Food Dudes: Find fresh Mediterranean cuisine at Tangiers

ALEX COGGIN ’16
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Filled with a variety of ethnic foods from the Mediterranean regions of Europe, Africa, and Asia, Tangiers International Market is one-part grocery market and one-part café. A hidden gem located only ten minutes away from Trinity’s campus, Tangiers is a great destination for all your Mediterranean needs.
After being displaced by the construction of a large Walgreens in West Hartford, the market and café have found a new home on Farmington Avenue in Hartford. The store is family owned and operated, and you can definitely tell from the quality of the food and friendliness of the market. Upon walking in I was instantly greeted by one of the family workers.
Fresh produce lines one wall, and adjacent is a full array of niche frozen foods, including tiropita (a Greek classic consisting of cheese stuffing wrapped into a triangle with filo dough) and pastitsio by the frozen sheet. As the box denotes in large lettering, pastitsio is “Greek style lasagna.” Next to the frozen food section there is an extensive selection of cheeses that are local to the Mediterranean region and often difficult to find in typical grocery stores.
The center of the market is devoted to many different exotic grains, jarred olives and peppers, tahini, honey, and olive oil. If there is a niche ingredient or food that you cannot find in the supermarket, chances are you can find it at Tangier’s International Market. There are a lot of interesting items, so do not miss the chance to look around.
In the back corner of the shop there is a small café with a bar-style seating area and a few tables. The menu is concise, with a variety of “sandwich” options including falafel, chicken kebab, beef kefta and gyro. Sandwiches come as wraps in warm pita bread. There are also many larger entrees as well, including a lamb stew or a chicken curry, both served over rice pilaf. There is also a huge selection of prepared foods including delicious hummus and stuffed grape leaves. You can dine in the market at the counter or tables, or take your food to go. I opted to take it to go as I was crunched for time.
I ordered a falafel sandwich, which came with lettuce and tomatoes and a garlicky tahini sauce. Falafel is a deep fried ball of mashed chickpeas and spices, usually served warm in a wrap sandwich. The sandwich was very good and the tomatoes and lettuce were a nice addition, as the freshness cut through the creamy sauce. The taste of falafel is difficult to describe because of how unique it is, but this falafel was delicious; definitely one of the better ones I have had.
Tangiers International Market also offers a wide variety of Mediterranean baked goods including baklava and kourabiedes, a Greek butter cookie dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Baklava is a layered dessert made by layering filo with chopped nuts and honey. The baklava at Tangier’s International Market is a must try. They sell it pre-packaged in the market, or if you prefer to purchase just a piece you can get it in the baked goods counter by the cash register.
In addition to my wrap I also got hummus and pita, as well as a small piece of baklava. The hummus was flavored with just the right balance of garlic. The baklava was flaky and sweet, making it a perfect end to my meal. I wish I had ordered more than just one piece.
My total for everything came to about 14 dollars. That included the falafel sandwich, hummus, pita, and baklava. The falafel sandwich was about seven dollars and it was well worth it. The portions are good sized, but if you are super hungry, ordering just one wrap sandwich probably will not stuff you.
Overall, I would definitely recommend checking out Tangier’s International Market. The sandwiches are phenomenal and it is a nice change of pace from the typical West Hartford casual lunch and dinner spots. From the quality of their food to the neatness of the market, the family takes great pride in their heritage and business.
550 Farmington Ave
Hartford, CT 06105
860-233-8168
 

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