Forty days ago, the REAL “first Moroccan restaurant” opened in the Alia/Galia Towers in Mahboula, next door to the Starbucks, and across the street from Al Noukhaza, Sakura, CinnaMonster, Ruby Tuesday’s etc.
The entrance is warm and welcoming. The Marrakesh may not be well advertised, but it is certainly not undiscovered, and if you want to get a table, you will want to reserve, or to get there early. It deserves the crowds.
The decor is lush, with large mashrabiyya screens between spacious saltillo-tiled areas. Heavy tablecloths, Moroccan tableware, plush banquettes and attentive service are all side orders to the exquisite main dishes – the tajines – coming out of the kitchen. By 8:30 on a weeknight, almost every table is filled and people are waiting in the entry for seating.
We really liked it that they played Moroccan music, that the primary wait staff were Moroccan, and that the food was really, REALLY good. Each starter had an individual and lightly spiced flavor, the couscous was rich and light, and the lamb tajine with plums was tender, sweet and heavenly. The tea was hot and our etched glass cups frequently refilled, and an irresistable plate of sweets arrived just when we thought none of us could eat another bite.
The table waiters were supplemented by kitchen staff delivering the meals hot and covered in the traditional tajines, and there are three separate richly decorated dining areas (one we think is just for men), AND the private cabinets in the back. We intend to go back often – it’s that good.
Update: When I called for reservations, no one answered. When I went by in person to make reservations, I was told that the management has informed the staff that they have a “no reservations” policy, and you just have to show up and hope to get seated.