An extremely cool, relaxed atmosphere greets one entering Marrakesh and the luxurious poofs and couches are a delight (where can I get some for my house?). Once inside, it's even possible (due largely to the curtains cutting off all outside light) to completely forget that you're still in the U.S. And aside from the environment, the food was amazing. The obligatory five courses comprised an enormous amount of food, more than worth the high price. Vegans, beware, however. It's hard to tell what you're eating and at one point, I realized I was voraciously consuming delicious phylo filled with...eggs! Everyone else, be ready for a prodigiously delicious experience, well worth the price disparity between here and Macdonalds. Highly recommended.
Surroundings: With billowy fabric on the ceilings and low couches and pillows on the floor it was like being in a tent in Morocco. DivaPaula with her bad knees had to sit on the couch but I was very comfortable.
Service: Very patient and pleasant server. The handwashing ceremony was unique. I loved the smell of the rosewater that they used at the end of the meal. The use of large handtowels for napkins was very practical. You totally need something like that when you eat with your hands.
Food: I had mango juice to drink. It was thick, sweet and mango-y. The red lentil soup was very good and was enhanced by the bread that was served but unlike Esau I wouldn't have sold my birthright for it (hee hee!) The Marrakesh salad was tasty too. I don't know what was in it but it was delicious.
The B'stellela Royal is where the Marrakesh express starts going off the tracks. Now, DivaPaula is an adventurous eater but... uhhhh I wasn't feeling this dish AT all. It was very nicely presented, very pretty. Meat, chicken, eggs and veggies and spices all mixed together was somewhat ok. Wrapping it all in puff pastry is ok too! It was the powdered sugar topping that threw me. Nope nope nope... I don't think this Diva would try B'stelella Royal again.
I had Lamb M' Rouzia, a dish made of lambshanks in a sauce of honey, onions and raisins. The sauce was sweet which would have been ok but it had no complexity, no character. It was just sweet. If it had a lemony tang, or a bit of a pepper kick it would have been more enjoyable. It really needed something to give it more dimension. The bread helped some.
We ended the meal with some kind of bland pudding with toasted coconut and almonds. I expected fruit. The pudding was very forgettable. The mint tea was lightly sweet and very refreshing.. excellent. I would like a pot of that over ice in the summer.
I love to eat and I love entertainement. I am never more pleased when these two passions are united in a great dining experience. Marrakesh met the mark. The food was delicious and unique. The ambiance was authentic. The entertainement was fun. From the dimly lit rooms and floor tables with bean bag chairs, to the sparkly belly dancer, your hands enjoy the work of feeding you without utensils and your every sense is satisfied.
We also took our 8 month old son and the location was very accomadating.
Every time that I have visited Marrakesh, I ate too much, made a mess, tried something new, and had an amazingly wonderful time. Most of the meal is the same; all of the courses come included and you simply choose your entree. Try everything, and eat sparingly or you will be full before you get to your entree...sit on the floor on a cushion, or on one of the low benches (much more awkward). Definately try one of their fresh juices or the house wine and enjoy the experience of eating the meal in traditional style with no utensils (scoop food onto pieces of bread). Morrocco (for those who don't know) is on the northwest corner of Africa, and Marrakesh is one of it's major cities. Traditional music, beautiful decorations, and costumes for the wait staff make the ambience feel very real; and because you can't see outside, you feel transported to another place. Definitely enjoy the entire process of the meal (don't expect to rush) and try something new.
Awesome place! Comfortable seating, (floor cushions,short soft benches) wonderful (mouth watering) food, and the belly dancers set the tone with all the wonderful decor! You get treated like royalty when the waitstaff is available. Granted, I did go there on a Saturday night, but being a resturant in downtown Portland, they should know to staff appropriately. Still, great place, I highly reccomend eating here. If you like morroccan food, this is THE place in Portland!
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