Restaurant Of The Week: Dar Hatim, Fes

Whenever you travel, you should always strive to score an invitation to dine at the home of a local family. If your social skills are lacking, however, don’t fret: you can still get lucky if you book a table at Dar Hatim, a lovely little gem set in the ground floor of the Bouaa family home.

Restaurant-Dar-Hatim.jpgFouad will pick you up at your riad and guide you there himself, chatting with you about his life in the medina all the way, and telling you about his wife and kids. He’s such a humble man that you’ll show up at his door expecting simple digs — but you’ll be wrong. Their abode is an ornately appointed house with an elaborate painted-wood ceiling and fully tiled walls adorned with faded tapestries — all the woodwork and tables are by Fouad’s brother, making this a true family affair. This building has housed the Bouaa family for three generations, and they’ll welcome you in warmly as though you’ve belonged there all along.

Fouad’s wife, Kirema, mans the kitchen with her mother-in-law, and will come and explain the simple three-course menu. You’ll start with an elaborate selection of fried aubergine, lentils, beans, potatoes, carrots, and more; pick from turkey skewers, steamed lamb, vegetable couscous, or chicken pastilla (Kirema’s specialty, she told us, beaming) for your main entrée; then end with a simple fruit salad and mint tea. Everything is delicious, and all the more so when served with so much joy and pride.

Before you leave, don’t be shy about asking Fouad for a look around his lovely home bedecked with family heirlooms — after all, this may be your only shot to avail of true Moroccan hospitality. Be sure to say hi to his son Hatim — for whom the eatery is named — on your way out.

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