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

Crystal Cafe

Crystal Cafe: Nile-side Sandwiches in Maadi

reviewed by
Melissa Howell
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Crystal Cafe: Nile-side Sandwiches in Maadi

One of the many charms of Cairo is the Nile and the
countless restaurants, cafés and docked boats dotted along its banks. Located at
the beginning of the Maadi Corniche across from the Co-op Petrol Station, Nile
Crystal is a tourist boat operated by Misr Travel that embarks on daily lunch
and dinner cruises along our beloved river. The cruises include performances of
Tannoura, belly dancing and live music to accompany your meal. However, if setting sail is not your style
and you prefer to stay on dry land; you can check out Crystal Café on the
water’s edge.

The café offers several
seating areas, one of which is shaded by a pergola close to the boat docks. This
seating area is more comfortable and has a better view than the patio furniture
behind it, but service may suffer; as it is far from where the waiters hang

Don’t expect anything great
from drinks at Crystal café. Both the coffee
and the juice that this reviewer ordered were thin and watery as though the
kitchen were trying to reduce costs.  

After being let down by the
beverages, we didn’t hold much hope for the food; but to our delight, Crystal
Café serves some great sandwiches. Okay,
so the burger (25LE) is a frozen patty, but it is dressed with a special sauce,
fresh lettuce and thick slices of tomato on a fluffy sesame seed bun.

The Bora Bora (25LE) is a mix
of marinated chicken, onions and peppers on a long sandwich roll. The chicken
isn’t as spicy as advertised, but hot sauce is provided if you’d like more of a
kick. Both sandwiches come with salted, golden brown fries and crispy picked
carrots, onions and olives.  

Crystal Café’s portions are
definitely generous for their prices, and while the menu is short and only has
your typical café food, they do it well. Salads aren’t on the menu, but if you ask the waiter, cold mezza such as
tehina, baba ghanough and hummus are available for 8LE each.

The downside of eating lunch
while overlooking the Nile is that you’re almost guaranteed to be fighting off
flies from the moment your food is delivered, but if you bring your own bug spray, Crystal Café is a fine spot
for a quick bite to eat on the Nile.

360 Tip

If you go around cruise time, you can see the boats take off from the dock and have an unobstructed view of Dahab Island.

Best Bit

Crystal Café has soft bread and well-stuffed sandwiches.

Worst Bit

The flies are relentless.

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