From romantic dinner dates, to spa days, to parties - you name it, we’ve got it in our round-up of the best Valentine's options for you and your boo.
Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is all but here – and escape is futile. While Cairo’s most cynical dismiss this most saccharine of days, there’s still an undeniable charm about it that you can’t resist - or maybe it's just us getting softer in our old age. Naturally, the city’s bars, clubs and hotels are very much getting into the spirit with a host of different events and offers. We begin, as we so often do, with the best of the parties. Dig in.
This one’s not for the feint of hearted. There’ll be none of that lovey-dovey stuff here – just DJ Feedo, hours of hip-hop and plenty of bumpin’ AND gridin’, in Say Whaaa?! - an event that has become lore of Wednesday nights at CJC.
The already romance-friendly bar and restaurant, Keji, is doing Valentine’s with live performances from two guys that we don’t see on stage all too often, Shady Noor and Salma El Fawal, who have been cooking up some magic in the studio together recently, as the resident DJ, Armen.
The scene of so many casual first dates, The Tap Maadi has enlisted the help of the musical Casanova that is singer-songwriter and guitarist, Danny Malak, for its own Valentine’s special - just be wary that your date doesn't look into his eyes. Many have fallen to his charms at first-sight.
Now one of The Tap’s favourite perennial cheesy nights, Cheeseballs marks its one year cheesy anniversary with a special cheesy Valentine’s edition featuring not-so-cheesy local favourite, Sebzz, and the big cheese himself, Jack Avakian, both seen above with suitably cheesy smiles.
Speaking of Valentine’s belly-dancers, the folks at Gŭ Bar are doubling your money with not one, but TWO belly-dancing treats in the form of Vika and Kristina Kozhul, the latter of whom has been leaving a trail of destruction behind her with a recent string of performances in Egypt.
The sleek and chic AEON is going for a rather demure Valentine’s night, with live music coming courtesy of duo, Samar and Zeina. Essentially, they're keeping things simple, tasteful and classy - the polar opposite of most Valentine's nights in Egypt.
Resisting the urge to go the belly-dancer route for Valentine’s, Nineteen Twenty Five have gone a different route, instead welcoming Ashraf Habashi and Los Compadres, for a night of smooth Latin Jazz - think Buena Vista Social Club, that yellow-ish brown nostalgic filter and sensual hip-swaying.
Former Student DJ Competition conquerors, Aguizi & Fahim, are leading the charge at Bus Stop's own Valentine's shindig - one what will also see the New Cairo bar welcome bar favourites, Moenes, Seif Sallam and Tommy to caress the decks. Yes, in this metaphor their equipment is their lover.
Sitting high above Downtown Cairo on the 36th floor, OPIA has a special dinner offer, but the real meat is in the entertainment, which includes DJ Phillip Loupa, Sara the percussionist and Hala the violinist - as well as THAT view. It's entertainment in itself.
The best, nay only, bar on the island of El Manyal brings back a house favourite in DJ Nada for a special Valentine’s party that also promises one or two surprises - what these surprises are, we have no idea, so don't hold it against us.
Unlike its Agouza-based sister, Cairo Jazz Club 610 has forgone the usual Valentine’s Malarkey and instead has a huge gig with Sharmoofers. Not the most romantic way to spend a Valentine's evening in the traditional sense, but then they're pretty handsome fellas.
And then we come to hotels, where special set-menu dinners seem to be the trend, but there are also one or two pampering options to boot, spanning the growing selection of luxury hotels in Cairo. Feast your eyes on these:
What is it? A neat little pampering package that begins with a 90 minute aroma stone massage and continues to continues with access to the pool, sauna and steam room.
Why should you go? Going back almost 2000 years in China, the practice of stone massage reduces stress and anxiety, whole also helping relieve muscle tension and pain.
How much is it? EGP 1750
What is it? A special four-course set menu that cherry-picks the best dishes of the restaurant’s sprawling international menu.
Why should you go? As an open-air restaurant, Plateau offers a stunning view of the lush greenery of the golf course and a lake that will make you want to propose to your date right then and there.
How much is it? EGP 450+++
What is it? Nothing says love like a big slab of meat in your mouth and JW’s Steakhouse will more than oblige with its own fancy four-course gastronomical gala.
Why should you go? The JW Marriott’s signature restaurant offers a perfect blend of high-end refinement and steakhouse-heartiness.
How much is it? EGP 650+++
What is it? Four seems to be the magic number at the JW Marriott, because Lebanese restaurant Ahlein is turning into a Lebanese love-den with Levantine four-course feast.
Why should you go? This one’s simple – their mezzah are phenomenal. Watch out for that hummus breath, though.
