A Quick Lunch at Moroccan Flavors at the Midtown Global Market (Minneapolis)

I was up in Minneapolis for some annual medical appointments earlier this week. Due to some scheduling complications what was supposed to have been a few appointments in the mid-morning became appointments before and after lunch. I wasn’t sure where I could go for an outdoor bite in the area and so rolled the dice and decided to walk to the Midtown Global Market. Early lunch on a weekday, I reasoned, was not likely to find the market crowded and thankfully this proved to be true (well, the vendors at the market would probably prefer it otherwise). There were other people there eating but there was plenty of space and most people seemed to be masked when not eating. I knew where I was headed: to Moroccan Flavors. I last reported on a meal there in early 2017 (they’d opened the previous year). We really enjoyed that meal and I cannot explain to you why we haven’t been back. Well, I went back on Tuesday and had another excellent meal. After the meal I wandered the market a little, noting some changes. Here is a quick look at it all.

In the years since our first visit the owners of Moroccan Flavors opened a larger restaurant at the Midtown Market, in the space in the building lobby that once housed Rabbit Hole. Alas, the space seems cursed and the new restaurant didn’t take. Fortunately, they never closed the original counter and that remains in operation, with much the same menu and from what I could tell from this meal, the original quality.

As I was by myself I couldn’t eat very much. Which is not to say I had a light lunch. I ordered the Chicken Tagine and received three pieces of chicken braised with olives over turmeric rice with a number of marinated and roasted veg on the side. It was all very good and highly satisfying. And at $10.99 before tax and tip it was a crazy deal for the quality and quantity of the food. If you’re in the vicinity of the market and are back to eating in you could do a lot worse.

Walking around the market after I noticed that some of the market’s old favourites are still around: Manny’s Tortas, Pham’s the express outposts of Los Ocampo and Safari and so on. There are also some new places: Arepa Bar—which promises “Elevated Venezuelan Cuisine”—sits where Mama D’s was when I last reported on a trip to the market. Hot Indian Foods was closed but they seem to still be in business (a sign for a Diwali celebration this weekend at the market noted that they’d be doing the food). The vegetable/fruit market in the middle seems to have shrunk a bit and there were a few closed counters as well.

Twin Citizens will remember that the Holy Land outpost at the market got the boot last year in the wake of revelations of racism. In that spot now sits a new Middle Eastern/Mediterranean vendor: Oasis Market & Deli. The name and colours are different but otherwise it looks identical to Holy Land’s set-up from the hot foods deli to the market to the butcher area to the marinated olives and cheese selections. Indeed, while there I did wonder if this was just a case of new signage but apparently not. I’ll take a closer look the next time I’m there—and I also hope to sample some of Arepa Bar’s wares.

For a look at my lunch at Moroccan Flavors and my walk through the market, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see where this Tuesday’s restaurant report will be from.

Alright, a proper return to the Midtown Market is on the list for when the pandemic is truly behind us. In the meantime, we are taking advantage of an unexpectedly warm weekend and will be lunching on our deck later today with a group of friends we haven’t eaten with for a while. The plan is Thai food from one of the University Ave. stalwarts in St. Paul, probably Bangkok Thai Deli. That report will be posted on Tuesday. See you then.



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