Fine Dining In Algiers Offers Variety, Luxury, And Economy

Algiers, the capital city of Algeria, offers many excellent restaurants. Many residents and tourists in Algiers might head to the venerable Hotel El-Djazair for an evening of the very finest traditional Algerian food, and they would be happy with their choice. And yet there are a number of less well-known eateries in Algiers that are newer, fresher, and offer evolving renditions of the traditional North African staples of lamb, fish, and chicken by culinary artists who are just reaching the peak of their craft.

Fortunately, Algiers has a huge selection of excellent restaurants. One that has made a fine reputation for itself in the last few months as perhaps one of the half-dozen best restaurants in town is Le Tantra. This little gem is hidden in a lovely villa in the Bois des Arcades, a wooded area near the Maqam Echahid or Martyrs Monument on Riad El Feth. Le Tantra has a fabulous open terrace in summer that is great for dining al fresco, but eating indoors is probably better when it gets too cool in the evenings.

The chef at Le Tantra is a brilliant synthesist specializing, as might be expected in seaside Algiers, in seafood, but with very interesting offerings of poultry and lamb also on his carte de menu. Recent guests have ordered fried shrimp for an appetizer, grilled sea bass for the main course, and French apple pie with ice cream for dessert. Can one imagine a more simple, homemade meal? Yet this was delectable.

Preparation is everything. The fresh-baked bread was served with a plate of tomatoes and fresh, local sardines complemented by a second plate of grilled peppers. The tomato and sardines were delicious preludes to the grilled shrimp. The gambas, as shrimp are known in this part of the world, were so fresh-there is no disguising shellfish that is right out of the ocean — delicately fried in a butter mixed with tiny morsels of pineapple.

The highlight of an evening at Le Tantra could certainly be a grilled sea bass, seared with extreme heat to seal in its subtle flavor and juices, and then grilled to perfection on a slow wood fire. The sea bass came without a sauce, the sign of a very confident chef indeed. There was nothing there to disguise the subtle and marvelous taste of the bass all by itself. Many guests will enjoy this treat as long as this item remains on the menu. Before ordering coffee, you might consider a desert. One of the best is a French apple pie with cinnamon ice cream, a bit of a departure from the American version of pie a la mode. The apple pie at Le Tantra is served quite warm, moist, but with a piquant and crunchy crust, an outstanding treat.

Do not expect a lavish décor at Le Tantra, though it is quite elegant and it is now maintained in splendid style, spotlessly clean. The waiters are also very helpful and extremely attentive. Do not leave Algeria without trying Le Tantra at least once.

Source by Francesca Salerno

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