Moroccan restaurants/food have not done well in Houston in the past in my experience. Zoa is apparently upending that situation. The Bella Restaurant Group (local) opened the first of these in the Rice Military area, just south of Washington on Shepherd in March 2020. Less than a year and a half later they opened the second location in downtown Bellaire. I think they’ve been a big hit.
The food is based on Moroccan street food; the chef is a native of Morocco. The concept is fast casual with the service modeled after Chipotle Grill. The menu allows custom made bowls or ‘breads,’ - large pita sandwiches - from a large array of ingredients. Fortunately they also have several ‘Faves’ listed. I went for the Casablanca Bowl (yeah, probably their best selling model, I mean…)
Lamb meshwi (under everything, from 10 o’clock to 4 o’clock, probably a good 5 to 6 ounces), Tactouka @ 10 o’clock (see menu descriptions), cucumber tomato (@ 4 o’clock), white beans (along side the lamb on both sides of the bowl), and pickled red onion (and) cabbage on top, with garlic aioli.
Very tasty! Meat was perhaps a little over-done (some pieces). I finished the whole thing but only by taking only a few bites of the Fatima Bread, a very sturdy and durable (and slightly stale) pita.
This is not 5 star dining - it’s fast casual - but I was very pleased with what I got for the price and will be returning to try more. Of course, I always like to check out different cuisines in the market.
The Bellaire location, in a former Snap Kitchen as I recall - like an Automat with healthy food preparations to grab and go - has only 4 parking spaces in front but the closed Randall’s a half block away offers plenty of parking. There’s limited seating indoors but a patio right on Rice Ave. and 2 two-tops on the sidewalk in front.
I’m looking forward to the company expanding to more locations. I have a spot picked out on the southwest side