There are few date-friendly places in town where you can sit back on plush divans, indulge in sumptuous food and drink, and watch sultry costumed women artfully dance just inches from your table. But at The Sultan’s Tent & Café Moroc, Toronto’s best known Moroccan themed restaurant, nightly belly dance performances captivate guests, and Moroccan food is served up with a French twist in a lavish atmosphere.
Entering the Front Street East restaurant feels like traveling to an exotic world. Set inside a cast-iron heritage building, the restaurant’s rich colours, keyhole-shaped Moorish archways, and kaleidoscopic mosaic lanterns captivate your attention, while the sweet scent of cumin, ginger, and saffron almost instantly make your mouth water. With your special someone on your arm, you gaze around to see guests dining in silky jewel-toned tents designed to channel the exotic serving quarters of the Berbers, Morocco’s fabled nomadic peoples.
A look at the menu reveals a rich series of North African, French, and Mediterranean dishes. Why not take advantage and order foie gras and a couscous salad to start? As you continue to scan the menu, the tagines – traditional Moroccan meals of meat and vegetables cooked in an earthenware clay pot – catch your eye. Choose the succulently slow-roasted lamb and let it fall off the bone. As you savor the tender meat and vegetables, you become enamored with the delicate blend of aromatics. True to Moroccan form, the food here at The Sultan’s Tent is not spicy-hot; just spicy-delicious.
Blissfully full of Moroccan food, you and your sweetheart decide to tie off your meal with a pot of refreshing Moroccan mint tea: a combination of Chinese green tea and aromatic peppermint leaves sweetened with sugar. Your server dexterously pours the hot tea from an ornate silver pot into tiny, colorfully patterned glass cups.
But it’s the belly dancing performance that’s the real draw at The Sultan’s Tent. After dinner, the house lights dim, hypnotic music begins flowing through the restaurant, and a dark-haired woman appears with undulating hips in a jewel-encrusted costume. Silk veil in hand, the colourful dancer weaves her way around the restaurant’s tables and tented nooks, the clinking of her jewels punctuating each movement. Rich Moroccan food, an exotic setting, and beautiful belly dancing — and you didn’t even have to leave Toronto.