Restaurant Review: Amanouz Café

Sarah Robbins ’17
Contributing Writer

From the outside, the Amanouz Café looks sweet and unobtrusive. Located at 44 Main Street, the Moroccan-themed restaurant sports a little blue and white awning jutting out onto the sidewalk and attracting customers. It’s not very large compared to some of the other well-known Northampton joints, but its size affords it a comfortable, homey feel. They make good use of their space, with a couple of tables for two outside where people can sit for brunch. Upon walking inside, I immediately notice the white brick walls paired oddly with small, casual tables. The restaurant is narrow, but deep, creating a seemingly enclosed space.

At first my friends and I were unsure whether or not to sit, but it became quickly clear from the waiters behind the  counter that this restaurant is seat-yourself. For a place with original art and brightly colored ceramic plates lining the walls, the ordering process is strangely fast food-like. The tables are empty of menus, silverware or glasses, and by the counter at the back there are laminated menus and doughy desserts on Saran-Wrapped plates. The menu is also proudly displayed in colorful chalk on a blackboard above our heads, and the breakfast options are written on notecards taped to the wall on our right. While pretty, the setup seems redundant, as many of the meals are repeated on the chalkboard, notecards and menu.

Amanouz boasts a wide range of options, from an extensive choice of omelets in the mornings tosandwiches and salads for lunch and dinner. Most of the meals center around lamb, beef,or vegetables in pita bread and lavash.

I ordered a lamb shish kebab, my friend Sidney ordered a simple lamb and beef shawarma, and my friend Kelsey had the falafel. The price range is affordable, with most meals being under or around ten dollars. I also ordered a Moroccan coffee, called Nas Nas, which I discovered was basically a smooth, bitter cappuccino. We paid upfront and there was no tip included in the price.

Our food came less than ten minutes later, all wrapped in tinfoil as if we had ordered take-out and placed neatly on plain white plates. I’m not sure why our meals came prepackaged, and unfortunately the food had a slight, metallic taste from the tinfoil. The wraps were so full with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and tahini sauce that Sidney and Kelsey had to convert them into salads that they ate with forks and knives. Our wraps were surrounded with lavash, a kind of gooey, floury dough that split easily between our fingers and went well with the lightly spiced filling. My lamb was juicy but a bit tough, and the crisp falafel was a bright Crayola green on the inside, just like you would see in Israel.

As it got darker, the lights dimmed and Moroccan music played overhead. Half-full during the day, the place filled up with chattering families for dinner. While not especially eye-opening, the food is definitely worth the price. I would recommend the Amanouz Café to anyone looking for warm, filling comfort food on a cold day.

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