The surprise of a souk-like atmosphere greets you as you turn the corner into this apparently quiet side street. Renowned as an incredibly hip, hot, richly, deeply sexy, and darkly sumptuous, late-night North African restaurant experience, this dim Ali Baba's Den is replete with gold tables, lanterns and trinkets, low-down cushions and Arabic music infusing the aromatic air. Ambiance and looks are certainly the main draw, and it's a place for the city's young crowds to be seen (and packed) in. Abdallah El Rgachi is in the kitchen, designing dishes like grilled stuffed sardines with lemon, traditional Moroccan pastilla and tasty, tender tagines, with cous cous as light as snow for the chic Momo populace, belying rumors that the standard of cuisine is relegated to second place here. House wines include an Algerian Red. The members-only bar in the basement remains ultra-exclusive, but do try the sister salad bar, tea room and bazaar next door (number 23) for a relaxing mint tea break amid the arty arrangement of North African artifacts.

Location:  25 Heddon Street

Business hours:  Mo-Sa 12:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m., Mo-Sa 6:30 p.m.-1:00 a.m., Su-Sa 6:30 p.m.-1:00 a.m.