Set amidst three acres of orange groves, this boutique hotel, restaurant, and spa is a lovely surprise in the busy capital city of Rabat, Morocco. The restaurant is designed with with alcoves that offer an intimate feel to the room as well as provide views of the lush landscape. With an extremely professional staff, you will find it be enjoyable. As the restaurant reaches capacity, the service can become slower. It took approximately twenty minutes to receive the check after requesting it. And a side note, if you order a bottle of wine and do not finish it, you cannot take it back to your hotel room or suite.
On to Villa Mandarine’s culinary creations. The meal started off to a good start with Amuse Bouche and another selection of local Moroccan wine (Volubilis Rosé). Appetizers of Lobster Caesar salad and Swordfish Tartare were both good. The salad was served in a very generous portion, which could easily replace dinner if seeking lighter fare, and the miniature croutons and quail eggs were a nice touch to the salad. The tartare was simple in presentation and enjoyable despite the overpowering onions.
For the main course, a favorite was the Octopus of Orient, with Saffron Rissotto. Presented and served molded, we were unsure at first bite, however the blend of texture and spice provided a uniqueness that became the favorite of the night. Also indulging in the delicate dish of Monk fish. The contrast of moist fish served on a bed of sliced potatoes and seaweed salad, was a perfect balance to the octopus. The entire menu is reasonably priced for the elegance of this Morroco boutique hotel and restaurant.
Tasting the Trio of Creme Brûlée – cardamon, ginger, and café, between us we liked them all. Our second choice of chocolate was mistakenly replaced with a Strawberry Shortcake type of dessert that was just ok. It is good to note, the coffee ordered with dessert was mistakenly not delivered to the table, however also not charged to the bill.
Overall, this is a must visit in Rabat, Morocco. If traveling, we recommend spending at least two days here to relax in the pristine ambiance of the gardens and true oasis of the area.
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