A Taste of The Middle East At Al-Amir Restaurant In Puerto De La Cruz

Mon, April 22nd, 2013 - By Andrea Montgomery

Plaza Del Charco, the heart of Puerto de la Cruz, has long attracted visitors and locals alike to enjoy its community atmosphere, pavement restaurants and live entertainment beneath the stars. But for those whose taste buds are drawn to a spicier side of culinary life, a couple of paces beyond the plaza takes you to the quiet delights of Al-Amir.

Considering Tenerife is a lot closer to Africa and the Middle East than it is to mainland Spain, it’s a wonder there aren’t many more Middle Eastern restaurants but emigration patterns have historically taken Canarios westerly across the Atlantic to Central and South America, bringing back flavours of Venezuela and Cuba in menu favourites like arepas and arroz Cubano rather than the spices of the East.

 

Al-Amir restaurant, Puerto de la Cruz

 

It’s easier to walk past Al-Amir without even seeing it than it is to be lured inside by it’s décor. We’re talking ‘unassuming’ here, as the guide books would say. At the end of the row of nondescript restaurants that mark the start of Calle Puerto Viejo, lie a couple of outside tables next to one of those menu boards with pictures of the dishes on that would normally have me walking in the opposite direction. Inside, a small covered dining area with a bare concrete floor; rickety tables, a TV screening live football and a tinny-sounding pa system broadcasting barely audible Lebanese music is not conducive to getting the gastric juices flowing. But once the food arrives, all is forgiven in a spicy haze of flavours.

The menu mainly consists of ‘mezes’ and salads with a handful of ‘platos combinados‘ of traditional Canarian and Lebanese dishes where meaty kaftas (kebabs) and shawarma (succulent strips of spit-roasted beef) sit alongside a mixed grill and pork chops in honey with rice. Opting for a mix of mezes, we order three dishes plus pitta bread and wait to see if it will be enough to assuage our hunger.

 

Al-Amir restaurant, Puerto de la Cruz

 

First up is fattush salad in a tangy dressing, generously peppered in ‘sumac‘ spice, along with a basket of fresh, soft, home made pitta. The salad dances a dabke on our tongues, combining cooling cucumber with crunchy radishes and crispy toasted pitta strips in their fiery topping. Next up is a generous bowl of fatte which is a revelation. Velvety slivers of tender, spicy lamb with chickpeas, pine nuts and toasted bread in a savoury yoghurt sauce. Combined with the warm pitta bread, this was the sort of dish that had us unashamedly scraping the bowl beyond clean. Our final dish was arayes – tender, aromatic lamb in a toasted pitta sandwich drizzled with yoghurt dressing.

 

Al-Amir restaurant, Puerto de la Cruz

 

By the time we finally laid the fatte dish to rest we were too full to try any of the little pastries the Lebanese are known for, and happily settled the bill – a modest €20 including our drinks. So next time you fancy a change from papas arrugadas con mojo, send your taste buds on a trip to the Middle East at  Al-Amir. They do takeaways too.

Calle Puerto Viejo, 2, Puerto de la Cruz; (+34) 922 368 457; open daily 1pm-11pm

Posted : Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 8:56 am
Category : food and drink
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2 Responses to “A Taste of The Middle East At Al-Amir Restaurant In Puerto De La Cruz”

  1. Madelene says:

    Hello
    I have to say that the food described in this post is not North African, but from the Middle East. Not the same at all.

    • You’re quite right, Madelene and I have an appointment at the stocks this afternoon – rotten tomatoes will be available for all visitors to throw at me 🙁
      Al-Amir is indeed a Middle Eastern restaurant and a damn fine one at that.

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