This is as good as it gets! I'm giving it five stars because each time I enter Zitoune, Im immediately brought back to lovely restaurants I've dined in all over Morocco. I feel like I've entered a chic casbah establishment: the lights are dimmed, the aroma is exotic & spicy & the warm hospitality is definitely North African/Middle Eastern. The owner, Alain Bennouna, has decorated elegantly & warmly with traditional objects of his homeland. He's opening another place on 424 East 9th St in the East Village, called Olivia Bistro.
My companion & I stopped in recently on a Summer week-night because we were peckish for a Mid East nosh. There aren't too many places to choose from up here & I remembered this wonderful spot.
We were warmly greeted & shown to a divan-style table. (One that is a few inches off the floor with low slung couches or divans). The service has improved tremendously & the waiter was efficient & helpful, explaining any questions we had.
We ordered an olive tapas to start which was delicious & a notch above others. It had a secret flavor that I can't seem to name but fondly can recall.
My friend had the salmon which was presently with roasted vegetables & potatoes. I had a bite, or two, & it was delicious.
I'm a great lover of kofte (a spiced meatball dish). This was presented in a tangine-for-one, the cover removed table side only to unleash exquisite aromas & gave rise to pleasant thoughts of me shlepping all over Maroc. The kofte were steamed in an aromatic broth, not fried, with vegetables, lentils & cous cous. It was delightful! I'm not a big eater, but I ate the entire entre.
We then had a lovely green salad with an outstanding lemon dressing. So refreshing after a warm dish & hot & muggy night.
Included is a choice of wine or tea/coffee. All for under twenty dollars. Quite reasonable. We also shared a dish of toasty filo triangles filled with nuts & fruit. This was a delicious end to our meal.
But then we found out that we could have a shisha! So, without having to sit out in the muggy night, we were escorted to another divan away from the other guests & smoked a pipe of apple tobacco. I really felt like I was back in the enchanted land that I love so well. It was so nice & relaxing, us getting more comfortable, shoes off, reminiscing our times in different countries surrounding the Mediterranean, the great friends we mede & still have & the great food we've enjoyed. Just like tonight.
More reviews to come. This was just a spur of the moment, weeknight dinner. I notice here in the suburbs of NY, people don't take the time to dine. They eat. I dine. And this is where I do it. So, if you want to dine, I strongly suggest ZITOUNE.
1127 W Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck, NY 10543