Lakeside Café: Dinner with a Citadel View
Al Azhar Park
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.