three great places - Algiers
Written by Oryx
A confluence of cuisines awaits in Algiers, where Berber history collides with French cooking techniques to create a unique blend of elegantly prepared Mediterranean dishes served in relaxed environments.
Fresh fish is a given in coastal Algiers, but for the best seafood in the city head to Le Dauphin where owner Mohamed Zerolani – a former fisherman himself – avoids the fish market entirely to source his ingredients straight from the harbour on which his waterfront restaurant resides. The catch of the day is then presented tableside as diners get their hands dirty choosing between red mullet, sardines, and whatever else came off the boat that morning.
Built in a U-shape around the kitchen, the intimate dining room invites guests to sit and converse with the chefs while their meal is being prepared. Menu choices are limited to beef, chicken, or merguez sausages, an Algerian speciality made with fresh lamb and enough local spices to add a maroon tinge to the meat, all straight off the grill. Based on how crowded Le Tyrolien gets in the evenings, the establishment will surely be around for years to come.
This restaurant is owned and operated by a family from the Kabylie region of Algeria, where villagers still prepare couscous by hand. The real treat is m'loukhiya. It is made using jute leaves mixed with ground spices and olive oil to create a gravy-like paste that is simmered over chicken or lamb, then enjoyed with a French baguette to complete the fusion of cultures and cuisine.
Modern Classic: Algerian Chronicles
More than 50 years after independence, Algerian Chronicles, with its prescient analysis of the dead end of terrorism, appears here in English for the first time. Published in France in 1958 – the year the war caused the collapse of the Fourth French Republic – it is one of Albert Camus's most political works: an exploration of his commitment to Algeria.
Mountain-fresh: La Maison Lahlou – Couscous
High in the Atlas Mountains is La Maison Lahlou, a processing centre for the Lahlou family's award-winning hand-rolled couscous. The Lahlous package handmade couscous for food stores across Algeria, as well as serving it at their restaurant in Algiers.