This was probably my worst experience in Cairo. For one, this once intellectual hotspot, needs to hop off its high horse and realize that its only a reflection of its bygone glory. We walked in the restaurant at about 6pm and ordered 4 beers. Then the so-called "manager" came and said, "We manage a restaurant...so you need to order food". When we did order some side dishes it he said "...if it does get busy you need to leave". We just canceled the order and walked out. The food is not special...so there is no need to weather the 'rudeness' of this establishment.
I have been to Cairo 11 times in the past year. This is the first time I have encountered either rudeness or a lack of courtesy towards tourists. The purported owner of this establishment (which was recommended for excellent coffee and air conditioning) refused to allow me to use the restroom until I was seated. I was not able to sit, as my companion had not arrived, and I was a single woman. The people waiting with me were not able to sit with me, as there is a charge for sitting. When my dining companion arrived, the two of us entered, and were told the restaurant was closed. Upon leaving, we bumped into an Egyptian couple coming in. We told them the restaurant was closing. They did not believe this, so entered the place, talked to the owner, and sat down to eat. I happen to work for an airline, and we do not take this kind of treatment well. Bad reviews spread like wildfire amongst the employees. AVOID this cafe unless you are Egyptian, as you will not be treated well.
If I could some up the dining experience in one word...Blah.
THe food was OK.
THe service was great.
It was just blah, unfortuanately nobody seems to come here, there were an equal number of locals and tourists, but everyone seemed bored, which was sad as it is a very nice place inside and does have an intersting history.
They do tack on 30% of extra charges on to the bill.
Good place to bring Mom and Dad or grandma who need something very European.
Did not check out the toilets, but imagine they were quite nice.
Favorite Dish: I had :
Lentil Soup - OK
Babaganoush - OK, too garlicky and I am a big garlic fan.
Oriental Rice - OK, with sultanas and spices, but weird pieces of meat showed up in it.
Talaat Harb Street, Between Midan Tharir and Midan Talaat Harb.
The Cafe' Riche was once famous as an intellectual hotspot in Cairo. It is probably one of the only two cafés in town which not only witnessed history, no, it actually wrote history, too. The other one is the Al-Fishawi teahouse in the heart of the Khan Al-Khalili. The Café Riche saw revolutionaries, artists, famous singers and actors, poets and painters, politicians and important businessmen. The famous Arabian diva Umm Kulthoum appeared on stage three nights in 1923 and the Nobel-prize winning author Naguib Mahfouz held his famous Friday literature gatherings here beginning in 1963.