Café Tangiers is a hardly noticeable hole-in the wall that I've been enjoying for years, for for far more than just its ambience, and the smoke and fragrant shisha scents that assault the senses upon walking in. A two-minute walk from Greenwood station, this shisha bar is one of the oldest among a string of shisha joints now beginning to crowd this section of the Danforth.
In the last five years, Café Tangiers has passed through several different hands of ownership, but they've all managed to retain a distinctly old-world feel, with Moroccan lanterns and multi-colored scarves hanging from the ceiling, and hand-painted portraits of North African jazz artists on the walls.
A well-loved late-night spot, (it opens around 5 and closes when everyone's gone), Café Tangiers boasts a clientele of regulars, as well as those who hear of it through word of mouth. It's also one of the best shisha spots I've been to in Toronto, and one of the best priced-- just $10 for a large shisha pipe with multiple coals.
Our flavors of choice for the night were the classic double apple and grape/mint. Coupled with your choice of red or green Moroccan mint tea, (my personal favorite is red mint, a blend of red tea and mint leaves with sugar) available in small for $4, medium for $6, and large for $8, sitting back and enjoying good company is almost impossible not to do.
The first thing my motley crew of friends orders is the muajanat, a tangy savory spinach pie (they also come in chicken and beef) in a doughy triangle that is folded and baked at $1.50 each or 4 for $3.00.
Mousakhan (chicken pieces in an aromatic blend of spices that practically tickle the salivary glands) is wrapped in crispy, and flaky thin bread and comes both in appetizer form (3 pieces for $5) or an entrée that comes with a fresh salad and Caesar dressing, but sprinkled with sumac for a tinge of spice, or their famous French fries for $10. I can't seem to say enough to people about Tangier's French fries--crispy and double fried, they never disappoint.
My friend orders the lahmajoun, a thin-crusted bread baked with ground-beef and spices folded with a side of those fries for $5. I order one of my favorite dishes, the Tangiers melt.
Basically, this heart-burn inducing plate is purely amazing, and features a mix of three or so dishes from the Tangiers menu. Wrapped in the lauhmajoun (crispy bread), this mix contains fries, hot-sauce, garlic sauce, and cheddar cheese, all for $7, this bundle comes secured with a toothpick. According to my friend, who is not as impressed by flavor medleys as I am, the Tangiers melt lived up to its reputation.
If you are a lover of garlic (as I am), I recommend that you pair your fries (and definitely the Tangiers melt) with their thick, creamy garlic sauce that I can gladly spout sonnets about. It will add another layer of zip to your meal, and as a dip, condiment, or spread, this stuff packs a delicious, mouth-watering punch (don't forget to bring some gum).
Café Tangiers is a little gem that has survived the various poppings-in-and-out of other restaurants on this side of the Danforth, and continues to live up to the standard I set every time I bring a newbie to experience the experience.
Writing by Rehaana Manek. Photos by Haseena Manek.