Our trusty tasters were welcomed at this particular eatery by very traditional Moroccan décor, and upon being seated, were offered a refreshing handwash with warm rosewater. While a little unexpected, it helped to create an exotic ambiance that pervaded throughout the rest of the evening. Surrounded by warm hues of red and orange, we prepared for a night of delectable Moroccan tradition. Preceding the actual meal, our diners were treated to traditional Moroccan sweet mint tea from an ornate teakettle that was only one of the many highlights of the evening. In addition to the impressive atmosphere, servers donned some authentic outfits that helped to complete a Middle Eastern eating experience. After taking another delicious sip (or two) of the mint tea, perusal of the menu ensued.
While disappointingly brief, the menu offered various forms of traditional Moroccan cuisine that our waiter explained masterfully. Our diners were a bit skeptical that he would explain each item and then recommend it even more highly than the last dish, but we were not let down. Our diners selected the Seafood Bastilla, the Chicken Bastilla, Chicken Kabobs, and Chicken Couscous. All dishes were far beyond satisfactory, but the Chicken Kabob dish quite literally was mind-blowing (editor’s note: note literally, figuratively). The Chicken Bastilla, which was sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar, was a unique blend of savory and sweet, and was quite enjoyable, but it does not come recommended with the sweet mint tea; the combined sweetness level was too much to handle. Various other options on the menu included close variations of what our diners ordered, mostly including dishes dealing with some couscous, soup or different kinds of meat.
A notable downside to the experience for the college student is definitely the cost. While moderately priced for date night or a dinner out with visiting relatives, for a bunch of college kids out for a meal, it was about ten bucks above a meal at your typical burger joint. The appetizers were considerably cheaper than any of the main courses, and if you were looking for a light meal, these dishes would certainly satiate your hunger. However, if as a characteristically hungry American, a light dish of Chicken Bastilla can’t do the trick to fill you up, so you must be willing to pay a bit above standard price for a full-blown main course to enjoy the majority of the items on the not exceedingly lengthy menu.
That being said, one isn’t only paying for the food when eating at this particular restaurant. You are paying for the experience, which I must say was well worth it. Service was textbook attentive, which only worked to amplify our time spent enjoying Moroccan cuisine. There were not many other customers on a rather slow-paced Wednesday night, but Argana is relatively new in town, which would most certainly account for the scarcity of customers. I do applaud the brave soul that sought to open such a cultural treat in our small town, especially because there is nary an area of our population size that can boast such an eclectic dining option as Moroccan. This new restaurant continues to add to the culinary flavor that is our dear Carlisle by adding a little international spice to the mix.
Best Dish: Chicken Kabob
Dish most highly recommend by server: Lamb Tagine
Price Range: $6-$20
Recommended Occasion: Date night or dinner with the relatives that are in town (a.k.a. someone else is footing the bill).