Saturday 10 August 2013

A tale of two dinners

Part 1 – Down market

My first ever meal in Africa! Just outside the Medina of Tangier, a small cheap-and-cheerful terrace restaurant with lots of locals and a few tourists including yours truly. I was put at a table with someone I didn't know as there wasn't room for the luxury of a whole table just for me. The service was amateur, even sloppy: I had to ask several times for a glass to go with the bottle of water; then my neighbour dragged one of the waiters over and said something in Arabic, pointing at me, and a moment later the waiter brought me a proper fork to replace the dessert-sized one he had originally given me.

The meal consisted of a huge tomato and onion salad, followed by a plate of mixed grilled fish (I'm not good at fish names), a side dish of fried potatoes and a small dish of peppers. My neighbour understood from my demeanour that something wasn't right with the fries – they were cold – and barked at the waiter who immediately ran over with a plate of fresh, piping hot fries and an apology (I presume). 

The bill came to 60 dirhams (let's call it €6).

Part 2 – Up market

While out and about in the "new" town the next day, I spotted a fairly classy joint where I had a couple of G&Ts – yes, during Ramadan – to take the edge off the thirst. I liked the place so I decided to go back there for dinner that evening.

The service was impeccable! Staff dressed in traditional costume, a wine waiter to advise me on the best option for each dish, live traditional music (very discreet). The food was acceptable, but nothing special, and it cost several times what I had paid for the previous night's fare.


I've decided which one I'll go back to on my next trip to Tangier.

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