How much is it? EGP 450+++
What is it? Lemongrass is taking lovebirds on a culinary journey across Asia with four stops – get it? Because it’s a four-course menu. No? Fine let’s move on.
Why should you go? Food from Hong Kong? Thailand? Singapore? China? You can get all that – and dim sum. Oh come on – that was funny.
What is it? A four-course menu is up for grabs here as well, but this time one that channel’s the best of Italian food – authentic and rustic, but with the signature JW sheen.
Why should you go? Because when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.
How much is it? EGP 450+++
What is it? Now we’re talking – Mirage Café’s buffets bring all the boys to the yard and this special Valentine’s edition promises a few extra treats.
Why should I go? It’s a big, beautiful, bountiful, bodacious buffet in a bright and breezy brasserie.
How much is it? EGP 350+++.
You can get in touch with the JW Marriott for more info and reservations on 02-2411-5588.
Renaissance Mirage City
What is it? One of the city’s finest Asian restaurants, Chinoix, is laying out a spread of its finest Far Eastern treats.
Why should you go? It’s classy, it’s sleek and who doesn’t like Asian food?
How much is it? EGP 400
What is it? Variety is the spice of life and it’s the key to a great buffet – something that international restaurant Citron knows all too well with its Valentine’s special.
Why should you go? If the a la carte menu is anything to go by, then we’re in for a treat. It covers everything from Oriental mezzah, to risottos and seafood – expect nothing less from the buffet.
How much is it? EGP 325++
What is it? Maybe you want to grab a couple of cocktails after dinner? Do so at Flute Lobby Lounge and get a festive heart-shaped dessert on the house.
Why should you go? Try the Rum Crusta - it's awesome. Or the Sandy City. The Oriental Express is pretty yummy too. Don’t even get us started with the Flower Sour.
How much is it? Cocktails are EGP 140 each.
Call the Renaissance on 02-2406-3333 for reservations.
Cairo Marriot Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino
What is it? A set-menu dinner at the Marriott’s quaint but sleek Japanese fusion restaurant.
Why should you go? Seemingly taking up its own nook in the hotel, Torii transports you to a high-end Tokyo eatery – and it’s one of the few restaurants in Cairo that serves sake.
What is it? A set-menu dinner at one of the most unique restaurants at an already rather unique hotel.
Why should you go? Taking cues from the Marriott’s palatial aesthetic, you can enjoy Valentine’s like a true pasha.
What is it? A carefully curated set menu at an Italian restaurant that is big on portions and even bigger on flavours.
Why should I go? Not unlike the region of Tuscany, this is a restaurant that pays homage to the Tuscan approach to food of keeping things simple, but fresh and oh so delicious.
Marriott Mena House Cairo
What is it? Dine under the stars and in the proverbial shadow of the Great Pyramids, with a special set menu and live guitar music.
Why should you go? This is as complete dining experience as you’ll find – the food, the entertainment and THAT view.
How much is it? EGP 520++
What is it? Special offers on both Classic Rooms and *dramatic pause* Superior Rooms.
Why should you go? Surrounded by an emerald green golf course and a picturesque lake, this as serene a city break as it gets – and then there’s the spa and dining. See below.
How much is it? EGP 2200 for Classic Rooms, EGP 2800 for Superior Rooms, all on half-board basis.
What is it? If you book a 60-minute couples massage, the good folks at the Westin are throwing in an extra 20 minutes on the house – and a few other treats as well.
Why should you go? Because said treats include two complimentary glasses of wine, strawberries and home-made chocolate heart.
How much is it? EGP 2000
What is it? Paloma (which, FYI, means dove in Spanish) is serving up a special four-course Mediterranean menu.
Why should you go? Because La Paloma is incredibly popular classic love song. Spain is a Mediterranean country. This Paloma is a Mediterranean restaurant. It sells itself, really. There’s live entertainment, too.
How much is it? EGP 370++
Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah
What is it? Five-courses at what is probably the best Moroccan restaurant in all of Cairo. Yum.
Why should you go? Because the man pulling all the strings behind the scenes, Chef Dia Bouchama, is a magician and the restaurant itself is quite the visual mind-meld.
How much is it? EGP 950++
What is it? A long-standing favourite in Cairo, Le Deck is putting together a five-course menu of French cuisine.
Why should you go? It’s French, it’s on the Nile and it’s just a very cool restaurant – plus, the man in charge is Michelin Star Chef, Laurent Peugeot.
How much is it? EGP 1400++.
What is it? A colorful four-course set menu and complimentary mango lasee, for an authentic Indian dinner.
Why should you go? Having opened just last year, Mani Puri was an immediate hit, thanks to seasoned chef, Satya Parkash.
