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Zitune - Great Moroccan in Los Altos!

  • m

It's been years since Jocco's closed and left downtown Los Altos bereft of any really good restaurants. At long last, the drought is over. Zitune has opened at 325 Main St. near Second St. with a very tasty menu of Cal/Moroccan food.

We started with a shrimp and chorizo appetizer that had a killer sauce. For entrees we got a salmon tagine and lavender duck breast with couscous. Neither of us is expert at Moroccan cuisine, so I cannot give a more detailed description of the dishes. But all of them were both delicious and complex - but not overly complex or confused. The chef is Moroccan and previously worked at Gary Danko, and both influences come across here.

The wine list is small and well-chosen, and the wine by the glass list is phenomenal - extremely well selected choices from many varietals and locations. Our waiter's recommendations were spot on. I was vacilating between a Dashe Zinfandel and a Chateau Prieuré-Lichine with the duck breast, and he unhesitatingly recommened the latter - and what a good match it was! Only the dessert list disappointed, with nothing on it as exotic as the rest of the menu. I don't know Moroccan dessert cuisine, but since they advertise as Moroccan/Mediterranean, maybe they could look east a little and add om ali to the dessert list? We sure miss that since Sahari closed.

Zitune has been open for little more than a week, but there were no new restaurant snafus that we could see. The space is very pretty, and the background music is well chosen (I loved the song from Kid A) and not too loud. Currently they are open for dinner from 5 - 10 pm on Tuesday through Sunday.

While Zitune was busy on Saturday night, good new restaurants in Los Altos can always use a bit of help given the areas deserved reputation for being deserted at night. They accept reservations on Open Table, so check them out. Dinner was about $110 for two including tax and tip with two glasses of wine. Entrees are in the $20 range and appetizers in the low teens. The prices are perfectly reasonable given the quality of the food, wine, and overall experience.

Check it out! Let's keep a great restaurant going in Los Altos!

Michael

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  1. Lavandar duck breast sounds delicious. Thanks for the great report. Here's that link to opentable which has their website. Nothing on the website at this point except the address.
    http://www.opentable.com/rest_profile...

    1. I thought Los Altos had a zoning law prohibiting good restaurants.

      1. Delicious meal! I enjoyed everything - the food, service, and wine. Dessert was simple and tasty..the perfect end to a fabulous meal. Will defintely come again and highly recommend to all my friends

        1. Three of us had a memorable meal at Zitune last night. I'm a huge Aziza fan and loyalist, but last night's feast persuaded me to reconsider my allegiance (of course I still like Aziza...).

          While the appetizers were terrific, the highlight of our meal was the meat: the steak, duck, and lamb were tender, succulent, and forces to be reckoned with. The sauces too were delicious. The couscous was perfectly cooked.

          My only quip is that the desserts weren't on par with the rest of the meal. On the other hand, they were simple and quite good--just somewhat of a let-down in comparison to the other dishes, which quite honestly rocked the palette.

          Drinks, decor, and service were great. I'm curious to hear others' impressions. I sense that this restaurant will get more accolades.

          1. Our second visit to Zitune was another winner. Here the appetizers stood out: wonderful sumac lamb meatballs, a delicious butternut squash soup with apple compote. So did the dessert: a pomegranate panna cotta that was highly touted on our first visit but which we didn't have room for then. The tout was deserved. The wine by the glass matches were once again outstanding, including a glass of Far Niente Dolce with the panna cotta - heaven indeed!

            Our quail and game hen entrees were good, but not as remarkable as the duck and salmon from last time. I saw lots of lamb shank entrees going by that looked outstanding, so I think that will be my choice next time. The service which was excellent last time was not so good this time. Apparently they opened up the back room and have some new hires, and the new place wrinkles missing last time showed up this time. No doubt this will get fixed in time with everything else so good.

            Thank you Zitune for bringing exciting dining back to downtown Los Altos!

            Michael

            3 Replies
            1. re: mdg

              We've been back to Zitune with guests twice over the past few months - this is one of our main go-to places for great food in a place where you can talk. Service was OK the third visit and back to greatness on the fourth. We were in the back room on the third visit; I am glad I tried it but prefer the ambiance and energy of the main room.

              On our last visit this past weekend, the lamb shank and salmon tagines were as great as ever. We dived deeper into the fish and seafood part of the menu and were rewarded with wonderful monk fish and scallop dishes. The mushroom soup is new to the menu and very tasty. Also new are - hooray! - three new Moroccan desserts, so that the dessert menu is now as interesting as the rest. We were desserted out from the previous day (chocolate truffle cake from Sugar Butter Flour - oh my goodness) so we passed, but we definitely plan to try them on a future visit.

              Zitune continues to be the best thing to happen to Los Altos since they paved the streets.

              Michael

              1. re: mdg

                How does it compare to other local (OK semi-local) places with similar cuisine? Like Dish Dash in Sunnyvale or Meze (?) in Mountain View?

                I just realized that I haven't been in Los Altos since my kid stopped playing in the Festival of LIghts parade. And that was 3 years ago! There really is no there there!

                1. re: 512window

                  I don't think Moroccan is all that similar to the Middle Eastern cuisine at Dishdash or Mazeh. I can't think offhand of any dishes that are shared between Zitune and Dishdash's menus, and we are regulars at both places. Zitune is also higher-end than either Dishdash or Mazeh, with all that implies for price, presentation, complexity of cuisine, and atmosphere. The chef used to work at Gary Danko, and it shows.