Tunis: Dine in the Souk… Or Eat with the Locals

IMG_0095Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, has one of the most amazing souks in the Middle East: a warren of stone streets lined with perfume shops, shoemakers, cafes, and countless souvenir hawkers. There is an amazing restaurant in the middle of the soukDar el Jeld – and if I hadn’t been working so hard, for such long hours, I would have made a stop.

But as it was, we were runnin’ and gunnin’ and looking for the best, most delicious, most local restaurant – with the quickest turnaround. And we were guided to Adel Plus, a bustling cafe full of locals, in Le Bardo neighborhood of Tunis.

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Harried maitre d’s guided us to some open seats at a communal table and tossed menus and bread baskets on the table. It’s the kind of place with a little bit of everything: lasagna (which many locals were ordering as an appetizer course), roast chicken, hamburgers, salads, and pastas… but also a selection of regional specialties including, we were happy to see, various tangines. 

Unfortunately for us, the 30 minutes it takes to bake a Tunisian tagine (meat, onions, cinnamon, chickpeas, cooked vegetable, and egg), just didn’t fit in our schedule.

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So we ordered brik, a Tunisian appetizer of tuna or meat and hard cooked egg wrapped in phyllo pastry and fried. I also loved the mechouia (pronounced mesh-way-uh) salad – a spicy mix of stewed tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and onions, served cold with shredded tuna and hard boiled eggs. The spiciness comes from a healthy dose of harissa, a Tunisian hot pepper paste that I ended up putting on every starch on the table!

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For a main course: salt-baked fish, removed from its crust by a smiling, flirtatious waiter. The fish was juicy and flavorful and an excellent tribute to Tunisia’s geography, nestled on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa.

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Great food, a good crowd of voracious, friendly Tunisians, and a very cheap check at the end of the meal. The perfect food under fire.

Adel Plus
58 Ave H Bourguiba
2000 Le Bardo
Tunis
ph: 710581-076
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