Rating: 8 / 10
Hardly expecting to feast on Syrian food in Tangier, this just goes to prove that you never know what to expect when out travelling.
Entering Abo Tayssir is like being welcomed to a family dinner. The owner, his wife and the waitress are all humbly friendly and accommodating. The restaurant itself is a tiny 4 table spot on a busy street, with the kitchen at an awkward upstairs position with a small latch to serve plates through. A little architectural resistance does nothing to weaken the resolve of the family, and they truly push out stunning plates of mezze for a very affordable price.
I went three times in a week. Yes. Three times. Morocco often gets romanticised for it's tagines, but honestly if you stay more than a week, let alone a month, the bland concoction of steamed vegetables and some form of meat with a few preserved lemons scattered here or there gets old. I was dying for some real flavours, and Abo Tayssir delivered in spades.
Another benefit of repeat visits is that you can sample more of the menu to make sure your first dish wasn't a one-off. Though there were a couple of wobbly moments, overall the food here is consistently delicious, no matter what you order.
If I were to advise a new customer, i'd perhaps say "Stay away from the Kibbeh" as they were underwhelming, but everything else was worthy of a plate on your plate. Standouts were the chicken shawarma, the falafel, crispy yet soft inside, the hummus deliciously creamy and the fattoush and tabouleh salad both peppered with acidity and freshness. The Baba Ghanoush was tasty but could be omitted if need be.
The more people I spoke to on my month long stay in Tangiers, the more I realised that the long termers and residents were all fans of this place. Though it may not look like much from the outside, it's more than worth you time to go in for a slap up meal. Be warned that wait times can be incredibly long, so go and order before you are starving to death.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"