CAIRO: Shisha first found its way into the land of the Nile with the Ottoman conquest in the early 19th Century. It is the modern shisha, however, that is uniquely Egyptian. With the addition of molasses into the tobacco first taking place in the early days of the 20th Century in order to move away from the Turkish way of life.
Goal Café, one of the Zamalek staples for people for all walks of life, is the place to hang out, smoke shisha, have some dinner or just relax in one of Cairo’s best locations.
Goal Café is known for its unbeatable shisha. The Egyptian middle class and numerous foreigners flock to Goal café each day to enjoy the excellent cuisine and cheap shisha. They savor all the flavors that make Egypt’s national past-time an enjoyable endeavor for all.
It isn t your typical café, as it offers the better of two worlds. One is the older crowd that has been undoubtedly coming to Goal for years, and the other is a new, younger crowd that has only recently discovered the wonders of the place.
It is at Goal café where Cairo shrinks, allowing everyone a place to meet and hang out. Young and old women and men come to Goal daily. Both sexes relax, smoke shisha and play backgammon and tarneeb (a local card game) for hours. It is one of the few places in town where class divisions seem to have disappeared. With reasonable prices for its food; a pizza running about LE 15, a shisha for LE 3 and drinks less than LE 9, Goal can offer much to a wide range of salaries.
It is here that people truly begin to enjoy Egypt. Conversations abound with politics as well as trivia about people’s lives. It s a place for everyone.
On a recent vacation from Cote d’Ivoire, Heike Guellier, a United Nations employee stationed in the West African nation, expressed her love for the café. “What am I going to do without Goal everyday? she asks. “The food and laid back atmosphere makes me wish something similar was in Abidjan.
Guellier, an Italian of German ancestry, believes the food is solid. “While it is not exactly what you would get back home, it gets the job done, she says. “I don’t think you can really capture exactly the Italian restaurant outside Italy without paying an Italian chef to come to Cairo. This is the next best thing.
Her excitement over Goal is not new. Foreigners and Egyptians have been coming to Goal for years. The many changes the café has gone through have not stopped its loyal customers from coming.
“I am shocked at how well they treat me here, Guellier says. “The waiters are always on the ball, taking my order happily, not to mention the food doesn’t take too long to arrive. I like that.
With what is arguably the best service among Cairo’s vast cafés and restaurants, Goal has become a place where more and more people, Egyptians and others, spend their days and nights.
Those searching for a cheap café to grab dinner, a coffee, a shisha or a combination of the three should seek out Goal Café. With its new renovations, this small café along the Nile will be a perfect hang out spot for almost everyone. With its cheap prices, decent food and great service and atmosphere, this is sure to be the nightly destination after only one trip.
Goal Café13 Abul Feda St., Zamalek Tel: 738 1024