Get ready for an exotic experience once you enter the two red doors of Marrakesh restaurant in Studio City. The intimate atmosphere inside sets the mood for a romantic Moroccan dinner date with décors like oil lamps, tasseled curtains, plush pillows and mosaic tables.
Marrakesh is by far the most unique restaurant that I have ever been to. Paper menus are not available, instead the servers recite the courses in detail.
The dinner starts off with washing your hands with warm rosemary water. There are five five-course meals to choose from. My date and I opted for the Fassi Dinner ($26.95), which includes chicken with lemon & olives, and the Marrakesh Mixed Grill ($32.95), which includes shrimp, lamb and chicken kabobs served on top of warm couscous vegetables. Each dinner is served with soup, salad, appetizer and dessert.
The soup Harira consists of lentils, celery, garbanzo beans and tomatoes. This is by far my favorite item from the restaurant. The soup was served warm and well-spiced. I wished they served it in bigger bowls.
The Moroccan Salad came in next, which consists of marinated and smashed eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots. I hesitated to take a bite of the eggplant because I never liked the taste of it, but my date encouraged me to try it and said that “you cannot even taste the eggplant.” I did, and he was right; I had a few bites after that.
I thought the server made a mistake by serving the dessert first before the main course. Bastilla, the appetizer which is stuffed dough with chicken, scrambled eggs and almonds topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon was set on our table. I am not a big fan of the stuffing, but I loved the flaky dough.
At this point, my date and I were already full. While resting our tummies and waiting for the next course, loud Moroccan music blasted the entire restaurant. A belly dancer came out and started entertaining the guests. First, she danced in the middle of the room and danced her way to each table. She also encouraged guests to dance with her. The belly dancer was highly entertaining and is also a good workout in the middle of the meal if you participate. I would have joined her in dancing, if I were with a large group.
Our main dish finally arrived, and it looked overwhelming. They were served in big portions, and I thought my date and I could have shared one dish. The chicken from the Fassi Dinner honestly tasted like a Rotisserie chicken from Costco, but served fancier. It was, though, well-cooked and the meat slid off the bone. The only good thing about the Marrakesh Mixed Grill is the shrimp kebobs. I thought it was seasoned to perfection with just enough spice to it. The lamb and the chicken were tough; we had to ask for a pair of carving knives. My date and I hardly touched the couscous, as it was bland and dry, and decided to eat the main dish with bread instead.
The dessert, Baklava, was served with mint tea. I really liked this combination although it wouldn’t hurt to add more syrup on top of the Baklava.
My overall experience at Marrakesh was satisfactory. Out of five stars, I give the food three silver stars and 5 golden stars for the experience and the entertainment. The ambiance and the belly dancer make up for the average food that is rather expensive.