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

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Cairo Guide: A Walk on the Quiet Side in Maadi

Cairo Guide: A Walk on the Quiet Side in Maadi
    written by
    Cairo 360

    Admit
    it: many of you non-Maadi residents turn up your nose at the mention
    of Maadi. Those of us who call the neighbourhood home, however, enjoy a remarkable degree of peace, quiet and fresh(er) air on a daily basis. The
    villa-laden neighbourhood is our closest version of a quiet suburb,
    with patches of lush green lawns flanking quiet, tree-lined streets.
    It has its fair share of elaborate villas, an expansive sports club,
    and enough day-care centres to raise an army.

    We
    admit that Maadi is no party-central; in fact the social life here is
    a bit like living on an isolated island. Not only does the rest of
    Cairo seem intolerably far away, but the general mood is one of such
    relaxation that Maadi locals have developed a notorious reputation
    for being too lazy to leave the house. However, the key to enjoying
    your time in Maadi lies in appreciating the relaxed pace and finding the
    appropriate activities with which to wile away the lazy hours.

    While
    Maadi has expanded immensely in the recent years to include annexes
    like Zahraa El Maadi and New Maadi, Old Maadi has maintained the
    quiet, green streets that make for pleasant walks or bike rides.
    Maadi is quite safe given the many embassies or diplomats residing in
    the area, meaning that it’s possible to go for a jog, ride a bike
    or even take a walk on a late night without getting into trouble.
    Rent in Maadi is comparatively cheaper than Zamalek, Mohandiseen and
    Dokki, especially in New Maadi, Zahraa El Maadi and on Road 200. It’s
    recommended that you try several real estate agencies to compare
    their prices, while regularly checking postings on the trees outside
    Beanos and Greco on Road Nine, as well as in Volume One and Bakeer on
    Road 209.

    The
    neighbourhood has several reputable medical centres, such as Degla
    Medical Centre, which staffs credible and well-respected doctors for
    your various medical needs. It also has several pampering options
    such as N-Bar, Hammam El Talat and Tarek Nail Salon, as well as the
    hair salons Butterfly and Hamada, all slightly cheaper than in
    Zamalek.

    With
    enough shopping at Maadi
    Grand
    Mall
    and
    Maadi Carrefour
    ,
    indoor activities and cinemas at Bandar
    Mall
    and
    Family
    Land
    ,
    and a rumoured monopoly on Cairo’s only genuine ice-rink (stay
    tuned for our pending review), there’s a lot to keep you busy. The
    neighbourhood also has several attractive home accessories stores
    (notably Cavalli Corner and Kartell) as well as La
    Botega Italiana

    and Le
    Fromagerie
    ,
    two delis that offer gourmet Italian and French food, dairy, spices
    and sauces. 

    Besides
    the usual coffee chains, Maadi is home to a few unique coffee places
    that have become integral to socialising in Maadi. Greco
    café
    stands out as one of the best quality coffee-brewers in the Capital.
    Its no-frills environment emphasizes the fact that its coffee
    products are truly high quality, plus it opens as early as 8AM with
    fresh muffins everyday. Be warned, though: rush hour generates long
    lines at the coffee bar.

    For
    many Cairenes, late Friday brunches are traditionally held at Maadi’s
    cult favourite Lucille’s ,
    where queues of people from all over town wait up to an hour for a
    table in the diner. Almost everyone has their regular order from
    pancakes, omelettes and French toast to burgers and the American
    classic breakfast burrito. Max’s
    is
    a German-Egyptian restaurant that serves up a mixture of simple,
    excellently-prepared European dishes, while Bua
    Khao
    offers
    seriously spicy South East Asian cuisine. Little
    Swiss
    is
    a cubby-sized delight of a Swiss-German eatery offering delicious
    fondue.

    Despite
    housing a large expat community and some of the coolest people in
    Cairo, Maadi has- for some obscure reason- failed at having one
    self-respecting nightlife spot; the paltry three or so bars are slim
    pickings for nightlife options. If you can’t quite decide what kind
    of evening you’re up for, head to Villa
    55
    ,
    marked by twinkling fairy lights strung around the Road Nine
    entrance. Outside, the villa gardens are packed with low tables and
    wicker chairs, perfect for lounging over a shisha. Downstairs, Pub
    55

    is quite a different story; it’s a dark cave of a place, where live
    music and a youthful crowd are featured most weekend nights. Red
    Onion

    and Boss
    Bar

    are both local, low-key dives that feature drinks by the pitcher and
    a faithful expat following.

    For
    a look around a few local shops and cafés, take a jaunt down Road
    Nine, beginning at the Metro Market where you will find Cilantro.
    Don’t be surprised if you see a fair share of cyclists,
    sportswear-wearing pedestrians, and joggers along the avenues. If
    you’re planning to go for an afternoon jog, take a tour through the
    canal streets, the area that runs parallel to Road Nine and all its
    shady side streets, or Road 254, which is a good 2.5km-long and has
    small parks and pavements for off-street running. If you’re more of
    a gym person, enjoy Samia Allouba’s treadmills or work on your tan
    at Gold Gym’s rooftop pool. Take a cue from locals and use your
    visit to the neighbourhood to stretch your legs and get some good
    old-fashioned exercise. You can also enjoy Maadi by water; the
    felucca port located near the TGI Friday’s on the Corniche offers a
    quieter, less heckled alternative to the more touristy Dok Dok spot
    on the Garden City Corniche.

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