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

Zahret El Midan

Zahret El Midan: Humble Tea & Shisha in Dokki

reviewed by
Anne de Groot
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Zahret El Midan: Humble Tea & Shisha in Dokki

Throughout Egypt’s cities and villages, ahwas are a familiar sight to see. At your standard coffee shop in Cairo, patrons are predominantly men who smoke their
shishas while playing backgammon and watching the world go by. So what happens if
you step in as a party of two blond girls? This reviewer went to find out.

Zahret El
Midan is located near the metro entrance on Tahrir Street in Dokki. The coffee
shop has most of its tables and chairs arranged on the pavement, while the
interior has a few seats and a wall stacked high with shishas. Seats are either
made of plastic or wood and crates function as tables. There isn’t that much on
the menu except for tea, soft drinks and coffee, water and shisha.

Although
we caused some commotion upon arrival, things calmed down pretty fast. We were
presented with the only purple/pink seats available and an army of staff (three
men) came to take our order. In true tradition, we ordered cups of black tea
and a shisha. All of our orders arrived in less than two minutes.

The
shisha came with a plastic lay and the only available flavour at the time of
our visit was apple. The black tea came with sugar on the side so we could add
it to our own liking. There is nothing much we can say about the tea. It was
just tea. The shisha wasn’t that terrific and left us coughing for a while to
the great amusement of the male clientele. Other than that, we were left alone,
and everyone minded their own business and returned to their backgammon games.

The best
thing about sitting on the pavement outside of Zahret El Midan is the street
view. Located on a busy street corner, there is always something going on.
There is a television inside, but nobody really watches it; though you can hear
it from three blocks away. The best thing to do in an ahwa like this one is to eavesdrop a little, try a game of
backgammon and perhaps have some small talk with other patrons. We paid a total
of 9LE for two cups of tea and a shisha, a great price compared to what you’re
charged at the more upmarket coffee shops.

So there
you have it. No scary situations, no harassment, just a drink on the corner of
the street.

360 Tip

Be warned; if you ask for water, it will almost certainly come from a tap.

Best Bit

Very cheap shisha in a quintessential Egyptian ahwa.

Worst Bit

Noisy street on one side, loud TV on the other side, so it’s not exactly the quietest of places to have a drink in.

Map Data
Map data ©2016
Map DataMap data ©2016
Map data ©2016

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