Shisha Cafes in Cairo

August 31, 2012 by

Tours & Activities, Unforgettable Experiences

Shisha in Cairo. Photo courtesy of dungodung via Flickr.

Shisha in Cairo. Photo courtesy of dungodung via Flickr.

For the uninitiated, shisha cafes are establishments geared toward the use of water pipes employed in smoking artisanal tobacco products. They are the most common form of tobacco consumption after cigarettes. The best places in Cairo to sample this regional delicacy are as follows:

1) Orientalist

There are literally hundreds of places that claim to be the most orientalist cafe in Cairo. The Marriot Hotel’s garden is among the most estimable. It is the former summer residence of King Farouk and is a sure bet for foreign visitors looking to try the custom out. The waiters are dressed in the traditional Turkish outfits and you can sip on a beer or a port while you’re at it.

2) The Budget Borsa

Cordoned off by the government, the Borsa area (the country’s main stock exchange) is one of the few places in the city where you can take your repose without the constant annoyance of cars and trucks. Apart from being a strictly pedestrian area, the neighborhood is home to some of the cheapest shisha smoking establishments in Cairo.

3) The Lap of Luxury

There are few locations in Cairo that boast better quality shisha than the Sequoia Cafe in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood. You’ll be bombarded with tons of unique choices, including mixed blends and rarefied varietals. The banana-vanilla mix comes highly recommended.

4) Hit a Hotel

If you need a massage or a swim along with your smoke, look no further than Cairo’s Four Seasons First Residence in Giza, across from the Giza Zoo. It’s a little pricy, but it’s worth it.

- John Reality

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