Friday, November 18, 2005

Restaurant 66: Al-Andalus (Granada, Spain)

Clockwise from top left: Al-Andalus; The extraordinary chicken schwarma is wrapped up tight in the burrito like pita; A ceiling relief at the Alhambra; The famed courtyard and fountain at the Alhambra.

LOCATION: Calle de Elvira, Granada, Spain
DATE: August 25, 2005
FOOD: Chicken Schwarma
PRICE: 3.50 Euros

Street food in America usually consists of little better than hot dogs boiled in a murky, deformed liquid with a distant relation to water. Or there’s also over-sized, cardboard tasting pretzels. While the hot dogs would gain a certain cache if every vendor dressed in the same pirate outfit Ignatius Reilly wears in A Confederacy of Dunces, the character’s penchant for stuffing cats into the bun warmers would probably cause hot dogs to be even further from accepted health standards than they already are. In Europe, no costuming is necessary. Instead of hot dogs, there’s doner kebab and schwarma, much tastier alternatives to the States’ processed wieners.

In Granada, located in the Plaza Cuchillos directly across the hill that leads to the Alhambra, Al-Andalus takes schwarma street food to a new level of flavor. While the shredded, fatty strips of spit cooked chicken are familiarly pleasant to any gyro fan, it was the combination of the stuffed pita’s other elements which made Al-Andalus great. Inside the grilled pita (composed almost like a burrito), crunchy carrots and lettuce were a delicious compliment to the greasy meat. But it was the thick, ricotta cheese like yogurt saucing, wildly spiced and complex, which elevated the pita to monumental heights. And at just 3.50 Euros, it would be hard to imagine any reason, even old Ignatius himself, live and in person, to ever crave a hot dog again.

RATING: 7.6/10 Posted by Picasa

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