Tangierino has been receiving accolades from Zagat, Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe, Improper Bostonian, and more since opening in 2000.
Moroccan-inspired cuisine is offered up in a sexy casbah atmosphere, complete with brightly-colored tents, Moorish glass lanterns, iron wall sconces and plush leather seating. Downstairs, you’ll also find Koullshi, a sultry hookah lounge and cigar bar (which can get a little smoky, so steer clear if you’re prone to allergies). Featuring entertainment such as belly dancing, henna tattooing, live music, and tarot readings, Tangierino is a unique experience that aims to entice all the senses.
The extensive, leather-bound wine list runs the gamut from Prosecco to Sangiovese, with prices on glasses ranging from $8-14. They do alert you to the fact that sometimes the vintage you want may not be in stock at that moment, so perhaps have a backup in mind when you order.
With a full bar and a broad cocktail list, Tangierino makes use of some distinctive ingredients, like Moroccan mint tea and harissa, a hot chili paste. The Spiced Desert Sunset ($13) also had a bit of that worldly panache – Grand Marnier, Crown, muddled oranges, and Ras al hanout spices, which means “top of the shop” in Arabic and traditionally contains a secret blend of the best spices one has on hand. The flavor here was not for the timid, with a strong kick of alcohol that would make Lindsay Lohan proud; however once that initial smack on the tongue faded, the cocktail proved to have a light, natural orange taste with a subtle exotic spice – very appropriate for the upcoming fall season.
I also got a little behind-the-bar secret from bartender Denise Burgo – they’re currently working on a special menu of “skinny girl” cocktails under 100 calories. I sampled the Frangelini (vanilla Stoli, Frangelico, and chocolate covered coffee beans: 56 calories) and the Coconut Martini (Malibu, fresh lime juice, and muddled mint: 85 calories) and found both to be delicate, refreshing, and not cloyingly sweet like diet drinks often can be.
The menu is a combination of old world recipes presented alongside fusion dishes that are influenced by flavors like French, American, and Asian. There are premium chophouse dishes, larger entrees, and smaller tapas plates with a wide variety of proteins and plenty of options for vegetarians in the crowd. Wallet alert: With appetizers ranging from $8-19 and entrees running from $19 all the way up to $44, the prices can be a little daunting for some.
I decided to focus mainly on the appetizers/tapas – one of my favorites was the Moroccan-Sicilian Eggplant Tagine ($13) which was crisp and dense, blanketed in a flavorful, herbal tomato sauce. The 4-Layer Tuna Tartare ($16) also called my name, but it seemed to have a lot going in with spicy tuna, very sweet mango salsa, gooey guacamole, and potent cilantro. Another standout was the Blazing Beef Tenderloin ($15), beautifully cooked and very tender, served with a tasty roll of crunchy veggies wrapped in a light pastry and a zesty harissa-teriyaki sauce.
With a healthy heaping of colorful flair and cuisine that’s out of the ordinary (albeit a little pricey), Tangierino easily sets itself up as a go-to place for lots of different occasions, from a spicy date to a little something different to do on Saturday night.