How much is it? EGP 950++
For reservations at the Sofitel Cairo, call 02-2737-3737.
Four Seasons Nile Plaza
What is it? It’s a buffet of all your classic Egyptian favourites – it’s like if mama was gourmet chef..
Why should you go? Four Seasons Nile Plaza is famed for its top-notch food and Zitouni is no different.
How much is it? EGP 700++
What is it? Six courses of some of the finest Chinese cuisine you’ll find anywhere in Cairo.
Why should I go? Because this is real Chinese food, not the heavy and often greasy type that has been honed in the west; 8’s food is fresh, light and doesn’t taste of MSG.
How much is it? EGP 1500++.
What is it? A five course Italian meal of the highest, heartiest, yummiest order.
Why should I go? Bella is an award-winning restaurant that hits the sweet spot between wholesome and high-end.
How much is it? EGP 1350++
What is it? The crown jewel of the Four Seasons Nile Plaza is doing Valentine’s with a little oomph, with a creative a la carte menu and a DJ providing the music.
Why should you go? Stunning view, a setting that looks like some kind of rich hipster dude’s cool-ass living room and some artisanal dishes.
How much is it? EGP 650++ minimum.
What is it? A five-course menu that proves that when it often comes to food, simple is beautiful, to the background of live piano music.
Why should you go? This one’s for the lovers looking for a sleek, sophisticated and demure Valentine’s.
How much is it? EGP 900++
What is it? It’s simple - all the gourmet chocolate treats your sweet-tooth desires, set-up in the most heart-melting buffet.
Why should you go? CHOCOLATE BUFFET. Live piano, too. But, yeah, CHOCOLATE BUFFET.
How much is it? EGP 350++.
Call 02-2791-7000 for reservations at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.
Fairmont Nile City
What is it? Taking place on both the 13 and 14, Teatro of Love sees Saigon host Ahmed Harfoush and Moustapha Bejaoui, the latter of whom will be backon the 14th, but this time with indie darling, Hany Mustafa, performing.
Why should you go? With Asian-fusion set menu dinner and barrels of entertainment, this is a proper old-school dinner-and-a-show. Two, in fact.
How much is it? EGP 600 (exclusive of taxes).
What is it? Conrad’s resident Chinese gem is offering set menu dinner, along with a complimentary glass of bubbly and live music.
Why should you go? Kamala a treat to the senses; aside from the food, the service is excellent and the atmosphere is perfect for a chilled but sophisticated Valentine’s night.
How much is it? EGP 999 (inclusive of taxes).
What is it? A set menu dinner of Lebanese cuisine with a modern touch, as well as live guitar music and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine to boot.
Why should you go? Previously a steakhouse, Lebanese celebrity chef, Joe Barza, flipped things upside down and had a hand in creating unique and original dishes – it’s Lebanese like you’ve never eaten before.
How much is it? EGP 1111 (inclusive of taxes).
Book now at the Conrad Cairo by calling 02-2580-8481
What is it? Book a double room in the heart of Downtown Cairo and, well, you know the rest…
Why should you go? Because the possibilities are endless – the Ramses Hilton has some mighty fine restaurants (we recommend award-winning Indian eatery Maharaja), their amenities are great and you’re right in the middle of one of the most vibrant cities in the region.
How much is it? EGP 649 per person.
For reservations at the Ramses Hilton, call 02-2577-7444.
What is it? This one's great - the package includes double room with breakfast, a five-course set menu dinner at Italian restaurant, Giannini's, with two glasses of sparkling wine and breakfast the next morning at Rawi. But wait - there's more. You'll also get a special gift box that includes a bottle of wine, chocolate and discount cards for Giannini's and Studio70.
Why should you go? As the newest hotel to tower above the capital, there are all the makings for a perfect night, with a perfect view.
How much is it? EGP 2380.
Looking to hit the road and hightail it out of Cairo? Maybe Hurghada? Well, the Sinbad Club Hotel has a special three-night getaway for EGP 3200, which gets you a double room with free pick-up from the airport, a 25% discount on a la carte dining, free access to the gym and thermal areas, as well as a 30% discount on a body massage.
Alternatively, head north to Alexandria, where the Four Seasons San Stefano is offering a special package for EGP 4200, which gets you a one-night stay in a Sea-view room, a dinner for two at Byblos, breakfast in bed the next day or a breakfast buffet. Meanwhile, the Westin Soma Bay has a three-night half-board package for EGP 4600.
And so there you have it; we’ve done the hard part, the rest is up to you. May your Valentine’s Day be filled with food, massages and other cutesy things - more of which can be found on the Cairo Scene events calendar.