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After years of eating my Scottish father's not quite authentic (though admitedly delicious) Moroccan tagine, I decided it was high time to check out a Morrocan restaurant for myself.

That was about three years ago. Ever since, I have been addicted to the rich and spicy flavors of Moroccan cuisine. This addiction resulted in a short trek down to 2nd and South streets to check out Fez, a little Morrocan enclave in downtown Philadelphia.

Like so many of the restaurants in the area, Fez is easy to miss due to its unassuming facade. But once inside, you are hit by a wave of atmospheric quaintness. The walls, ceiling and floor are all adorned with rugs and hanging lamps. Also serving as a hookah bar, there is a lingering smell of flavored smoke in the air, adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the overall experience.

After we were settled in lush, cushiony seats around a knee-high table, the waiter arrived with a basin and what closely resembled a tea pot . He poured warm water over our hands and walked away. This is, of course, completely logical in a restaurant where you eat with your hands. It will always be one of my favorite parts of dining in a Moroccan restaurant.

The house specialty at Fez is the Fez Feast, an eight-course meal that comes with a free hookah. For $25, you get everything from salads and couscous to chicken and shish kabobs. The feast, which can also be adapted for vegetarians, ends with fresh fruit, mint tea and Moroccan pastries.

Not quite feeling up to such an extravagant meal, we decided to order a-la-carte.

Their appetizers include a variety of salads, pastries and harira soup and range in price from $4 to $8.50. I decided on the carrot salad, which we ate using bread as utensils. In a mild but sweet sauce, the carrot made for an excellent start to the meal, both light and sweet.

The main dishes are comprised mostly of couscous, tagines -- a Morrocan specialty - and meats, ranging from $12 to $16.

I ordered the Chicken Kabob, which came with a side of rice. I was almost disappointed that the dish came with a fork; I had been having so much fun eating with bread, something deemed unacceptable just about anywhere else in Philadelphia. Light and tasty, I recommend this simple dish to anyone, especially if you're looking for something that's not going to make you feel too full to move.

But if you're going to stop by Fez, make it a late night stop. We were able to enjoy everything but the belly dancing show, which began just as we left the restaurant around 8:30 p.m.

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