Extraordinary hummus at Andala coffee house

I've mentioned this place in passing before, but after spending a couple of hours there the other night, I felt I really needed to write about it in detail, and declare my belief (and this is bound to generate controversy) that Andala serves up the best hummus in town.

Andala coffee house is at 286 Franklin Street in Central Square, Cambridge, just a block from scenic Cronin Park and within view of limeduck world headquarters. They offer the usual cafe stuff, some fresh-squeezed juices and some Arabic-accented specials such as msabaha and zeit u zaatar. They have no website that I can find, and are generally open until 11pm, which is pretty late for this town. Plus, you can suck on a shisha pipe (outside only) while your laptop sucks down free wifi. Service? Not so hot. But I keep coming back for the hummus plate.

About 20% of the 80+ yelpers who reviewed Andala mentioned the hummus, almost all positively.

It's $7.95 and comes with a highly random selection of vegetables (I've had carrots and cucumbers most of the time, red and green bell peppers often, celery and onions on occasion, almost always olives, and this time, a big fat chili pepper) and some warm pita.

The hummus itself is always a little different, which makes me sure its house-made. Some days its very green, some days less so, but there's always plenty of olive oil and paprika on it. The texture is not so smooth to as to remind you of store-extruded versions, but not too gritty or chunky either. I have to carefully monitor my pita usage so there's enough left to mop up the dregs, but none left over. The portion is satisfying and you feel reasonably virtuous for having a vegetarian meal.

I usually get an espresso or some sparkling water, sometimes both. This time, instead of the usual Perrier or Pellegrino, I got a can of Market Basket Seltzer which says on the can, "made with sparkling water." For some odd reason, that made me smile.

So go to Andala for the hummus and stay for the wifi, or vice versa. You won't regret it.

5 Responses

  1. I am partial to the Garden of Eden's hummus plate - searched and just found that they closed! Service was worse than the above, and overall it was much better several years ago, but to sit outside and have the hummus was worth it. The chunky texture, toasted bread, the pickled onions, I am so sad. Here's hoping that the market still sells it, http://www.lionettesmarket.com/
  2. [...] in London recommending that I check out this upcoming TweetUp in Cambridge.  Turns out it was at Andala Cafe, home of my favorite hummus plate and barely a block from limeduck world headquarters.  Once again, the internet pwnz geography.  [...]
  3. I love this place, though if you're in the mood for something a little more offbeat (and a bit more expensive) Helmand is fantastic. Sofra is pretty amazing too.
  4. pipa
    I love this cafe. Haven't figured out its ethnicity yet. Have you -- what is funny is that despite the middle eastern theme they don't do falafels . If you asked I suppose they would point you to the falafel place across the street!
  5. pipa
    apparently Palestinian. My bet was Tunisian.
  6. speedracer
    Demoulas / Market Basket rulez all other supermarkets (though Price Rite is not bad). Now I know where Andala buys their supplies! Andala is not cheap, but it is a good value for the location I think, and is pretty inviting in the morning. Oh, and the falafel place across the street was originally a White Castle.

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