A taste of morocco
Zesty Moroccan restaurant bowls over diners with newest location now open in Upper Kirby
Houston’s fast casual Moroccan restaurant has opened its newest location. Zoa Moroccan Kitchenis now open in Upper Kirby.
The new Zoa joins sister concept Coco Crepes & Coffee in the former Velvet Melvin space at 3303 Richmond Ave. Bella Restaurants chef and CEO Youssef Nafaa developed Zoa based on his mother’s recipes from his childhood growing up in Morocco. The concept has been successful, growing to three locations and ranking sixth on Yelp’s list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in Texas 2023.
The fast-casual restaurant offers diners a mix of Moroccan flavors in the form of bowls or sandwiches. Diners can opt to assemble their own, Chipotle style, or go for a preset mix of ingredients such as the Casablanca (lamb, taktouka, vegetables, garlic aioli) and the Marrakesh (beef tagine, vegetables, green harissa).
Zoa’s seven proteins, which include beef, chicken, and lamb, are all halal. They’re paired with 21 toppings, including roasted root vegetables, confit onions, feta cheese, and cucumber-tomato salad. To finish, diners may opt for any of nine sauces such as harissa, mint-avocado yogurt, or garlic aioli.
Bowls start with a base of couscous, saffron-jasmine rice, lentils, or mixed greens. Sandwiches utilize scratch-made Fatima bread, which is named for Nafaa’s mother.
The 20-seat restaurant features Moroccan-inspired design elements such as lanterns and patterned tiles, a mural wall, and a patio that looks out onto Richmond. It’s open daily from 10:30 am until 10 pm.
Zoa will celebrate its grand opening this Thursday, August 24. The first 100 customers will receive either one of 90 gift cards for a free bowl or one of 10 for a free meal prep package valued at $39. In addition, all customers will receive a free bowl from 5-7 pm.
“We are so excited to open the third Houston-area location of Zoa Moroccan Kitchen,” Nafaa said in a statement. “In traditional Moroccan households like the one I grew up in, small dishes are served and passed along the table around one main course. At Zoa, the traditional table is in your bowl or sandwich. It’s a modern Moroccan dining adventure.”