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Staff Pick

Sweet and Spicy

January-February 2015

Moroccan roast chicken with onions, tomatoes, and raisins

Moroccan roast chicken with onions, tomatoes, and raisins

Courtesy of Moroccan Hospitality

The Somerville restaurant offers a warm, simple setting.

The Somerville restaurant offers a warm, simple setting.

Courtesy of Moroccan Hospitality

At the rightly named Moroccan Hospitality, sisters Nouzha Ghalley and Amina Ghalley McTursh make almost everything from scratch. Traditional chicken bastilla ($5.99) is served as an appetizer, but the bundling of tastes—from cinnamon, crushed almonds, and eggs to a splash of rose water—is bold. The buttery phyllo-wrapped beef “cigars” ($3.99) hold flecks of onion, orange peel, and cilantro. Tenderly fried potato cakes ($3.99) are laced with garlic; use caution spooning on the creamy hot chili paste (harissa). For entrées, try the chicken tfaya ($13.50), roast poultry on the bone topped with a sweet and spicy mélange of caramelized onions and raisins; or a range of tagines (stews, slow-cooked in clay pots). The lamb stew has green olives and honey, while potatoes, carrots, peas, artichokes, and onions pack the vegetable version ($11.99), spiked with preserved lemon. Piles of feathery couscous with golden raisins come on the side. Last year the restaurant migrated from its original storefront in Malden to Somerville. The new environs are a healthy walk from Cambridge’s Porter Square, and offer welcome refinements: orange- and crimson-colored walls, banquettes with soft pillows, white tablecloths, and candlelight.

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