Though dining inside of a tent usually means charred hot dogs and ghost stories, El Morocco replaces these traditions with spectacle: entrees of entire cornish hens, ornate floor pillows, and belly dancers. A canvas ceiling shelters these displays and captures the aromas of meat and middle eastern spices as they drift from the kitchen. These scents emanate from entrees of couscous, lamb garlanded with almonds and honey, and dishes of braised hare—all part of an authentic Moroccan menu dreamed up by owner Fadil Shahin.
Fadil's love of music drives his venue's hypnotizing performances. Belly dancers sway and shimmy on Tuesday–Sunday evenings, brandishing swords and scarves to augment their choreography. Undulating instructors can even enroll students in a belly-dance showcase on the first Sunday night of each month. The "dancers' nights" provide both pros and up-and-comers with valuable stage time, allowing them to practice their eclectic skills for audiences. Fadil might regale guests with tunes on the lute-like oud, or percussion rhythms on the darbuka. In addition to entrancing regular diners, the entertainment adds glamour and festivity to group events, including weddings and crying parties.
Executive chef Donna Insalaco has more than just her two decades of experience guiding her at Beautifull. She also has the eatery’s team of advisors, which includes Dean Ornish, MD on healthcare and Dr. Christopher Gardner on diet science. Together, they draw from the extensive nutrition research gathered by members of the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute to craft meals that aren’t just designed to be healthy and fresh, but also delicious.
The science-backed crew of chefs assembles a seasonal selection of soups, sandwiches, meat-based entrees, and seafood dishes which they make with organic, antibiotic- and steroid-free ingredients from local farms when possible. Once they’ve prepared the nutritious eats, they’ll place them in eco-friendly potato-based Tater Ware packaging before serving them in a sleek, wooden-walled eatery.