After living in the East Village for nigh twenty years, my opinion is that the Heart is the corner of 7th st. and Avenue A and the Aorta is St. Marks Place (8th St.). Nestled on the northern side of St. Markes between Avenue A & 1st is Cafe Mogador; a restaurant we patronized about two times a week between 1993 and 2010.
One of the first Moroccan restaurants in all of NY, Mogadar opened in 1983 and has seen steady clientele ever since. This is not surprising given their combination of wonderful location, modest relaxing decor, easy-going atmosphere, attentive yet relaxed staff, and, most importantly, absolutely delicious fare. The restaurant recently underwent an expansion, but kept on are the old photographs of Moroccan natives and the sidewalk dining, excellent on sunny days.
Saturdays and Sundays are home to one of the steadiest brunches in town, full without the stresses of many of the more trendy spots, though sometimes the wait can be a bit long. The weekday breakfast specials, in true East Village fashion, are served until 4:00pm. They are a delicious collection of mostly organic ingredients and with a slightly different variety than your average cafe.
All of the specials feature perfectly poached and organic eggs accompanied by orange juice and a well made illy coffee or a soothing and classic Moroccan mint tea, served in a traditional silver pot with glasses. Moroccan Eggs: poached, with spicy tomato sauce, Middle Eastern Eggs: poached with hummus, tabouli, salad, and za’atar pita or Halumi Eggs: poached, with roasted tomato, halloumi cheese, olives, salad, and za’atar pita.
The weekday lunch specials are a mouthwatering as well, our favorites being the Roasted Eggplant Pita featuring tomato, boiled egg, tahini & parsley, and the Grilled Hanger Steak sandwich accompanied by lettuce, tomato, roasted onion, horseradish mayonnaise on semolina. An inside joke is the daily board special: the fragrant tomato-ginger soup has been on special for about 7 years now!
The Moroccan Tagines are airy, smooth, and full of flavor, available in five different options. The menu also includes grilled meats, a variety of salads, and middle eastern plates. The mezzes are the perfect companion for just about any meal at any tie of the day.
A true delicacy is the Bastilla – a classic of Moroccan cuisine that consists of filo pastry layers (similar to puff pastry) filled with shredded chicken, lemon-flavored eggs, almonds & cinnamon. And to put a bit of spice on everything is the homemade Harissa; a spicy paste condiment made with hot peppers, garlic, olive oil, and middle-eastern spices.
Cafe Mogador is a true part of New York City life. Thank you for all the great meals and memories!
(1) 212 – 677 2226
Main Location 101 Saint Marks Pl (between 1st Av. & Av A)
New York, NY 10009-5146
Noon – Midnight Everyday