Like a rose that blossoms out of a sidewalk crack, Tagine sweetens the NYC theatre district with an exotic and alluring perfume. Moroccan lamps, handwoven berber textiles and cushy seating create an understated elegance. Habitues of the restaurant/lounge steep themselves in the Maghreb, sipping luscious orange blossom sangria, savoring fragrant tagines, entranced by belly dancers and hookah pipes. What a shock to step outside, following this amazing melange of sensory delights and find not camels and dunes, but rather midtown Manhattan!
Aside from the beautiful and comfortably decorated interior, Tagine's kitchen is dynamic, baking its own semolina bread daily, and encasing its own lamb merguez. A variety of 'Tagines' are featured at the restaurant. There are several different cous cous selections on the menu, and mouthwatering house specialties include "bastilla", a Moroccan pheasant pie, and "moquadimat," a selection of appetizers, ordered a la carte or as a mixed platter. Included in the wine list, is a diverse selection of Moroccan varieties, which delightfully accompany the menu. Don't walk away from your table without sampling "Halahwyat" the most delightful, hand rolled traditional confections and pastries, graciously served with mint tea or Moroccan spiced coffee.
We have been hosting, catering and entertaining palates and bodies for over 12 years. Our new location boasts a generous bar, hookah lounge, semi private room and, as always, one of the lasting live music venues in Manhattan. Our concept is the cohabitation of flavors, aromas, palettes and palates:) The merging of cross cultural arts, artists performances while dining on slow, authentic and artisanal cuisine is our mission and brand. Hence our namesake, Tagine- Share the Experience.
We are the only artisanal Moroccan restaurant that has a variety of gluten free dishes on our in-house menu as well as an executive chef who can accommodate any dietary request.
Toni Marisa Gallo, an anthropologist, dancer, writer and all around gypsy collaborated with Hamid Idrissi, chef, caterer, poet, jeweler and overall giving spirit, to co-create a unique haven, blending amazing cuisine, dedication to the arts and a totality of joy, both in palate and in spirit. Our restaurant evolved into a haven for foodies and Maghreb-lore's, as well as, a cultural vortex, attracting an eclectic and talented line-up of musicians, artists, dancers, poets and visiting chefs from all over the world. Tagine launched on a whim and at the coaxing from close friends and catering clientele back in 2001, prior to Facebook and the advent of social media. Our steady and ever-increasing product diversification rooted itself in Hell's Kitchen, the greater Metropolitan region and internationally! We served an abundance of diverse communities, through several arteries in Tagine."
Fascinated by charmoula, a rich emulsion of cilantro, preserved lemon, roasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and its ability to adapt to many dishes, is the essence of North African cuisine according to Chef Hamid. In between whimsical narratives during his monthly cooking classes, he reminisces about his cultural roots and their influence on his epicurial craft. His emphasis on the rustic, labor-intensive gastronomy of Morocco, is illustrated throughout the menu.
Following studies at the Institute National des Etudes Judiciares (National Institute for Judicial Studies) in Rabat, Hamid practiced at the court of Meknes, but his love of food led him to hosting parties throughout Morocco. Upon his arrival in NYC in 1983, he was hired as prep/line cook in Café Damas then assistant chef at Café Gibran. While cooking at the El Morocco Club, he concentrated on breads and pastries, fine tuning his technique and recipes. Following a stint at Café Nadia he was appointed executive Chef at Café Mogador. Later, he advanced into catering (north African, French and Italian) intimate gatherings, as well as, large events for Rolling Stone Magazine, Us Magazine, World Music Institute and various fashion shows at the Omni Park Plaza and, Hilton Hotels etc..
Born in Khemiset (Middle Atlas) Morocco, Hamid Idrissi, was surrounded by berber traditions on his mother's side and an Arab heritage from his father. As a middle child, he was appointed to assist in household chores including cooking. He spent hours watching and absorbing delicate and complex preparation techniques of the household kitchen, which more often than not, catered to 100 guests and neighbors. The kitchen was complete with Memma Alimi’s glazed earthenware (ghedra, tangia, tagines, ackdourh), a domed clay pot upon which she made her daily homemade pastry (warka). Hand welded copper cooking kettles pans, including an enormous keskes, and, of course the aromatic, sweet and pungent scents of cardamom, orange blossom water, mint, cumin and sage that perfumed the home. It was during these crucial years of adolescence where Hamid apprenticed and understood the nuances and cultural importance of his native cuisine.
In the late 90’s at the urging of many clients, Hamid began designing a plan for his own restaurant. In the interim, he opened Cous Cous Café at Chelsea market. This proved to be an opportunity to demonstrate culinary arts “a la marocaine”, whimsical and charming, he dazzled with dexterous hands and multi-course versatility, touting the importance of enjoyment, from preparation to result. Tagine Dining Gallery opened in the summer of 2000, and was praised with accolades from Eric Asimov, Lifestyle Magazine, Tama Janowicz to name but a few. Every review thus far has confirmed the consistency, skill and authenticity of this amazing artisan. Chef Hamid continues to enchant the diverse clientele that visits Tagine, delighting all the senses.
Caridad will take you on a journey beyond bellydance through visualization,proper breathing, release rituals, and high impact movement, while keeping the female design in mind. This journey started at the age of 14, when she first came to realize how important of a ritual dance truly was. Dance had always been present but did no take full force until her late teens. Bellydance in particular, as well as afro centric music, gypsy, and flamenco were highly influential in creating foundation later in her physical and artistic expression.
Amayah is a dancer who has learned both traditional middle eastern and more contemporary styles of belly dance. She currently lives and dances in New York City, performing as a resident dancer at Tagine Moroccan Restaurant in Midtown, and is also a member of Columbia Belly Dance at Columbia University, where she is a Masters student in the Clinical Psychology program.
Amayah is of multiracial descent and grew up in the New York/New Jersey metro area, where she started dancing at a very young age. Beginning with ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop and even west african dance, she was drawn to belly dance when she started as a freshman in her undergraduate years at Rutgers. She auditioned and joined the Rutgers belly dance troupe in fall 2009, and the following year became their dance coach for the next three years, choreographing the troupe pieces.
Amayah was primarily taught in American cabaret, modern Egyptian, classical Egyptian (raqs sharqi, raqs beledi, and raqs shaabi), and tribal fusion styles, but is always learning new styles and advancing her technique. She is very grateful to all of her amazing teachers who have influenced and inspired her over the years.
NevaNites. Neva is a sensational dancer with an international heart and soul. When the evening calls for belly dance, she's there. Her spins are absolutely out-of-this-world. Bhangra, samba, dance hall, hip hop, salsa: She brings it to the dance floor. Neva's favorite meal at Tagine is the Hearty Lentil Soup, Maaquda, Baked Homemade Charmoula Bread, followed by the Moroccan Cigarra and Mint Tea.