An Exotic Ambiance
Bolts of crimson and green fabric embellished with golden patterns adorn the walls of Fez Moroccan Restaurant. Seated atop cushioned stools, diners surround the room's low-slung circular tables as Moroccan music echoes throughout the space and Friday and Saturday evenings herald the arrival of belly dancers. Collectively, these elements create an unmistakably Morroccan atmosphere.
A Feast for the Senses
As evidenced by the swirling aromas of saffron, honey and almonds, and harissa-cumin sauces, the chefs are equally committed to the task of capturing the essence of Morocco. In addition to the selection of kabobs and tagines, the menu features a variety of vegetarian as well as meat-laden couscous dishes. The savory smells mingle with the slightly sweet smoke of the fruit-flavored shisha smoldering in the hookahs.
What Do the Experts Say About Fez Moroccan Restaurant?
The interior of Casablanca Restaurant has been continually refined over the past 25 years and resembles an exotic caravan. Nearly every inch of the eatery is trimmed with deep colors and gold-flecked scrollwork. Beaded curtains separate secluded booths lit by hanging lamps and lined with embroidered pillows. As diners take their seats, the air fills with the enticing scent of traditional Moroccan cuisine and the jingling zills of belly dancers who undulate between tables. Casablanca's specialty is its eight-course dinner, which features an entree of chicken or rabbit, steamed couscous, baklava, and lamb shish kebabs seasoned with honey and cumin.
At Oasis Restaurant’s sunlit, yellow-hued café, the aroma of simmering lamb and sizzling falafel drifts through the dining room and breaches the borders of the adjacent market and halal butcher shop. Chefs procure fresh cuts of the 100% halal meat from next door to prepare from-scratch Lebanese, Egyptian, and Moroccan delicacies for individual orders or the bountiful weekend buffet. Though Middle Eastern classics such as grape leaves and hummus abound, chefs also pay homage to less prevalent delicacies, such as molokhia, a thick broth made from mallow leaves simmered in garlic. Once diners have finished chewing in unison, they can peruse the adjacent grocery store for imported groceries and fresh goat and lamb.
Stretched amidst pillows, berber rugs, and the glow of brass lamps, diners at Little Marakesh must balance their attention between feeding their own stomachs and watching those of the performers. Belly dancers twirl past tabletops on Friday and Saturday night, feeding the warm, ethereal ambiance of the Moroccan hideaway. Surrounded by red and gold decor, the diners dig into house specialties such as the Atlas Bastille—shredded chicken with herbs, spiced eggs, and almonds stuffed in a sugar-speckled filo-dough pastry. They can order dishes à la carte or as part of a prix fixe feast, which includes salad, chicken tagine, and couscous.
According to Philadelphia magazine, native Moroccan Terry Manfa founded the restaurant out of nostalgia for his country. Commissioning a team of chefs to craft authentic shish kebabs, grape leaves, and hummus was only one part of relieving his homesickness—he eventually added a hookah menu and a bazaar, where patrons can browse handmade pottery, bags, and other goods from Moroccan artisans. The captivating belly-dance shows and communal atmosphere lend themselves to dinner gatherings, whether groups are celebrating a birthday or showing coworkers how to dress on casual-midriff Fridays.
Using traditional Mediterranean and Indian culinary techniques, Cumin Cafe’s chefs infuse dishes with piquant, rich flavors. Bits of beef or lamb shank simmer alongside spices and vegetables in a clay pot in Mediterranean tajine stews; Greek spanakopita layers spinach and feta cheese between a flaky pastry crust. Chefs add a splash of rose water to prawns flavored with ground spices in golden korma curry, and use tandoori-style ovens to cook chili naan, making a perfect scoop for goat biryani rice dishes or a heating pad for diners’ sore shoulders.