Ali El Hendy Coffeehouse - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Ali El Hendy Coffeehouse

Hidden away in a back alley, this Art Nouveau cafe has been in business since 1882. 

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In the heart of labyrinthine streets and back alleys in Alexandria’s El-Mansheya area, about as hidden as can be, an antique coffeehouse captures the city’s classical charm. Established in 1882, the Ali El-Hendy Coffeehouse is both a lesser-known but locally beloved gem, and a stunning work of Art Nouveau architecture.

At the time of its founding, the coffeehouse was run by a Greek woman named Maria Khritiobas. Her partner, an Egyptian named Ali El-Hendy, later bought the place from her and named it after himself. During the two World Wars, it is said to have been used by citizens as a shelter.

Set in a quadrangular courtyard with a large skylight ceiling, the Ali El-Hendy resembles an Italian galleria, a grand oasis in a desert of dusty alleyways. There are many tables in the covered square, where locals sip their morning coffee (Egyptian and thick, of course) and catch up. It’s a perfect place to start your morning in Alexandria.

Know Before You Go

Egyptian coffee traditionally ranges from arriha (sweet) to ziyada (very sweet). While you can always ask for yours sada (plain), although note that locals typically reserve that bitter brew for funerals.

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June 18, 2024

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