My years as a professional restaurant critic have made me a very picky eater, which may be why my wife and I don’t eat out nearly as often as we used to. Too often, the new restaurants we try are overhyped, overcrowded, overpriced and too damn noisy.
Ziadi’s Mediterranean Cuisine is none of the above. It has gotten very little press, which may be one reason that few people seem to know about it. It doesn’t help any that it’s hidden away inside the Midtown Global Market in the former Rabbit Hole space, invisible from the street. This year’s brutal winter seems to have kept a lot of people away who otherwise might rush out to try a new restaurant. So decibel levels are low. And prices are a steal.
Hassan Ziadi, a native of Morocco, has worked at A-list restaurants in the Twin Cities – including Aquavit, Vincent and the old Loring Cafe, and at top restaurants around the world, including as executive chef at a five-star hotel restaurant in Doha, where he met his wife, Raja Samiali. Together, Ziadi and Samiali have been operating the popular Moroccan Flavors stall in the Midtown Global Market for the last couple of years.
Their new venture offers some similar dishes in a fine dining setting, with an eclectic mix of Moroccan specialties and dishes from around the Mediterranean. The decor, created by interior designer Karen Severson, is striking, with motifs and hand-made furnishings that evoke Ziadi’s native Morocco.