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.
The Moorish monarchs of Granada built a legendary palace and fortress known as Calat Alhambra, both to fortify their hold on Southern Spain and serve as center of art and culture. The palace, which has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries, captured the imagination of Chicagoan Dr. Nasar Rustom. He made many trips to the Middle East, North Africa, and southern Spain to obtain artifacts to fill his own recreation of Alhambra Palace, one that serves as a testament to the culture and cuisine of the Mediterranean region.
Dr. Rustom recruited artisans from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco design the interior of his new restaurant. The team built custom gilded doorways, hand-painted tiles, carved the furniture, and created the mosaics found around the multi-level dining room. Rustom went to equal lengths when creating an the menu, full of authentic flavors of kabobs, paella, and seasoned lamb. On top of the food and decor, Dr. Rustom added live entertainment, which includes international music, Latin, Swing, and belly dancing, and even dance lessons sure to charm a date or a stern loan officer .
Marrakesh indulges taste buds with exotic, authentically Moroccan flavors, mixed with a smattering of Mediterranean and other European flourishes. Feel free to discuss any item on the menu, such as the oven-baked chicken Marrakesh, served with Moroccan olives and tangy lemons ($13.95), with the friendly, culinary-savvy staff. Appetizers start with the traditional harira soup ($5.95), a hearty tomato-lentil base with chick peas and saffron, and diners craving the flavors of northern Africa can inaugurate their meals with hot mint tea and regional pastries ($5.95). Cleanse your esophagus with a potent glass of vino from Marrakesh’s extensive wine list or bring in your own bottle of wine ($7 corkage fee) and toast to getting promoted at the electric shovel factory.