The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Argila Lounge Restaurant & Café

Argila Lounge: Relax & Get Some Work Done in Dokki

reviewed by
Hannah Wilkinson
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Argila Lounge: Relax & Get Some Work Done in Dokki
Argila Lounge is a bustling café-come-restaurant, tucked away in the backstreets of Dokki. Reviewing Argila’s food is bound to put something of a negative slant on what would otherwise be a pretty positive report; dinner there is not recommended. Instead, if a day of work is looming and you‘re sick of your apartment, Argila is a great place to sit and procrastinate away to your heart‘s content.

About halfway down Ahmed El Melehy Street, Argila is a spacious, modern café with crowded tables and the air is thick with the scent of flavoured shisha. Argila’s menus attest to the fact that it is somewhere you could literally spend all day; it serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as drinks and snacks. But the food is fairly underwhelming. We ordered a motley collection of soup, sandwiches, and salad, and weren’t massively impressed by any of them.

The steak and onion caprese sandwich (32LE) was bland and boring. The Panini bread allegedly contains grilled beef steak, melted Gouda cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and caramelised onions, but none of the different flavours stood out. The generous portion was actually a little overwhelming, but otherwise it failed to make an impression; it didn’t help that the sandwich was unpleasantly lukewarm when it arrived.

From here, the only way was up, with the tomato basil cream soup (14LE) proving rather more satisfying.  It had a cheesy tang which came as something as a shock given that nothing of the sort had been advertised, but this wasn’t altogether a bad thing. The caramelised onions which accompanied the croutons were a nice touch, too.

The salads were probably the best culinary experience Argila had to offer. The Caesar salad with shrimp (39LE) came in a large portion; crisp, fresh leaves generously garnished with tasty dressing, parmesan, and croutons. The shrimps were fresh but also tasteless.

Whilst the food is fairly patchy, the coffees, teas and smoothies are what really stood out. If you’re feeling thrifty, they do a lovely hot cinnamon tea for 5LE. But if you’re willing to push the boat out, the latte (15LE) was tasty and beautifully presented, with swirls of colour and a little design on top. The mixed berry smoothie was fruity with a thick consistency, perfect for a hot summer’s day – or, as generally known in Cairo, a ‘day’.

These reasonably priced drinks are exactly what makes Argila a great place to work, chat and relax. However, an unfortunate decision has been taken to place televisions on every wall, beaming out second-rate American films. This meant that halfway through our meal we were forced to watch Denzel Washington being water-boarded on no fewer than four screens, as Ryan Reynolds looked on.

Regardless, don’t let this stop you hunting down this little gem of a café and indulging in a delicious drink to fuel a hard day’s procrastination.

360 Tip

Due to Argila’s growing popularity, there’s a 40 LE minimum charge on the weekends.

Best Bit

Cheap drinks, relaxed atmosphere - perfect place to work.

Worst Bit

The food is very mediocre.

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