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  • Writer's pictureHunger Leads

TAGINE | Moroccan Cuisine

One of the UAE’s oldest Moroccan restaurants I know of is still found at the One & Only Royal Mirage Palace. I believe the last meal I had here was a good 12 years ago, but the warm, cosy décor and traditional atmosphere with live music has not lost its charm at all, and maintains the same superb Moroccan service, exactly as I remembered it. Alas, like any restaurant located at a 5-star hotel, there is a hefty price to pay at the end of the meal.


Complimentary Bread and Olives

I love a good pastilla, so we shared a Pastilla Bil Hamam, a Moroccan pie of filo pastry filled with pigeon meat, crushed almonds, scrambled eggs and sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar. A satisfying balance of sweet and savoury, it’s such a tasty treat and I recommend the pigeon over chicken every time.


Pastilla Bil Hamam, a Moroccan pie of filo pastry filled with pigeon meat, crushed almonds, scrambled eggs and sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar.

If you are going to have a tagine for your mains and you can agree on one to share, we recommend sharing it as they are large portions, but then you have to decide whether you want it with couscous, or without. We ended up ordering one Tagine Royal (no couscous), of lamb cooked with onion, ginger, black pepper and honey, served with caramelised pineapple and almonds. One for the meat lovers, this dish is very heavy on the lamb, and an extra starch vegetable might have done wonders to balance things out a little and soak up the sweetness of the honey and pineapple. However, the lamb is delicious and tender, in a rich, rewarding gravy.


Tagine Royal (no couscous), of lamb cooked with onion, ginger, black pepper and honey, served with caramelised pineapple and almonds.

The Couscous Royal (tagine with couscous) is couscous served with lamb, chicken, merguez sausages, and seasonal vegetables, and the stew’s sauce is served separately. You may need to add generous lashings of the broth provided on the side, as the couscous soaks up all the moisture especially out of the chicken breast. The merguez sausages, however, were excellent, but it was impossible to finish everything in this tagine by oneself.


The Couscous Royal (tagine with couscous) is couscous served with lamb, chicken, merguez sausages, and seasonal vegetables.

To complete the Moroccan experience, we ordered the delicate Keneffa (not to be confused with Knafeh), of crispy pastry layers filled with a beautiful vanilla cream, crushed almonds, and sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon. It’s the Moroccan version of a millefeuille. This dessert was not overly sweet and was a perfect finish.


Keneffa of crispy pastry layers filled with a beautiful vanilla cream, crushed almonds, and sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon.

The only other Moroccan restaurant I’d known back in the day was the Almaz by Momo, which was great when it first opened in MOE, though pricey for a mall restaurant, but it has since shut down. Do you have any recommendations for good traditional Moroccan restaurants in Dubai that don’t come with 5-star price tags? We’d love to hear your recommendations!


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