When I think of a six course meal, I picture fancy plates with tiny attractive food assembled in the middle, not enough to fill a child, but with a bill of over $300. However, Marrakesh’s six course divine feast in Philly highlights what amazing cuisine can be at an unbeatable price, at only around $25 per person on weeknights! Everything is served with bread to top off the massive amounts of food as well. The décor is exquisite, and transports you thousands of miles away as if you were truly in Marrakech. The walls are painted yellow and red, with Arabic script and gorgeous multicolored chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The seating and cushions are intricately designed with a traditional Moroccan flair and soothing Arabic music playing in the background to add to the incredible North African experience.
The first course is a tabbouleh type of salad of carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers delicately dressed with a vinegary and minty flavor. The salad plate was so delectable that it would even make vegetable haters come back begging for more.
The next course is the B’stella, a savory chicken pie topped with sugar and cinnamon. At first I was quite skeptical of mixing what seemed to be a well flavored chicken filling with a dessert feel on top. But boy I am so glad I was off the mark! The savory and the sweet, with the crunchiness of the pastry blended well together, and if I was not told, I would never think was chicken inside.
The first main course, and one of the best dishes I have ever had in my entire life (yes my mouth is still watering thinking about it) was their spicy chicken. Cooked on low for hours, the meat was so tender it easily fell off the bone. The tang and spice of the chicken marinade is so heavenly, there are simply no words to describe it. You just have to experience the glory of it yourself to understand the depth and brilliance of this cooked bird.
For the fourth course we ordered both Berber beef shish kebabs and and Tagine of lamb with honey and almonds. By this stage of the feast I could feel myself about to explode, but we had to soldier on. The beef kebabs were flavorsome and juicy, and the lamb, (which I am not normally a fan of ) was in fact phenomenal. For someone who does not like lamb, that is the highest compliment.
The last main course consisted of couscous coated with chickpeas, raisins and meat. At this point we could only consume half a spoon without bursting out of our pants, but eating it the next day did not take away any of the grandiose essence of the dish. The sweetness of the raisins combined with the savory course couscous and beautifully marinated meat is a meal for Moroccan royalty.
The sixth course, and at this stage we could barely look at food, was a large bowl of fruit, sweet mint tea and baklavas. We could only eat a few strawberries and grapes from the several fruits on display, but we had to make a little space for the baklava which was sweet and crumbly, the perfect treat to end our feast.
Every time I go back to Philly, which will be more often now that I have discovered this gem, I will be coming to Marrakech, (if I am lucky enough to get a reservation), and eating to my belly’s delight.