At Mataam Fez, meals are about more than the food. The restaurant exudes both the warm hospitality and the festive traditions of Morocco, creating a vibrant dining experience that brings a small piece of northern Africa to Denver.
Every meal is a five-course feast that begins with an opportunity for guests to wash their hands using lightly scented lemon water. After selecting an entree from the menu—which includes dishes such as honey-glazed cornish game hen with apricots and roasted almonds as well as vegetarian couscous with seasonal vegetables—tables receive orders of savory harira soup, assorted Moroccan salads, and a b’stella pastry appetizer before the main courses arrive. The palate-cleansing course of fresh fruit and mint tea then herald the end of the meal.
The spirit of Morocco isn’t constrained to the menu, however. It also heavily influences the restaurant’s decor and ambiance. Colorful cushions surround the low teak-inlaid tables, which allows diners to enjoy their meal in traditional Moroccan fashion: seated on the floor and eating with their hands instead of silverware or telekinetic powers. Although brightly colored tapestries and shining brassware adorn the walls, most eyes are drawn to the professional belly dancers who occasionally weave between the tables.
Tajine Alami's experienced chefs dish up more than 25 authentic Moroccan entrees with vegetable, meat, and seafood mainstays simmered with herbs and spices in traditional clay cooking pots. Four or six-course Moroccan feasts ($21–$32 per person) envelops taste buds in a jovial, Middle Eastern soirée with a choice of lamb or vegetable soup served alongside slivers of homemade honey-wheat bread and napkins that shred themselves into piles of confetti. For the six-course meal, culinary artists pile platters with a mixed assortment of Moroccan salads and expertly assemble a customary bastella pastry, which enfolds a chicken or raisin, almond, and pear mixture into the crisp embrace of golden-brown phyllo dough.