flavours ranging, from fruity ones including blueberry, mango, passion fruit and apple crumble, to the more dense chocolate and cream flavours, including Nutella, Kitkat, white chocolate and caramel, vanilla, red velvet and mocha. L'éclair Paris also offers savoury fillings including turkey and cheese, smoked salmon, mixed Cheese, and roast beef and cheese; perfect for breakfast or brunch and they are also available in miniature bites. After initially having a hard time settling on which éclairs to try, we opted for a mishmash of different flavours; a marshmallow vanilla éclair, white chocolate and caramel, mocha, crispy Oreo and chocolate-strawberry (22 LE each). From the savoury choices, we ordered the smoked salmon éclair (35LE) stuffed with Philadelphia cream cheese, fresh smoked salmon and capers. Despite being sceptical at first about the savoury éclairs, we were quite surprised by how the ingredients were balanced with the flavour of the dough which was really light and tasty without being too sweet. Generously stuffed with cream flavours, our sweet éclairs were all made of perfectly light, authentic choux dough and tasted absolutely delicious. The marshmallow vanilla one was topped with mini marshmallows and was stuffed with vanilla cream, though one of the highlights was the white chocolate éclair, thanks to its delicious white chocolate croquant pieces, caramel drizzle on top and cream caramel filling. The mocha éclair, was, on the other hand, every coffee-lover's dream come true; it's infused with coffee cream with a tiny coffee cup made of chocolate on top, while the crispy Oreo was somewhat heavy, being stuffed with Oreo cream and crushed Oreos, with the dough discernibly crunchier than all the others. Perhaps the chocolate strawberry éclair was our favourite; strawberry cream filling and its heavenly chocolate coating – we needn't say more. Overall, we had very little to complain about with what L'Éclair had to offer and we left with light surprisingly tummies, thanks to its incredibly light and well-made choux dough. L'Éclair's location can be easily missed by man - it's essentially a large stall - but it's worth seeking out.


Skalans: Tasty & Affordable Egyptian Street Eats in Heliopolis
Published On: 19/11/2015

No matter how many foreign cuisines come to the Cairo restaurant scene, there's nothing quite like authentic Egyptian food - a sentiment that had us eager to try recently opened Heliopolis eatery, Skalans. Located in the Sheraton Buildings area, close to Hamada Sheraton – another famous street eats hub in the area serving foul and ta'ameya- Skalans is a small shop with quirky blue garbage cans for chairs and an interior floor designed to look like that of the street. Gaining more popularity by the day, Skalans was already crammed up people at the time of our visit and when we did eventually find seating, we found the chaos left by the people who came to eat before us waiting. Torn between all the drooling choices in the menu – from liver sandwiches, Alexandrian spicy sausage sandwiches (8.50LE-10.50LE each) and Hawawshi (12LE- 23LE), to pastas (19LE) and spicy meat platters (30LE - 32LE), not to mention some grilled cheese sausages – one of Skalans' specialties (10.50LE) – we finally settled on a medium and a large Hawawshi (12LE and 19LE), an Alexandrian sausage sandwich (8.5LE) and two packs of French fries (5LE each). Besides our main bites, we wanted to also try the dessert and between Skalans – a sandwich comprised of cream, honey, jam and halva (halawa) – (8.50LE) and a Nutella dessert – halva with nutella –(8.5LE) we opted for the latter. An hour later, the cashier screamed our number and our food was ready, alongside some complementary pickles. Served in half pita bread portions, our hawawshi was quite tasty; though somewhat greasy, it boasted perfectly seasoned minced meat and good consistency and was surprisingly light. Smothered in Tehina, chopped vegetables and a mere half a sausage, our Alexandrian sausage sandwich was quite disappointing, on the other hand; lacking the traditional Alexandrian pungent, aromatic seasoning, the sandwich was far from flavourful and actually rather bland. Despite the unfamiliar mix, our Nutella-halva blend was perfect; surprisingly light, the two flavours actually worked together and managed to be both creamy and light at the same time. Overall, despite some missteps, such as the slow service and the unnecessary and deafeningly loud music, our visit to Skalans was satisfying enough; just don't expect your visit to be a relaxing one.


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