Traditional Algerian food shows influences of Arab, Berber, Turkish and French cooking. Many varieties of flavorings go into Algerian dishes and they can be either mild or very spicy. If you are visiting Algeria and want to sample some traditional food, you will find a good selection of fine restaurants in Algiers and some of the more popular coastal towns. These restaurants serve mostly Italian and French style food. However, there will also be classic dishes that carry a definite Algerian quality to them.
Some national specialties include brochettes in French bread that are covered with a spicy sauce, couscous, and chickpea cakes. There are also stews such as shakshuka with tajine and vegetables. Lamb and chicken are also used in these stews and are very popular dishes. The traditional diet followed by desert nomads is based on the meat of the goats or sheep they herd along with couscous. Desert people also carry hard cheese and pressed figs or dates, all of which stay edible for a long time.
Algerian national drinks are also a pleasure to experience. The golden-colored mint tea and sweet, strong coffee, also known as Turkish coffee, is enjoyed whenever people gather to relax and talk. Try to sample Medea, Mascara and Mansourah red and rose` wines if possible.
Alcohol is not readily available for sale. It is only to be found in the more upscale hotels and restaurants. Hotel bars usually stay open as long as they have customers. Although, there are some very wonderful and flavorful wines made in Algeria, not many of them are served there. All major hotels usually have decent cellars of European wines.
If you are dining in a restaurant, remember to always tip your server. It is customary to tip at least 10 percent of your total bill.