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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Algeria

Algeria Food and Drink

Traditional Algerian food shows the historic influences of Berber, Arab, Turkish, and French tastes. It runs the gamut from mild to very hot, with lots of flavourings used. Algiers and popular coastal towns have a fair selection of good restaurants, serving mainly French and Italian-style food, though even classic dishes will have an unmistakable Algerian quality. Fish dishes are exceptionally good.

Specialities

Brochettes (kebabs) in French bread and covered in a spicy sauce.
• Couscous (semolina-like pasta made from cracked wheat, is a staple food in Algeria and throughout North Africa).
• Chickpea-cakes (usually added as a side dish to make a cheap and tasty accompaniment for food).
Shakshuka (stew, often served with vegetables).
• Tajine (stew, usually with lamb or chicken, which is a popular everyday dish).
• Pressed dates or figs, and hard cheese (foods carried by desert people while they’re travelling, which keeps for a long time).

Things to know

Alcohol is only available in more expensive restaurants and hotels, as well as from special shops. There are no licensing hours and hotel bars tend to stay open for as long as there is custom. Algeria produces some good wines but very few of them are served in the country itself. Alcohol is generally very expensive and not of great quality – expect non-name brands and a small choice.

Tipping

10% is usual in Algiers and larger cities. Elsewhere it is not customary.

Drinking age

18.

Regional drinks

• Mint tea (drunk throughout much of North Africa and the Middle East)
• Strong, sweet coffee (sometimes called Turkish coffee, generally drunk wherever people gather to talk and relax, a legacy of French rule).
• Medea, Mansourah and Mascara red wines and rosés.