One of the most salubrious pastimes of a Ramadan evening has to be simply chilling out over a mint tea, awha or shisha in one of the historic cafés tucked away in the older parts of the city. Perfect spots for watching the world go by, all you need to do is sit back and soak up the atmosphere.
We suggest you give these a try this Ramadan, if you haven't already.
Beit Zeinab Al-Khatoun is a small but interesting Ottoman-era house with a courtyard hosting a traditional café, much frequented by local Cairenes. It can be found at 3 Sharia Mohammed Abduh, a narrow street behind the Al-Azhar Mosque.
Tucked away in an alley at 17 Talaat Harb Street and reputed to be the oldest restaurant in Cairo, Café Riche was the favoured watering spot of the intelligentsia for many years. It still has loyal customers who sit under the ceiling fans, along with tourists who like the nostalgic atmosphere.
A Cairo institution for over 250 years, El Fishawy sits in the historic Khan El Khalili area and has been frequented by artists, musicians, and intellectuals, including Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. From time to time you may find oud players or poetry readings, adding to the traditional atmosphere. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is located just a few streets below the Hussein mosque.
Laiali El Hussein café can be found in El Hussein square in Khan El Khalili market. It has a closed area and an open area sitting on El Hussein square, in front of El Hussein mosque. You will find the usual traditional beverages along with the ubiquitous shisha.
If you are looking for an authentic Egyptian meal in an unbeatable ambience try Naguib Mahfouz in the heart of Khan El Khalili. You may have to cope with tourist groups, it has become a 'must visit' location, but nonetheless, it retains a special charm.
Wali El Neham
Wali El Neham is another of the famous old cafés in Islamic Cairo, near the mosque of El Hussein and Khan El Khalili. Offering shisha and traditional beverages like mint tea, awha, karkade and sahlab, it is also well worth a visit.