El Madiafa Café & Restaurant: Offbeat Café in Downtown Cairo
Unless you’re looking for a typical coffee chain, most cafés in Downtown
are more on the side of friendly ahwas at their best. While we love our ahwas,
the problem lies in those unplanned meet-ups with friends when a little more
comfort and privacy fits the mood.
Remember when your parents would tell you to not judge a book by its
cover? For exhibit A, go to El Madiafa Café & Restaurant. Located on Adly
Street, the café’s interior automatically had us doubtful. The dilapidated wall
mirrors, misplaced columns and fake greenery covered in dust reminded us of a
storage room that one might find in their grandmother’s attic. Left to be, they
threw in some comfy diner booths along with sofa arrangements and voilà; you
have a café.
El Madiafa seems to always be busy but never too full. Catching a breath
between shisha inhales isn’t a problem with proper ventilation and open front
doors. Menu-wise, El Madiafa keeps it simple and we appreciate that. Typical
juices, cocktails and coffees are on the list including banana with milk (5.50LE)
and the El Madiafa cocktail (13LE). The banana with milk is served with
extremely fresh bananas adding freshness to the creamy concoction. For the
cocktail, a scoop of strawberry ice cream tops off the layered mango and
strawberry juice well.
Standard café options are available including salads (4LE to 6LE), soups
(6LE to 8LE), and a few grilled platters (30LE to 40LE); though we’ve found
that sticking with pizza seems to be the best bet. Pizzas are definitely their
thing and they’re surprisingly tasty. Ranging between 12LE to 20LE, the pizzas
are served deep-dish-style with a delicious crust and just enough crunch. For
14LE, the vegetable pizza comes topped with green peppers, olives, onion and
tomato; the topping doesn’t outweigh the crust nor does the crust outweigh the
topping; it might just be our favourite pizza in the neighbourhood.
The staff’s service is customer-friendly to a tee and they’ll gladly go
out of their way to ensure that patrons are satisfied. Tending well to our
shisha (3LE), they take great care while the orange shisha flavour is smooth
If you’re looking for a pick -me-up, their Turkish coffee (7LE) is
executed with pride and they don’t joke around when it comes to the sahlab (7.50LE)
either. Topped with delicately sliced peanuts, dried raisins and coconut
shavings, it’s a dessert in and of itself. If a more substantial sweetness is
where you’re headed, they also have ice cream options as well as om ali (12LE).
Head to El Madiafa when you’re looking for an alternative option,
and with available Wi-Fi, you can manage to get some work done while you’re at