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

City Café

City Café: Quiet Shisha Retreat in Downtown Cairo

reviewed by
Dominika Maslikowski
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City Café: Quiet Shisha Retreat in Downtown Cairo

Tucked away
on a quiet street just off  of Talaat Harb, City Café is a great resting-spot for
those seeking a breather from Downtown Cairo’s crowds.

little-known café, unlike many others in the area, is rarely jam-packed or
noisy. The service is outstanding; the waiters are quick to refresh your shisha
coal, and quick to remember the faces of repeat clients.

The café is
far less intimidating for expats than the rowdy – and often male-dominated –
shisha caf
around Talaat Harb Street. Friendly staff and a laid-back clientele
make it easy to feel comfortable, whether you’re taking a break from
Downtown errands or visiting in the evening with a group of friends.

The café is
sleek and modern with dark wood paneling on the walls and marble floors. There
are comfy couches in the family section upstairs, round yellow tables and a
wall lined with colourful cups and plates with the café logo. The décor gives
the café a homey and contemporary feel that’s more similar to locales in
upscale Zamalek than to the old or historic shisha places of Downtown.

City Café offers a wide selection of quality fresh juices (7LE-11LE). Our
favourite was the rich and pulpy mango juice (11LE), which was tasty for sipping
along with a fruity shisha. Desserts like chocolate cake (12LE) and the
Egyptian classic Om Ali (10LE) are also on the menu, as is a good selection of
non-alcoholic cocktails like
piña coladas (13LE).

There is a
wide range of shishas that are served promptly without the long waiting time of
larger Downtown caf

favourites were the fruity cantaloupe (7LE) and orange and mango (12LE)
shishas, which were all smooth, sweet and refreshing. There were also more
inspired options, like coconut with vanilla shisha or watermelon with mint (12LE).

The café is
a blissfully unchaotic spot in the heart of Downtown where a peaceful locale is
often difficult to find.

Women come
alone to City Café to work on their laptops upstairs while puffing on a
shisha, while men chatter quietly or browse newspapers as the TV plays Arabic
pop music. A few outside tables are nestled alongside trees wrapped with neon
lights, and offer a view of Cairo’s high court.

City Café
isn’t well-known or highly visible from Downtown’s main streets, but it is
worth a stop for its quality shishas and tranquil atmosphere. The friendly
staff and delicious juices have quickly made this little café a favourite for a
quiet retreat from Downtown crowds. 

360 Tip

The neon sign outside says, "City Coffee," but the locale on menus and business cards is called "City Café."

Best Bit

The smooth cantaloupe shisha and pulpy mango juice.

Worst Bit

Sometimes shipment is badly organized – there were boxes of water bottles stacked at the entrance on our last visit.

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