Lakeside Café: Dinner with a Citadel View
The beautiful Al Azhar Park is the jewel of the city and an architectural feat, having formerly been the site of the city’s refuse. It is now a haven of green in an otherwise congested metropolis. Its restaurants showcase some of Cairo’s most breath-taking vistas, overlooking Islamic Cairo and the Citadel from the vantage point of its man-made lakes and palm forest.
Besides the Lakeside Café, there are three other restaurants within the park’s grounds: Alain Le Nôtre, Studio Misr and The Ayyubid Café. but our visit took us lakeside to its namesake, the much photographed wood-latticed hanging stone arrangement at the southern tip of the park.
Arriving after sunset, the park’s illuminated walk-ways lead the way, where the sunken outdoor dining area was enhanced by courtyard pools, and tables are arranged under twinkle-lit trees. An instrumental version of Jannat’s Bahibak played in instrumental in the background, and the lights of the Citadel and Islamic Cairo danced over the waters of the man-made lake; it was atmospheric to say the least.
The food itself was delicious. We started with fattoush with pomegranate sauce, vine leaves and tahina. For a main course, the breaded fish with lemon, and the chicken with mushroom sauce were tender, fresh and flavourful, and our entire meal cost 120LE, including water and mango juice – all in all, a great value.