Tangierino in Charlestown serves both ‘old’ and ‘new’ world Moroccan cuisine. Over the years, their success has allowed them to expand into neighboring spaces so the restaurant is a collection of cozy, romantic dining rooms that also includes a subterranean hookah lounge. The rich decor and exotic smell of spices made me feel like I had left Boston behind as soon as I walked through the front door. After being seated we were asked if we’d like to wash our hands with rose water; a hand washing ritual that was both fun and fragrant. Following the ritual, a plate of hummus and olives were served. The marinated olives had an unexpected kick and we all nibbled on them while perusing the menu. While there are many small plate and appetizers most range between $10-$16. For our dinner we settled on these delicious options.
The Mendoubia Salad is made with baby spinach and included goat cheese and cranberry wrapped in phyllo along with toasted pine nuts that was light and flavorful.
The Chicken B’Stilla (a house favorite) is encased in a light phyllo with toasted almonds and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar that is served with mint-yogurt. This was part of the ‘old world’ menu and really was delicious.
However it was the Tuna Tartar that really impressed me. The base included chopped cucumber, followed by a layer of honey and mango, and then a generous helping of spicy tuna that is topped by a thin layer of guacamole and served with crispy wontons. After our plates were cleared and a brief belly dancing performance our main dishes were served. Steve ordered the Tunisian Seafood Couscous.
The seafood is served on a bed of couscous that was cooked with familiar fragrances and spices that I couldn’t place but I recognized as staples to the Moroccan cuisine we were eating. My meal proved to be more to my liking if only because it surprised me. I usually prefer salmon grilled with citrus, but this filet was coated with harissa – a sauce made from chili peppers, paprika and olive oil - and I loved it. I devoured the entire plate.
However it was Sergio’s order, M’rouzia of Boneless Short Ribs, that was both a house and table favorite. M’rouzia is one of the most important dishes of Moroccan cuisine – a sweet and salty meat that combines a blend of spices with honey, cinnamon and almonds. Suffice it to say, the short ribs were delicious, practically melting in your mouth; and worth trying when you come to Tangierino.
Tangierino is open 7 nights a week. The restaurant is located at 83 Main Street in Charlestown. Reservations are highly recommended.