Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CII. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – Entertainment (28 of 30)


Elite started as an outdoor cafe owned by a Frenchman and a Greek. During the war, their ham and cheese sandwiches were popular with the troops. The story repeats itself; today’s Elite does not have the stature of the original, nor its originality, two features that made it a favorite meeting place for generations of Alexandrians.

In 1953, it was acquired by Christina Constantinou, or simply Mme Christina. Mme Christina is still the proprietor more than half a century later. She is a hands-on owner who keeps an eagle eye over her establishment.

To the outdoor cafe, she added an indoor restaurant, and later on, a night-club; but the latter proved too much of a bother, and today’s Elite includes the cafe and the restaurant only.

If you were to talk to Mme Christina, she will tell all about the rise and fall of the Alexandrian Greeks, and the glory that Alexandria once was. She is an old-timer with an encyclopedic knowledge of this enchanted city; just make sure not to antagonize her by asking her exact age! You should, however, know that her life has spanned two kings, a revolution, and three presidents.

Elite has been graced by its share of celebrities; Om Kalsoum used to drop by for an ice-cream, she was a charming unpretentious woman; Edith Piaf once came escorted by two handsome young men, she was a diminutive woman and wore big sunglasses; Queen Farida (King’s Farouk first wife), a very modest person, would stop by for a Toast Monseigneur and a Capuccino; Queen Nariman (Farouk’s second wife) wore a lot of make-up and had presence; finally, Jihan El-Sadat favored Coupe Jacques, and gave Mme Christina a signed photograph of her.


This was a famous seafood place in Aboukir. Unfortunately, the information I was able to find on it proved rather limited.

It is presently owned by Alico and Nicholas Tsapzis Pericilis (they also own the White and Blue in Ras El Tin at the opposite end of Alexandria). There you will find Tarama (fish roe with lemon and olive oil), Tzatziki (yogurt with garlic and spices), and Mousaka (eggplant and minced meat). Together with these Greek specialties, you can order grilled fish, shrimps, and calamari that taste so different when prepared by the Zephyrion chef.


Hamos was a bakery which still holds precious memories for me. Aunt Rachel particularly liked it; when she stopped there for goodies, she never forgot her nephews. All she had to do was announce that she came from Hamos, and instantly we would claim our treats (usually melt-in-your-mouth biscuits, or petit-fours) and devour them.

The bakery was part of a cafe which still exists today.

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