Thursday, 21 March 2013

Things to do in Tangier

The great thing about Tangier is that there are always new things to discover, sites to explore, interesting people to meet and places to eat the marvellous spicy local food.
The best way to find about all this is to ask people who live there, hoteliers, travel agents or even the taxi driver if he speaks your language (you'd be surprised by how many languages he does speak).
Everyone has a favourite spot: a beach where they swim, a restaurant where they have lunch almost every day, a must-do day trip or an art gallery or shop they never miss.

You can also find information on the internet (Check out and les coulisses de tanger), online magazines and information sites. A wealth of information is out there to be tapped to prepare you for your journey.

However, no matter how much you read and ask about Tangier, nothing beats just walking around in the city at your own pace. This is how you will discover what enchants and surprises you. Beware! Tangier is addictive and you may want to return again and again.

Tangier rests on a series of hills and the house is on the highest hill, the Kasbah, on the right in this photograph.
photo Hedwig Storch

That's the house at the tip of the arrow. This means that when we leave in the morning, we usually plan to stay out most of the day to avoid having to climb too many times the steep streets and stairs leading back home.
photo TALIM

While we are out, we have lunch at one of many favourite places in town.
One of them is a seafood restaurant called "Saveur de Poisson", "A taste of Fish" (more on the others in future posts). It is ranked third of 58 Tangier restaurants on Tripadvisor. The owner gets his fish fresh from the port everyday. If you did not know it was a fish restaurant, you would figure it out by looking at the sign. What you see is what you get, spelling and all!

A still-life of clay pots and wooden utensils adorns the entrance to the restaurant.

Just behind is the kitchen and grill where food is prepared in front of you. It is tiny and yet three cooks work in it.

The menu is always the same, only the type of fish varies. Portions are generous and the price reasonable. The meal usually starts with a seafood soup, followed by a steaming platter of shrimp on a bed of freshly cooked spicy spinach. You dig in with your wooden fork and spoon. Careful: very hot! That is not wine in the glasses. It is a somewhat bitter, cold herb tea and definitely an acquired taste.

Then comes a whole grilled fish, turbot, sole or bar depending on the day and some baby shark brochettes: moist, grilled to perfection and with just enough spice to enhance the taste of the fish without overwhelming it. Add the red pepper sauce at your own risk. Hot enough to send you into orbit!
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Juicy black olives in olive oil, almonds, four different types of bread and a thick freshly squeezed/mashed mixed fruit beverage accompany the meal. No alcohol here and it is just as well as in the summer heat it could seriously hamper your ability to walk out of the restaurant.

To finish, something called " le dessert de la mariée" (the "bride's dessert"), a sort of cooked cereal topped with honey and diced fresh strawberries. Delicious!

The owner is this jovial, enthusiastic man who, as you leave, gives you a locally made clay tea cup or a straw fan, the wooden fork and spoon you used for your meal and a mix of seeds and spices that he swears will improve your digestion and make you feel young and energetic. Judging by his own energy, he must have some at every meal!

Bon Appétit!
Photos: Sylvie Pellet and as sourced

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