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Capitol Hill Has a New Moroccan Hot Spot From the Owner of Flavio

Mekki DC serves couscous, braised lamb shanks, and savory filo pies

Belly dancers at Mekki’s grand opening party
Belly dancers at Mekki’s grand opening party
Mekki/official photo

A sometimes-sleepy section of Capitol Hill recently welcomed a lively new venue for Moroccan meatballs, couscous, savory filo pies, and lamb tagine in sweet date sauce.

Moroccan-born entrepreneur Mekki Karrakchou, who owns Italian favorite Flavio in Georgetown, opened Mekki DC (517 8th Street SE) to bring his mother’s organic and halal recipes to Barracks Row. Karrakchou opened a Mekki NYC in Greenwich Village in spring 2018, then closed it later this year. Small plates like zaalouk, a braised eggplant salad, and kefta — Moroccan meatballs with tomato sauce and egg — are now available in D.C.

Weekend brunch (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) includes sangria, eggplant Benedict, baghrir (Moroccan pancakes) with honey butter and strawberries, and steak and eggs with charmoula sauce.

A lamb shank from Mekki
A lamb shank from Mekki
Mekki [official]
A plate of Chicken Hafida from Mekki
A plate of Chicken Hafida from Mekki
Mekki [official]
Moroccan meatballs and briwate puffed pastries made with Moroccan filo and stuffed with shrimp, veggies, or cheese.
Mekki/official photo
Milk pastilla — dubbed “Moroccan dessert nachos” — comes with puffed filo, crème on glaze, roasted pistachio, and powdered sugar.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

The narrow, rectangular space that recently housed Las Placitas now mimics a Moroccan alleyway where glowing metal lanterns and green vines decorate white brick walls. Karrakchou, whose background includes fashion and cosmetics, mimics Marrakesh with flourishes like an ultramarine blue logo, ornate pillows, and a wall covered in red fez hats near the entrance.

There’s also plenty of wine behind the bar from La Ferme Rouge — a long-running Moroccan vineyard owned by Karrakchou’s family.

Karrakchou says he made the decision to relocate Mekki to bring more Moroccan options in D.C. Mike Isabella’s now-defunct Arroz played up Moroccan flavors upon opening in 2017. Newcomer CR Noma sells the same Israeli meatballs that owner Oded Weizmann’s Moroccan parents used to make.

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