In the minds of Marrakech Cuisine's owners, providing diners with a range of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs Moroccan dishes is not enough. They want to offer an establishment reminiscent of their homeland, and have taken great pains to create a space that mimics an authentic Moroccan bazaar in the heart of Wicker Park.
The storefront retail shop carries a multitude of curiosities, from marble chess sets to embroidered tapestries to hand-thrown pottery. Browse to your heart's content, then step down into the cavernous dining room, where you'll discover low lights and modest decor, including woven tablecloths and colorful artifacts meant to maintain the marketplace atmosphere.
Upon sitting, polite servers present the menu, which is moderately priced ($8-$15) and serves to further the restaurant's sense of authenticity. It includes several tangines (meaty, aromatic stews filled with beef, chicken lamb, or salmon), combinations of meat and couscous (the lamb shank with dried prunes is especially recommended) as well as harira (a tangy vegetable broth with tomatoes, onions, chickpeas, vermicelli and fresh herbs) and kebabs.
If those choices don't leave you full to bursting, be sure to sample the homemade baklava as well. This flaky, honey-drizzled pastry is too sweet to be consumed solo, so ask for two forks and try not to get in a duel over who gets to scrape up the last few morsels. BYOB, with $3 corkage fee.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Jenny Seay