Ever since my husband recently attended the official "ribbon cutting" welcoming Andalusia Spanish/Moroccan Tapas Bar to downtown Carlisle we have wanted to have dinner there. He had brought a copy of the menu home which he and our daughters pored over with much delight! They were especially interested in the Atay be Naana ou Halwa (Moroccan sweet mint tea, served with an assortment of Fatima's traditional Moroccan cookies).

To celebrate our daughter's 22nd birthday, she chose Andalusia for her birthday dinner last night. Located in downtown Carlisle at 26 N. Hanover Street, its brightly decorated ambiance and relaxed atmosphere was perfect. We were a bit worried that we may have been under dressed, but our choices of "nice shorts and tops" for the hottest day of the summer was perfectly fine!

Being that we are not at all familiar with Spanish or Moroccan foods or wines, our waiter was kind enough to give us a "cheat sheet" to accompany the wine list so that we could order a glass of wine. (I never was that good with Spanish in high school, and not much comes back after 30+ years!) At any rate, after ordering four items from the Tapas section of the menu to share (Almendras, Quesos, Pan, and Bastilla be Djaj) we selected our Platos Principales. Our daughters shared Paella Andalusia while my husband chose Djaj Tagine and I chose Couscous be Djaj.

[Tapas translation: Almendras-Marcona almonds, fried golden brown; Quesos-selection of four cheeses (Manchego-sheep's milk cheese, Idiazabal-lightly smoked sheep's mild cheese marinated w/olive oil & rosemary, Cabrales-blue cow's milk cheese, Cana de Cabra-goat's milk cheese); Pan-bread w/Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Bastilla be Djaj-Moroccan classic phyllo dough pie filled w/chicken, eggs, onions, roasted almonds and parsley, sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon.]

[Platos Principales translation: Paella Andalusia-classic rice dish with chicken, chorizo, beans & tomatoes; Djaj Tangine-Moroccan stew of chicken marinated in a preserved lemon confit with onions and saffron, topped with olives; Couscous be Djaj-steamed semolina grains with chicken and herbs, served with marinated sweet sauce of onions and golden raisins.]

Our very helpful waiter informed us that we were ordering "a lot of food," which is why our daughters shared their entree (marked on the menu as serving 1-2 people). We figured we would just take any extras home in a doggy bag, but we did manage to finish everything. :) My serving of Couscous be Djaj was absolutely delicious! It was too much for me, but agreeing that it was indeed delicious, my husband was happy to share what I couldn't eat.

To top it all off, we ordered the long awaited Atay be Naana ou Halwa and Churros con Chocolate (deep fried pastry served with thick hot chocolate for dipping).

This is definitely a return-to place for us. They are not open for lunch, but open daily at 4:00. If you have a date night, have guests in from out of town, or just need a reason to treat yourself to a wonderful dinner, I highly recommend Andalusia!