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“Marrakesh is Moroccan” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Marrakesh Restaurant

Marrakesh Restaurant
5510 University Ave, Madison, WI 53705
+1 608-238-7111
Website
Menu
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Ranked #4 of 838 Restaurants in Madison
Price range: $6 - $17
Cuisines: Moroccan
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Delivery
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Allen Blvd.
Transit: Bus 70, 72, 8
Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Marrakesh is Moroccan”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Excellent food; friendly, helpful, and somewhat slow service for a large lunch group; pleasant ambience for this newly opened restaurant. When one stops to think, the cuisine is not "Mediterranean" as we know it rather casually - the right side of the sea on a map - like the former occupant of the space. Finding a somewhat different (but in many ways similar) cuisine was a surprise and a good one. Even with our large group I don't think our conversations intruded upon other diners. I could always hear the background music. But I would probably still want to sit in the slightly more intimate area with fewer table companions next time!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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80 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    57
    14
    6
    2
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Dane County, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Great lamb, spinach salad, potato appetizer”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013

Former Shish Cafe location with new slant on Mediterranean. Appetizers: Zaaluk not like Baba Ganooj; while made with eggplant, it is more of a savory veggie stew you can spoon onto bread instead of eggplant dip. Potato croquettes "Makouda" were unusual tender puffs; flavorful and would order again, but didn't taste cilantro, ingredient mentioned on menu.

Friend enjoyed his lamb stew or Tagine. Spinach salad delightful and featured a honey drizzle over baby leaves, crisp fresh apple slices, walnuts, cashews, almonds and raisins. Menu says "nuts" so maybe these vary, but our order had at least all these; menu also says honey cinnamon "dressing" but didn't taste cinnamon or salad oil -- we didn't miss it. Lamb kebob had good tender meat, very lightly seasoned and saffron rice also mild. Note entrees with meat $16-17. We'd go back and try phyllo pastry entrees and desserts with figs or dates or a cream puff. Service attentive. Only disappointment was pita-type bread, very grainy whole wheat tough even when heated (which might be authentic to Morocco while we are used to more tender bread from other cultures).

Decent (Sierra Nevada PA) list of bottled beers; longer wine list, including by the glass. Just two soft drinks; cranberry and orange juice also available when asked server. Didn't try the Moroccan mint tea. Beware hours listed on website; not open all day Saturday; opened for dinner @5 p.m. in our experience. Don't forget your reading glasses! -- print on menu small.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prairie du Sac
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Wonderful restaurant, warm hospitality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Wonderful food, beautiful interior design, warm welcome.

Two of my daughters took me here for lunch on my birthday. Oh my! What a place. I love Moroccan food and have been cooking it for two years using the traditional utensils. The fact that the owner is a native to Morocco enhanced the authenticity of the menu.

Service was a little slow but I think what we ordered was made to order. The dining table is a place to share and communicate. Anyone who wants food in a hurry can go to Mickey D's. I prefer to enjoy my meal and the people at my table. Our food was hot but traditional Moroccan food really isn't. A "hot meal" is an Americanization. I think the two star review knew nothing about Moroccan food.

I will go back and have already recommended Marrakesh Restaurant to friends. BTW, I am NOT a member of the family, at least until now. Youssef welcomed my family as he would his own.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Pretty mediocre.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

Aside from the glowing reviews here written by folks who appear to be family and friends of the owner (look at the profiles), this restaurant is not one of the top 10 restaurants in Madison, WI. It is new and, on our visit, was struggling to provide even well-cooked and well-seasoned food.

We ate here in the first week or so that they were open. The service was really, really slow, but I suspect that will improve as they figure things out, and it is not the reason for the 2 star review. The food was.

At first, things seemed great. We were promptly seated (although we were only the second table there) and promised a complimentary Turkish tea. After about 10 minutes the tea arrived. It was herbal, sweet, and delicious. However, we had not seen our waiter at all between being seated and getting the tea, so we didn't order until then and it felt slow.

We started with the hummus, which was very good, and accompanied by a wonderful light, slightly chewy bread. For a main course, I ordered the Chicken Tagine, and my husband got the Beef Tagine. Both were disappointing. The chicken was dry and overcooked, which is a little odd for a tagine dish. There was very little sauce, and two small strips of preserved lemon and a few olives. It also was absolutely under seasoned and under salted. The beef tagine was also overcooked, dried out, and tough. It was also a very cheap cut of beef, a very fibrous cut (like chuck) and honestly, for a $15 dish, I expect a little higher quality meat. It was literally about $3 worth of beef, with a hard cooked egg and a few prunes. It was also under seasoned, which given the description on the menu was surprising.

Overall, it felt like the meal (at about $50 total with tax and tip - no drinks) was not worth the price, and I do not often say that - I know it costs a lot of money to run a restaurant. It's too bad, because the Shish Cafe (which used to occupy the space) was really excellent.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Great Morrocan food, beautiful decor!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013 via mobile

We love Middle Eastern food, so we wanted to try this new addition to Madison. We were wowed upon entering by the beautiful tapestries from Morroco and the vibrant colors, perfect for a date night or with friends and family. We tried the soup, falafal, tagine of chicken and lamb. Everything was fresh and delicious. The wait was a little long, but in the end worth it. I would definitely recommend it!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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