The combination of Marrakech’s welcoming atmosphere and a menu of distinctly flavored dishes delivers a realistic Moroccan dining experience. From the hands of chef Youssef Tassi, a Casablanca native, spring a tasty assortment of starters such as the traditional harira soup, brewed with tomatoes, garbanzo beans, lentils, onions, and eggs ($4.99), and the carrots charmola salad, served warm with blanched carrot sticks, green olives, lemon juice, and spices ($6.99). For lunch, those who could eat entire picnic baskets can opt instead for a sala sandwich with Moroccan merguez sausage, tomato sauce, and french fries or salad ($9.99). Dinner diners can sample the braised-beef couscous with garden vegetables and steamed couscous ($18.99) or the menara tagine, slow-simmered lamb shanks with dry prunes, almonds, and hard-boiled eggs, all served in a distinctively decorated tagine pot ($19.99).
As you load up your camel-tongue for its expedition across Fez Authentic Moroccan Cuisine's menu of North African delicacies, start with bisteeya, a sweet, flaky phyllo pastry filled with chicken and almonds and dusted with cinnamon that just might be the only appetizer that doubles as dessert ($4.95). For a main course, adventurous appetites will never go wrong with a tagine (Moroccan stew baked in a clay pot) such as the beef shaban dotted with apricot, almond, honey, and sesame seeds ($15.95). Otherwise, sample the national dish: lamb and vegetable couscous ($16.95), which is traditionally eaten with one's right hand, and never with one's dorsal tentacle. The jumbo shrimp brouchette kebab (marinated in charmoula sauce, $13.95) combines the pleasures of eating and impaling things on sharp sticks. A postprandial mint tea (green tea with spearmint, $2.50) finishes a meal in authentic Moroccan fashion.
Isis Hookah Lounge elevates the experience of dining with friends by adding flavored tobacco to the mix. In the lounge, red plush chairs surround a central table with one or two hookahs, allowing regular access to smoke flavored like pumpkin pie, cranberry-lime, or mint. To complement the hookah, servers deliver appetizers such as paninis, hummus bowls, fruit tarts, and tiramisu. They complete the Middle Eastern ritual with glasses of Moroccan tea and strong batches of coffee, which can be enriched with hazelnut and cinnamon or softened with a splash of milk, vanilla, or cotton balls.