Nestled on West 38th Street, in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district, you would hardly expect to stumble across a restaurant like Tagine. With its low hanging Moroccan lamps, Berber textiles, red lighting and cushioned seats, the Moroccan restaurant instantly transports you to the streets of Marrakech.
Founded by Toni Marisa Gallo and Chef Hamid Idrissi, Tagine Fine Moroccan Cuisine focuses on bringing a variety of authentic Moroccan flavors to Manhattan. Tagines are a classic Berber dish—likened to a savory stew—aptly named after the clay pot in which they are cooked. Traditionally combining vegetables with chicken, lamb or beef; a tagine is spiced with cumin, tumeric, cinnamon and saffron to give it its unique flavor.
Chef Hamid, who is originally from Khemesset in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains, has been in the United States for more than 30 years. With a father who is Arabic and a mother who is Berber, Chef Hamid’s cooking pulls from both influences, focusing on Moroccan flavors and the ancient spices still used by Berbers to this day.
In this episode of Hungerlust, we meet with Chef Hamid to learn about the art of making tagine, Moroccan culture and what Morocco-bound travelers should know.