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.