The Marrakech Cuisine restaurant at 1413 North Ashland Avenue in Chicago serves authentic Moroccan food. Once you get into the store, it’s is as if you’ve entered into a completely different world. The brightly colored clothes displayed in the gift shop capture everyone’s attention. The lyrics of music played while you eat do not have to be understood in order to appreciate the beauty of the rhythms. The lamps, decorations and dim lights create the atmosphere of being in Africa once you sit at a table.
Marrakech Cuisine is owned by Ahmen Hajir, a native Moroccan. The restaurant has been around since 2004. Initially, Hajir wanted to have a gift store highlighting the variety of arts and crafts Morocco has to offer, but later on Hajir decided to build a restaurant to showcase not only art, but also the variety of food from his home country.
Adber Ehouadrmiri, known as “Abe”, works with Hajir as the manager/server at Marrakech Cuisine. “He takes care of everything,” says Hajir, who runs the entire business with just four employees.
Hajir is especially proud of his restaurant’s couscous, which comes with a variety of vegetables and the choice of lamb, beef or chicken. All of their foods feature various spices including zaafran, a Moroccan staple, which Hajir said is one of the hardest ingredients to come by these days.
If you want to experience Marrakech Cuisine, customers are welcome to stop by without a reservation. The small but hospitable staff treat you as one of their own, ready to transport you to faraway lands–so come with an open mind and a wish to learn.