Zamalek is a relatively affluent residential district of Cairo. Pseudo-European in culture, it occupies the northern half of the island of Gezira, which is the large Nile river island at the heart of the Cairo metropolis. (Translated, 'Gezira' means 'island,' for an interesting name of 'island Island' in English.) Gezira district takes up the southern half the island.
Although not noted for its tourist activities, Zamalek makes for pleasant stomping grounds in Cairo because of its residential nature and the presence of many expatriate residents. Because of this, tourists will find the island relatively easy to traverse.
A major artery, Sharia 26th of July, links Bulaq, north of downtown Cairo, to Mohandiseen and Giza.
It's easiest to take a taxi to Zamalek Cairo. The Opera Station in Cairo Metro (line 2) sits on the southern tip of Gezira, next to the Opera House and the Gezira Sheraton. Expect to walk a distance from the main areas of Zamalek. A taxi to Zamalek from downtown Cairo orMohandiseen is about LE 5.
Because Zamalek is relatively small, foot travel is easy once there. Purchase the Practical Guide Maps for easier navigation. This is a small atlas published by the American University of Cairo Press. It's available locally at the AUC Bookshop in Zamalek, or at the Diwan bookstore.
Zamalek Cairo Restaurants
Zamalek has some of the best food in Cairo. Quality restaurants there serve a variety of cuisines, from Egyptian molokhia to Thailand Red Curry. The greenery and atmosphere on this island make Zamalek perfect for a relaxing dinner. It's also the place to visit if you want to get away from Ramadan, because most eateries stay open during the daytime and alcohol is served to foreigners (only) at most of the drinking places.
26th of July Street offers "street cusine" from vendors' stall, serving Arabic and Western fare. There's also a cluster of fish and seafood cafeterias there between Kamal Mohammed and Shagrat-al-dor.
Near Cilantro and Diwan on the north side of 26 July St., Maison Thomas is open 24 hours. It's an historic eatery, and it's common knowledge that Umm Kulthum ate here once. It serves light food, pastries and pizza. Owned by Coptic Christians, it offers real ham and bacon, unlike most places in Egypt. Beer is also available for customers to take with them, except during Ramadan.
Beano's is located south of the 26th of July Street near the Gezira Arts Center and the Marriot Hotel. It serves western European fare. It's open for service all day during Ramadan.
Didos Al Dente
26 Sharia Baghat Ali, serves great pasta at reasonable prices, about LE 5 to 20. However, there is no alcohol served. A great place to eat in Zamalek Cairo.
At al-Sayyid al-Bakri St near Abou al-Sid, Dea's offers customers the best hamburgers in Cairo and is also a pub. It is open during Ramadan.
At 22a Dr. Taha Hussein Street, 736 61 12. This is close to the Chinese Embassy. It also has 24-hour delivery. It specializes in continental food and also provides salads and bagels in addition to good coffee. There is free Wi-Fi available and the place is very popular with foreign students.
Located at 5 El-Sayed Al-Bakry St, this restaurant is next to the post office at the corner of Sayed al-Bakri and Sharia Brazil. Its second floor becomes a nightclub at night and it is closed during Ramadan.
On the far eastern part of 26th of July St., there is a full-service liquor store just before the bridge to downtown, and is less than three blocks north of the Cairo Marriott.
At 18b, el Marashly St., tel 027358465, this café is open daily 7am-3am. It has good coffee and a variety of Arabic and Western dishes. It includes an American breakfast with pancakes. It's a popular place to hang out for foreign students. There is also wireless Internet available.
At 112 Sharia 26th of July, tel 02 735 9436, this restaurant is open daily 9 am-midnight. It's a small, established and very popular café frequented by expatriates and students. Space is limited with just a few stools available or you can stand at the bar. It has very good cappuccino and a great selection of pastries and sweets. Juices also are offered.
Cafe de Paris
At 10 Mohamed Thakeb Pacha St. (off El Marashly St.), telephone (02) 735 37 39. This café is open 3 pm-2am and offers drinks, sheesha and beer in garden-like surroundings with a background of constant Arabic pop music. It is popular with students from the nearby AUC student quarters and also serves food.
At el Marashly chemistry, this is another Cairo coffee chain and boasts delicious coffee, small selection of pastries, sandwiches and cold drinks. It is the best for take-out coffee.
Zamalek at Night
This restaurant and bar is around the corner from Diwan in Zamalek Cairo. The conglomerate that also owns Tabouleh and L'Aubergine owns it. (Tabouleh is an impressive Lebanese restaurant in Garden City). This restaurant offers high-quality Egyptian cuisine and superb fresh juices, with a wonderful atmosphere.
At El Sayed El Bakry Street, this pub is off 26th of July St. It's open from 4pm-2am and is popular. It has cable TV, a DJ and house music, as well as a pub menu. It is open during Ramadan. Stella is LE 15, with main dishes from LE 25-60.
At Shagaret El Dorr St., this pub is open from noon to 2 a.m. This is a typical British pub frequented by expatriates and locals as well. It boasts international brands of liquor and food is served. It is very popular; he should book a table if you are not someone who wants to sit in the bar. It's open during Ramadan. Stella is LE 15, with main dishes from LE 25-60.
Harry's Pub Cairo Mariott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino
At Sarya El Gezira Street. This karaoke pub turns into a disco when crowds are big enough. Local beer is LE 20.
Zamalek Cairo Shopping
159, 26th July St. This may be Cairo's best English-language bookstore. It carries Egyptian and Western music, DVDs and videos. It also has a small café that serves pastries and coffee. This is my favourite bookstore in Cairo.
Zamalek Cairo Bookstore
19, Shagaret El-Dorr St. This is a small bookstore with a large selection of stationery products and English children's books.
American University in Cairo Bookstore
16, Mohammad Thakeb. This is a smaller version of the main campus bookstore downtown, and features AUC Press publications and more.
Concrete carries high quality men's dress shirts that can stand up to anything in London, Milan or Paris. It does free custom tailoring for both suits and trousers. Although ties are overpriced, other clothing prices are reasonable considering the quality provided.
Mobacco Cottons (Clothing)
At Ahmad Sabri St, between Shagaret El-Dorr and Brazil St. Mobacco Cottons has Egyptian cotton clothing of quality. Most is made in Egypt and then exported. Prices are higher than other stores in Egypt, but the quality compares to stores in both Europe and the United States.