Nestled in the corners of small streets and alleyways, covered with the dust and the glow of the golden age, Cairo is filled with places holding relics of bygone eras. Take Khan El Khalili for example; every day, tons of Cairenes and tourists flock to see the many hidden gems of that area. Be it the historical sites, the bustling shops, or even the decades-old local coffee shops.
The latter is what we’re speaking about today, namely the Naguib Mahfouz Café. Naguib Mahfouz Café has been visited by Cairenes from all walks of life ever since it was established in 1989, the same year Naguib Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
It became a favourite spot in Cairo for Mahfouz himself, and is very close to Al-Gamaleya area, the area in which he was born. He even had a favourite table where he used to sit whenever he visited. After his passing, the owner of the café put Naguib Mahfouz’s picture on the table, and decorated it with a number of his books.
The café is an embodiment of the Fatimid era, and it feels like a trip back to that time. From the ancient door to the uniform of the staff, even the lighting fixtures and the carpets. There’s even a shoe cleaner sitting in one of the corners of the café.
This restaurant and café was originally called Khan El Khalili, but Naguib Mahfouz’s continuous visits, and his winning of the Nobel Prize made the owner change its name. The café is open from the early hour of 10 am, and goes all the way into the late night at 2 am.
You can enjoy a number of Egyptian delicacies at the restaurant such as Alexandrian liver, mombar, or koshary, as well as a host of the traditional hot drinks and juices. Once the clock ticks 9 pm, you can enjoy delightful oriental music with singers performing classical songs.