Morocco was the setting for the famous film Casablanca, a romance notable for depicting the largest bowl of hummus ever eaten by Peter Lorre. Dine on Mediterranean fare in full color with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Moroccan fare at Marrakech Cuisine.
Patterned lamps scatter star-like glints of light across the ceiling of Marrakech Cuisine, where the aromas of savory meat, tart fruit, and complex spices twist through the air like a belly dancer’s scarves. The menu—whose authenticity earned the restaurant the title of Best Moroccan Food in Chicago from CBS Chicago—kicks off with the hummus appetizer ($4.50), delighting palates without the trouble of incubating and hatching chickpeas at home. Atlas tagine bathes sautéed chicken and vegetables in a golden saffron sauce ($13.99), and the couscous pairs pearls of pasta with tender lamb, chicken, or beef ($16.99). Diners can quaff a cup of traditional moroccan mint tea ($2.90) or bring their own wine or beer ($3/bottle or six-pack) to share at the table. Luminous covered lamps with traditional henna designs and warm-toned walls instill the dining room with what Gayot calls a “moody” vibe appropriate for dates, friends, or visiting Amazigh dignitaries.
The Moroccan tapestries and dangling lanterns in Marrakech Cuisine's dining area lend almost as much northern African flavor as the cumin, coriander, dried ginger, saffron, and paprika blended in the kitchen. These bold yet balanced spices helped earn the eatery a spot on CBS Chicago's 2010 list of the best Moroccan food in Chicago, where it was lauded as "a must visit Chicago restaurant." The menu highlights several of the country's culinary specialties, including earthenware tajines of stewed tilapia, chicken, or vegetables and house-made merguez sausages that the Chicago Reader calls "delectable." Although the restaurant doesn't serve alcohol, it does allow patrons to bring a bottle of wine or a flask of barrel-aged Capri Sun from home.