Moroccan Bites (MB), which was featured in famous restaurateur Guy Fieri’s series, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” in the summer of 2011, is an African jewel hidden in Leon Valley. In an unassuming shopping center on the intersection of Evers and Wurzbach, the exterior is almost easy to miss if not for the crowd of cars in front of this small family-owned restaurant.
Since it first opened in Nov. 2009, Moroccan Bites has been serving San Antonio the best of cuisine from the northwestern part of Africa.
In contrast to its modest exterior, Moroccan Bites’ interior décor has gorgeous Moroccan accents, from its tiled columns to its colorful lanterns. The crowd inside is a little jarring from the silence outside; as if stumbling upon a secret hiding place for foodies.
The space seems far too small for MB’s popularity, and the cramped room detracts from the experience, making it somewhat less enjoyable. Sometimes short staffed, MB can be chaotic. The service is slow at times, from being seated to being served. However, at least one of the owners (Latifah El Maroudi and her daughters Nadia and Wafa) is usually running around to better serve the customers to the best of her ability.
The food, however, makes the visit well worth the wait. The menu features many traditional dishes of Morocco, including hummus. Traditionally Moroccan hummus uses whole chickpeas, instead of the familiar Mediterranean paste of cuisine, which creates a hearty dish that has a subtle blend of saffron, green and red peppers and cilantro.
Another great dish, which seems to be one of the most popular, is the lamb tagine with steamed vegetables. A tagine is a popular dish from the northern part of Africa that is named after the special pot in which it is cooked. Tagines usually include less expensive cuts of meat that have been braised and simmered until the meat is falling off the bone. MB accomplishes this splendidly.
The server lifts up the orange, cone-shaped top of the tagine pot, and there appears a beautiful pyramid of tender meat and brightly colored steamed vegetables topped with a single curl of a lemon slice. The lemony aroma complements the bold flavor of the perfectly seasoned lamb and the sweetness of the carrots. The only criticism one may have about MB’s lamb tagine is that the broth at the bottom is almost pure fat that slightly solidifies as it cools.
A diner who is unfamiliar with Moroccan cuisine might try MB’s delicious sandwiches as a first taste. The meat of MB’s sandwiches, whether chicken or lamb, is cubed and marinated overnight in traditional Moroccan herbs and spices. The sandwiches also include lettuce, tomato, onion and green olives. As tasty as the insides are, there doesn’t seem to be enough as MB’s sandwiches are dominated by its thick chunk of French bread.
With all of its alluring dishes and beverages, Moroccan Bites adds another exotic flavor to San Antonio’s already diverse collection of cuisines. This lovely restaurant is a great find in a modest part of town.
Moroccan Bites is located at
5714 Evers Road.