Don’t let the sign over the door, which modestly promises “Argana American Mediterranean Subs,” fool you. Sure, the menu at this little counter service eatery delivers on that promise with a list that includes everything from Philly cheesesteak to chicken shawarma on pita. But sandwiches account for just a fraction of the offering at Argana, which opened recently in a strip center across the street from Maynard Crossing.
The first thing that catches your eye when you step inside is a deli case filled with a colorful assortment of salads and other delicacies. Exotic names such as z’alouk (roasted eggplant) and koushary (a spicy salad of lentils, macaroni and roasted onion) are clues that many of these are native Moroccan specialties of the restaurant’s congenial husband-and-wife owners, Morrision & Fatima Gourche.
The offering also includes the famous the savory Moroccan pastry bastilla, as well as a selection of hot entrees including kebabs (all meats are halal), lemon- and herb-marinated rotisserie chicken, and couscous. The eclectic menu makes frequent excursions to other Mediterranean shores (salade niçoise, lasagna) and beyond (Indian style chicken curry). Moroccan mint tea is a fragrant companion to the meal, which concludes with dessert options such as basbousa (semolina cake soaked in syrup and covered with chopped pistachios) and walnut baklava.
Argana (1246 NW Maynard Road, Cary; 919-468-3073) is open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Reach him at email@example.com.