There’s this little storefront on Ashland Avenue in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood called Marrakech Cuisine. If you’re not looking for it you’d ignore it. And if you were looking for it you might even think it was the wrong place.

In the front you’ll find authentic Moroccan lamps, hand-made jewelry, wood carvings, boxes, and other imported curiosities. But the real treasure is in the sunken, dimly lit room in the back.

The first treasure is the owner. He’s a gentle, soft spoken man with a smile baked into his face. He sells you the lamps, he takes your order, he cooks your food, he serves your food, and he rings you up. He’s not quick, but there’s no reason to rush.

The second treasure is the food. The menu is simple and fairly priced. Everything I’ve tried is good — especially the Harrira, the Lentil Salad, and the Atlas Tajine. This is food made by someone who cares about what he cooks and what you eat. The ingredients are fresh, and the flavors are just right, and the portions are proper (read: not too big).

Finishing off the meal with some tea made from fresh mint leaves, rosewater, and the slightest touch of honey is highly recommended. It goes well with his homemade sticky Baklawa.

This place is such a great escape from the busy street and the fussy cuisine that’s popping up all over. You’ll never need a reservation. Don’t be alarmed if you’re the only one there. It’s guaranteed good food with a truly personal touch that seems rare these days.

I would have never walked in this place had someone not recommended it to me. That’s why I’m passing on my recommendation to you. Good eats.