Dining Through the Decades: An Epicurean Journey Across Old Cairo

As we step into Cairo’s streets, we encounter more than just its modern façade. Historical establishments dotting the city offer glimpses into its rich past, where history, culture, and cuisine intertwine seamlessly. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, these cherished spots promise to transport you to a realm of nostalgia and allure.

Let’s explore these timeless havens together, where every corner holds a story waiting to be discovered.


In 1891, Swiss-born Giacomo Groppi established Maison Groppi in Downtown Cairo, creating a renowned destination for chocolate, pastries, and tea. 

It swiftly gained fame as the premier tearoom in the Middle East, earning favor from foreign dignitaries and royalty, who were often gifted Groppi chocolates. Notably progressive for its time, Groppi was the first chocolatier in Egypt to employ women. 

With branches in Downtown Cairo, Heliopolis, and Alexandria, it became a cherished haunt for Egyptian elites, celebrities, British officers, and affluent expatriates.

Maison Thomas

Via flickr

Founded in 1922, Maison Thomas is an Italian bakery and pizzeria that has delighted patrons with its culinary delights since the early 1900s. 

Renowned for its wood-fired oven, it crafts some of Cairo’s most irresistible pizzas and pastries. Stepping inside, guests are whisked away to a bygone era by the vintage ambiance characterized by marble tables and stained glass windows. 

Maison Thomas expertly serves up not just delicious food but also a nostalgic journey through time.

Le Grillon

Founded in 1941, Le Grillon was a fancy restaurant and beer garden where rich people would hang out for drinks and food before and after Umm Kalthoum’s shows at the nearby Qasr el Nil Theatre. Even during breaks in her performances, people would pop in. 

Back in the 1950s, all the big Egyptian movie stars, such as Roshdy Abaza, Sabah, Amina Rizk, Samia Gamal, and Nadia Lotfy, loved to go there. 

Some crazy stuff happened too, like when Fareed el Atrash had a heart attack and had to be rushed to the hospital, or when Abdelwahab insisted on washing his fruit himself and asked for a whole pitcher of water at his table. 

Nowadays, Le Grillon isn’t as nice as it used to be, so we don’t suggest eating there. But it’s still okay to grab a drink and smoke shisha on their covered terrace. Lots of locals like to visit different bars around Downtown Cairo, and Le Grillon is still a popular stop.


Founded in 1922, L’Amphitryon is one of the few old-fashioned places left in the Korba area of Heliopolis, a neighborhood designed by the Belgian Baron Empain. 

It used to be a fancy restaurant and bar loved by wealthy Heliopolis residents and expats with money. No one really knows for sure why it’s called that or who started it, but some think it was Greeks. The Germans in the area liked to call it a beer garden and hung out there a lot. 

Nowadays, it’s not as nice as it once was, but it still has a decent outdoor area by the street and a chill spot out back for smoking shisha and having a beer while munching on Egyptian snacks like mezzes and shawerma.

That was it: a journey back in time together. Each spot has its own tale to tell, and every taste brings back memories that last a lifetime. 

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