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Review - Tizi Melloul

By Anthony Todd in Food on Feb 3, 2010 8:00PM

Walking into the Crescent Room at Tizi Melloul is like walking into a Mediterranean fantasy. We honestly have no idea as to its authenticity for any particular culture, and it doesn't really matter - it's exactly what you want it to look like. In a restaurant filled with modern design touches this more traditional space, with low couches, vibrant colors, pottery and a giant cluster of lanterns hanging above, perfectly sets the scene for the meal to follow. The main dining room is lovely, and has a wider variety of food selections, but we were quite happy with our choice.

We initially made our reservations at Tizi Melloul after a friend tipped us off to what sounded like an amazing prix fixe deal - 5 courses for $35. It turns out to be even more amazing - by 5 courses, they mean 5 courses of service. Diners actually get 8 different dishes, starting with a selection of spreads (baba ghanoj, hummus and tapenade) served with flatbread. Next, a wonderfully addictive dish of fire-roasted mussles, served with harissa butter and coated with paprika and kosher salt. The main course, a combination of 3 different entrees, showcased a lamb tagine with dates and a saffron cous-cous and salmon served over basmati rice.

Cocktails are equally enticing, especially the "Casbah Cognac," infused with orange, cinnamon and coriander and served warm. It slides right down your throat, and only enhances the feeling of comfort that the space creates. At $9, it's a bargain for that neighborhood. Tizi Melloul is a great place for a long, leisurely dinner with friends - before we knew it, two hours had passed and we were onto dessert, a semi-sweet chocolate fondue, served with poundcake and homemade marshmellows. We were so full we could barely touch it, but the bitter chocolate was a great finish to our indulgence. We'll be heading back soon.

Tizi Melloul is located at 531 North Wells Street. Reservations are recommended. Street parking is available, or valet is $10. Dress is "smart casual."