Aside from the standard services offered by the various cultural centers around Cairo such as language courses, music concerts and film screenings, authentic national cuisine can be sampled in the restaurants and clubs located nearby or inside the premises of each cultural center. These venues not only add to the cultural experience of your visit to the center, but are worth visiting in their own right.
French Cultural Center
Famous for its sunny outdoor courtyard, the French Cultural Center cafe is the perfect spot for an early afternoon lunch or weekend brunch. They offer a variety of meat, chicken and fish dishes, and the “plat du jour” is always an interesting choice for those less familiar with French cuisine. Alongside the soft-drinks menu, the cafe offers a small range of alcoholic drinks including beer-press served in iced mugs. The place is open all week long from 10 AM until 4 PM, with the exception of Saturdays, and turns into a cafe in the evening. French Techno and dance parties are organized on Fridays every now and then, so follow their schedule for any updates. No minimum charge is required.
Budget: Good value for money considering the quality
Address: 1 Madrasset el-Huquq el-Frenseya, Mounira
The Italian Club
While most other cultural clubs around Cairo are designed to serve a hip, young clientele and offer budget-priced menus, the Italian Club has appointed itself as a fancy restaurant catering to a clientele looking for an authentic Italian platter and imported bottle of wine. On that aspect the Italian club does not disappoint. Tastefully cooked Italian dishes are served with amazing starters and a long list of wines (including a delicious South African red wine) to choose from. On busy nights the club doesn’t welcome passers-by and requires a reservation, but if you have an Italian friend among your entourage you will find a place regardless of capacity (they have a spacious indoor area and outdoor patio). A LE10 entrance fee is required for non-Italians but it’s a cheap price to enjoy a lovely and quiet night in the otherwise noisy downtown area.
Budget: Can be pricey, especially the wine
Address: 24 el-Galaa St, Near the Essaf Metro Station, Boulaq, Downtown
The Swiss Club
There is nothing particularly “Swiss” about the Swiss club other than its name and the Swiss flag at its entrance. That, however, is not a bad thing. Located in the backstreets of the KitKat neighborhood, the place is a mixture of party venue, evening hangout and decent international-cuisine restaurant. A big villa takes center-stage on the premises, and is the space for lot of hip-hop and R&B themed parties, especially on Western holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. The beautiful garden, however, is a great location to enjoy a drink and shisha, and a place where friends can gather to watch football matches and enjoy an over-priced Guinness Mexican beer. Usually there is no entrance fee to pay, but if there is a party going on in the villa you may need to pay LE50 on the door, which entitles you to a one-Stella beer voucher.
Address: Villa Pax, el-Gihad Street, Off Sudan Street in KitKat
Tel: 02-33142811- 010-3009695
The Greek Club(s)
Greek clubs are all over the place and can be categorized according to seasons. On late summer nights you can enjoy a calm and refreshing breeze, nibble on great appetizers and have a beer or two with friends in the outdoor area of Emad el-Deen Street Greek Club branch. Wintertime is the perfect season for a cold beer, live piano, well-made Greek salad and a warm ambiance in the Talat Harb Square Greek Club, especially since the renovation of the indoor area there. Both branches are situated in old downtown buildings with spacious high, vaulted ceilings.
While the main courses are not advisable at either of the Cairo branches, seafood is the specialty of the Alexandrian Greek Club which overlooks the harbor and sleepy sealine of the city. Their interesting and authentic dishes are not easily forgotten. The Alexandrian Greek Club was established in 1909 and still has a historic feeling to it.
You can enjoy the traditional Greek alcoholic drink Ouzo at all branches, which will remind you of the famous Turkish and Shami Raki. Talat Harb’s Greek Club is the only branch where you need to pay an entrance fee of LE35, but the cash will be deducted from your final bill.
Talat Harb Branch:
Address: 28 Mahmoud Bassyouni Street, Talat Harb Square
Emad el-Deen Branch:
Budget: Reasonable (offers the same menu and same prices as the Talat Harb branch)
Address: 15 Emad el-Deen Street, Downtown
Budget: More on the expensive side
Address: Kait-Bey Street, Anfoushy, Alexandria