Oct 05

Kasbah Village: A touch of Morocco in Downtown Ottawa

Kasbah Village Moroccan Cuisine

Kasbah Village: We’ve been twice &¬† it’s nice!

If by chance you dig the whole Moroccan Scene,
Then this is the place to get your Tagine!

The ambience, Middle Eastern, the food’s above par!
To find somewhere better, you’ll have to go far!

The place is a goer, if you know what we mean ūüėȬ†

It really is a shame that in the downtown core of Ottawa, the Nation’s¬†Capital, it¬†really does seem as if the place closes in the evenings after¬†all the civil servants have headed for the suburbs. Unless you want to go to either Elgin Street or the¬†Byward¬†Market you’ll be hard-pressed to find much activity after 6PM. This is really a shame because there are a few good eating places that risk oblivion because they are not located in either of these two areas.¬†

Where we went: By all accounts, Kasbah Village located on Laurier between Bank and O’Connor is veritably hopping at lunch hour but on both of our evening visits it has been very sparsely populated. I have to admit that in my earlier years, I was not an ardent supporter of Moroccan cuisine. I thought of couscous as bland and prunes were never my thing! However, since having eaten in Moroccan restaurants in Paris more recently and having investigated the delights of cooking in a tagine, my attitude has changed considerably. Our most recent visit was in late September to celebrate our son Ian’s birthday. Coincidentally, he had just recently spent a couple of weeks in Morocco and had immensely enjoyed the experience.

Alsace Riesling Dopff & Irion Gew√ľrztraminer 2008What we ordered: As with our previous visit, the place was all but empty. What’s more, true to prior form, we were served by the owner/manager himself. This time we did not opt to start off with the Kir Royale (Champagne with Blackcurrant liqueur) but I do heartily recommend it. Instead, we decided on an Alsatian Gew√ľrztraminer (pictured) which was a reminder of our recent trips to Strasbourg where our daughter and son-in-law reside.¬†All three of us decided to avail ourselves of the Table D’H√īte offering. Ian and I started with the chicken and beef phyllo pastries while Dorothy selected the traditional Harira (lamb & chickpea) soup.¬†As a main, Ian and I ordered the Couscous Royale and Dorothy picked the Lamb¬†Tagine. As on our previous visit, our server, the owner, was attentive but not pushy offering assistance only when called for. I suspect that many of his clientele do not often eat Moroccan food and might need more help than we did.¬†

What we got: Because this was our second visit, I must admit that I was a little concerned that I might not enjoy the experience quite as much. This is often the case when the first visit sets up unrealistic expectations for the subsequent ones. I am happy to report that this was not the case. If anything, the food and service we received was even better than the first time. Trying to explain the subtle flavours, spices and aromas would be like trying to explain colours to a blind person. Perhaps the pictures will give you just a hint of the culinary delights that await you in the Kasbah Village. For dessert, Ian felt compelled to try the Orange Salad since he had loved it so in Morocco¬†where he had fallen in love with the fruit straight from the tree he had sampled there. Even though he did not expect exactly the same experience, he was happy with the memories it evoked. Dorothy and I selected the fruit cr√™pe, which was as delicious as it looks. We finished things off with a pot of mint tea, expertly poured with pan√Ęche by our host. Our son in law introduced us to this beverage made from fresh mint from his garden in Strasbourg, France.

Worthy of note: I do not usually really take notice of the decor in a restaurant other than in a general sense. However, Kasbah Village really is exceptional in this regard. You really feel as though you are transported to the Middle East (not that I have ever actually been there). Rich colours and fabrics add a special appeal. As you sink into the soft velour cushions, you are tempted to look around for traces of Ali Baba ūüôā To show how our host went the extra mile, you should note the candle in Ian’s dessert. We had not mentioned anything to the server but he had seen Ian opening gifts and took it upon himself to add this little flourish!

Summary

  • Positives: Great D√©cor and ambience. Food definitely out of the ordinary.
  • Negatives: None!
  • Recommendation: Highly recommended! After two visits, I am forced to accord The Kasbah Village my first ever Overall Five Star Rating!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality ***** Top Flight
Price $$$ Worth every penny!
Decor ***** In keeping with food!
Service ***** Something Extra
Overall Rating ***** First Ever Five Star

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