Lunch at Alhambra in Oakville

Last week, Keith picked African as the cuisine for our next lunch out. On Sunday, we headed to Alhambra restaurant in Oakville. It wasn’t hard to select that location, because it was the only African restaurant that was listed in the city!

Here’s their website (warning – it plays music – click at the top right to turn it off): www.alhambrafiesta.com/

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The restaurant is in a strip mall near Bronte Road and Lakeshore, and the sign promised us a “Mediterranean Fiesta”. We were the first people to arrive for lunch, just after the restaurant opened at 12 noon.

The Atmosphere

It was bright and cheerful inside, with simple decor. The cooking area was behind the counter, and you can see the chef, working on the lunches. There was bench seating, and a few tables, and our benches were pretty close to the table, which didn’t move.

The room is quite small, with a curtained off section at the back, and a curtained hallway. There were no table coverings, but everything seemed clean and fresh.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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The Service

The chef greeted us, and pointed to our table, where he had laid out the cutlery and menus. After a couple of minutes, he brought us some water, but didn’t offer any other drinks.

We inquired about a few items on the menu, and he answered our questions politely, and seemed to know what he was talking about. I asked what he’d recommend for lunch, and after a brief discussion, he suggested lamb sausages with grilled peppers.

Since I don’t like peppers, I passed on that, but Keith went for it. The chef said he’d make something for me with chicken, rice and a salad.

A waitress appeared in a few minutes, and made a fresh pot of coffee, when we asked for some. She was friendly and helpful too.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Food

We’ve never had food from the north African region before, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Keith enjoyed the grilled pepper mixture, but didn’t care for the lamb sausage, and only ate a small amount of it. He said the spices were odd, and he’s still tasting them, hours later.

The chef made me a spicy chicken mixture, with steamed barley on the side, topped with slivered almonds. He said that he wanted to give me something traditional, instead of the rice that he suggested earlier. The green salad was a good size, with fresh ingredients, including chopped lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and a bit of pickled turnip (bright pink!) on top.

My meal was okay, and very filling, but drier than I like. I’d prefer a meat mixture with a bit of sauce, and this was bits of chicken, with nothing holding it together. Perhaps that’s the style of the region, or maybe it’s the way the chef likes his food. I tried the pickled turnip though, an it added a little zing to the chicken mixture.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Overall Rating

It was a pleasant lunch, thanks to the chef who created a meal that he hoped we’d enjoy. We enjoyed trying something a bit different, but we’ll look for other restaurants in the future, instead of visiting this one again.

Rating: 3 out of 5

In the meantime, maybe we can get a North African cookbook from the library, like this Flavors of Morocco, and try a couple on our own.

flavorsmorocco

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