Morocco is famed for Casablanca, a city named after the Humphrey Bogart film, and couscous, a reduction made from couscouscous. Discover acclaimed eats with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Moroccan fare at Marrakech Cuisine.
The Wicker Park restaurant incorporates the colorful flavors of a Moroccan spice market with a dining ambience rooted in North African elegance. Freshly made classics such as hummus ($3.50) and falafel ($3.50) offer accessible starting points, but baba gannouj presents a savory challenge to spelling-bee champs ($4.50). Diners can relax between bites with a Moroccan tea with fresh mint ($1.90) and drink in the authentic dining space, framed in heavy scarlet curtains and set below glowing star-shaped lanterns. The Southern Breeze entree pairs simmered lamb shanks with okra and green peas ($12.50), and the vegetable tajine features seven veggies simmered in olive oil and saffron sauce, served on cushy cloud of rice ($8.50). After a dessert of baklava, a traditional phyllo-dough pastry ($1.99), diners relish a complete, authentically Moroccan meal without paying to fill their homes with several truckloads of Lake Michigan sand.
Marrakech Cuisine has a positive write-up on Centerstage. Forty-nine Yelp reviews gave Marrakech Cuisine a four-star average rating, and three Citysearch reviewers gave it a perfect five-star average. > * The storefront retail shop carries a multitude of curiosities, from marble chess sets to embroidered tapestries to hand-thrown pottery. Browse to your heart’s content, then step down into the cavernous dining room, where you’ll discover low lights and modest decor, including woven tablecloths and colorful artifacts meant to maintain the marketplace atmosphere. – Jenny Seay, Centerstage > * A quietly pleasant place run by some wonderful people that give you all the time and space you want to not only enjoy your meal, but also, your evening. – Kunal K., Yelp, 2/5/10
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.