A Taste of the Middle East, Just Down the Street
By Rachel Shuster
Want to have a one-of-a-kind, Middle Eastern experience but jetting overseas doesn’t really seem practical? Don’t feel helpless, loyal Worcesterites, one of the city’s latest editions, Morocco, is incredibly rich in ethnicity and culture. Newly opened on November 1st, this restaurant is “more than just food,” manager and co-owner Saade Saade explains to Pulse. Saade describes the restaurant, open seven days a week from 11am-10pm, by saying, “It’s an experience.”
As former owner of a coffee/breakfast place, Saade Saade left that pursuit to focus on a new one with partner and chef Lucian Sbat. The two men brought Morocco to life with one goal: to provide a greater sense of diversity in the Worcester community. “We wanted to add another flavor to Shrewsbury Street, from another part of the world,” Saade explains passionately. “Not all places have whole package. We wanted to have the look, decor, ambiance, background, food, entertainment…” Both Saade and Sbat searched for the perfect place to house all that is Morocco, and 172 Shrewsbury Street seemed to be just that.
The instant sense of being whisked away to the Middle East is easy to feel at Morocco because of its chic atmosphere, small yet cozy bar and ethnically inspired main dining area. Still, the delicious food is the main attraction. There is surely something for everyone on the diverse menu of dishes ranging from Greek to Lebanese to American. However, “The food is 95% Middle Eastern,” Saade says. Morocco has everything from appetizers to desserts, but make special note of the tabbouleh, kebabs, hummus, seafood, and chicken dishes. Want a drink to go with your meal? Saade points out the extensive Lebanese wine and beer list to further heighten your dining experience.
So how about entertainment? One of Morocco’s most unique features is the live belly dancers that shimmy their way throughout the restaurant. Let the authentic music from places such as Greece and Turkey set the mood, as so the live bands on the weekends playing music of all genres. Whether it’s jazz, blues or traditional Lebanese, Morocco samples all kinds of music. Also, check out every Friday night when the house DJ spins sounds of European techno!
A unique work in the progress at Morocco is a Hookah lounge, something that is very common and popular in the Middle East. Here, people can share herbal fruits and flavored or non-flavored tobacco from a communal smoking device called a Hookah. Saade believes this part of Morocco will be a great cultural addition to the restaurant and to the Worcester community in general. He says, “It will be a nice, unique area with couches, pillows, chandeliers, etc.”
Now you know you don’t need a stamp on your passport to get a taste of the Middle East. Head down to Morocco and see for yourself. Enjoy!
Morocco Restaurant and Bar
172 Shrewsbury St., Worcester (508) 459-9660