Thursday, January 8, 2009

Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant - a treat for both your eyes and your palate

Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant
2334 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 956-0500

There are very few restaurants in Seattle that I would classify as "special event" restaurants, because either their staff is too stuck up and yuppie or their atmosphere is too stuffy for my taste - however this is one of the few I can say meets my standards for a place to take someone for a special evening.

Our special evening? My in-laws birthdays. I was aware of the popularity of Marrakesh, so we had reservations ahead of time, thankfully. There is a 3 foot by 4 foot waiting area - which means most people wait outside. That would be my only complaint, because in the dead of winter - its not a fun wait.

The restaurant is decorated fabulously - with rugs, scarves, fabric, covering every wall, floor and ceiling - and then small tables, pillows and stools for eating. The lights are low and the ambiance finished off perfectly with Moroccan music and dancing.

We decided to get the Royale Feast Dinner - which is for 4 people or more. It is a 5 course meal that includes one of each special on the menu.

Our waitress first came with a bowl to wash all of our hands. It was warm water and such a nice thing to do before we all eat.

The first course the traditional lentil soup. SO savory, just the right temperature to sip from the bowls. Then the waitress brought a huge woven basket of sliced bread and told us to take some. Great homemade bread, complimented the soup perfectly. Before we had a chance to finish our soup, the second course - Moroccan salad came. It consisted of a hummus-like paste as well as a vegi medly that was almost like a greek salad, but better (no olives). We ended up eating them all together, and felt as though that could have been our dinner.

The third course was easily the most INTERESTING dish I have ever eaten. I have lived in Africa, Greece, and have eaten tons of different foods, but this by far can be labeled the most yummy and interesting. It was called B'stilla Royale and basically its a light crispy filo dough, filled with a ground meat and onion mixture and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Something about the mixture makes it delectable.

At this point we found ourselves comfortable but salivating at the mere thought of the next course and what they had next to surprise us with.

The 4th course was the MAIN course. And because we chose the Royale Feast. That is what we got. Each dish was savory in its own way. We got 3 chicken, one Couscous dish, and a lamb and a beef dish. We passed the dishes around the table, each taking bites from each dish. Its exactly what you WISH you could do at restaurants, try a bit of everything.

During the dinner course, the music got louder and the belly/sword dancer came out. She was a beautiful dancer who played with the patrons and invited a few people to dance with her. I often find side shows like this embarrassing and awkward, however she was so at ease and friendly, it was really entertaining.

With dinner done, low lights, comfortable pillows, we really could have taken a nap at this point, but the waitress came again - to wash our hands. After washing them - she sprinkled all of our hands with Rose Water - to prepare us for dessert.

Our 5th course was served in tiny bowls. It was a small chopped apple, pear and banana salad that was mixed with their juices and a bit of brown sugar. It was VERY refreshing and wonderful after such a big filling meal. Our waitress then came with 5 glasses and asked us to sit back a bit, in case of splash over. Confused we sat back - and she then started to poor the hot, fragrant, sweetened mint tea - from ABOVE our heads! She kept moving up until she was pouring from as high as her arms could reach standing (and we were on the floor). The tea was more than tasty and a PERFECT way to end an amazing dinner.

Unlike the "group meal" like we recently got at the Italian Maggianno's that I reviewed saying we paid WAY too much for what we got - this on the other hand was $20 per person (FLAT, no additions) and we got MORE than expected and were pleasantly surprised.

Rating: ***** Excellent food, service and ambiance. It is a great place to take out of town guests, to celebrate an anniversary or for a special occasion.


  1. Isn't that B'stilla Royale dish memorable? I've only been to Marrakesh once, maybe a year and a half ago, and that's the part of the meal I remember most vividly.

  2. I've eaten in Moroccan restaurants all over the country and Marrakesh is one of the better ones and, without a doubt, the best value for money of any of them. No visit I make to Seattle is complete without a stop at Marrakesh.

  3. I'm very upset with this place. Went there on the dec 8th with 9 of my friends and was overcharged. When talking to the owner or manager who ever that rude guy was that rung up the checks all wrong. He not only admitted to something being wrong with our check, but still proceed to get anger with me when i asked him to tell me how he came to the conclusion that the price was 251 and some change. Won't be going there with friends anymore unless we get compensation from them and a apology from the very rude guy that took our money.
    9 people each meal cost 18.50
    4 people got Moroccan 1 beer a piece
    1 person got a mango mimosa (everyone else got water)
    they added 15% gratuity
    -$40 from groupon
    Only reason I left was because it was my birthday and we still had one more place to go.