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Jul 9, 2007 04:12 PM

Inexpensive Moroccan in LA (westside preferred)

I've read some posts about Chameau and Tagine, but I was hoping for a less expensive Moroccan restaurant, hopefully somewhere near the westside of LA. I'm thinking of the little tagine places I enjoyed in Paris, that didn't break the bank, but just made good, solid food (not fancy either).

Any thoughts?

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  1. Not on the west side, but not too terribly far away. What you want is Simon's Cafe in Sherman Oaks.

    Simon's Cafe
    4515 Sepulveda Blvd.
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    818 783-6698

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      I'll toss in my vote for Simon's, too. I've had nothing but outstanding meals there. And Simon is quite friendly and personable. The tagines are good, as is the Merguez sausage. And he home-makes the iced tea.

      1. re: lil mikey

        Does the COus COus Royake at Simon's have nuts?

        1. re: Diana

          I've had the Couscous Royale, and it's delicious. But I don't remember if it had nuts. I don't think so, but you should ask before ordering if that's a concern.

    2. Have you been to Koutoubia?

      1. Try Moun of Tunis in Hollywood.

        Also, I second Simon's.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Diana

          Isn't Moun of Tunis technically Tunisian, not Moroccan?

          1. re: Woolsey

            Tunisia and Morocco are both on the Northwestern Extreme of Africa- the "Maghreb".

            Due to climeate, terrain,history, and socio-economics, the food of both are amazingly similar.

            Fresh salads, dips, bstillas, cous cous, lamb, fish, breads and so on. Both serve the int tea poured from high.

            1. re: Diana

              My vote goes to Moun of Tunis. You can ask for a private room just for the heck of it. Ya just don't see that everywhere.

              1. re: Diana

                there are some similarities in their foods, but be aware that there are quite a few differences as well - Tunisian food is typically much spicier/hotter , and the tajines are quite different - Tunisian tajines are made with egg (i've never had a tunisian-style tajine, but i've heard them compared to quiches)

                1. re: patz

                  I completely agree. Having lived in Morocco, I can say that the cuisines are definitely different. There are many Tunisian restaurants in Morocco serving a variety of dishes that are distinctly different from the usual Moroccan fare. Seafood is much more prevalent in Tunisia and is often the main source of protein as opposed to the beef and lamb that is common in Morocco. The spice blends differ too, with Tunisian food being much spicier than the usually mild Moroccan dishes.

                  I've never eaten at Moun of Tunis so I'm not sure if their dishes are authentically Tunisian or more Moroccan in flavor. That may well be the case.

                  1. re: hrhboo

                    i moved back from morocco in april, and have yet to find a restaurant comparable to those in morocco (especially when it comes to the price) - have you found any good places in la?

                    1. re: patz

                      I can't help with the price factor, most Moroccan restaurants in LA are on the more expensive side. Of the ones I've tried, Dar Maghreb complete with ultra-cheesy flair comes closest in terms of cuisine, surprisingly.

                      It's the street food I miss the most but I'm aware that's it's unreasonable to expect a Moroccan sandwich vendor to set up shop in Los Angeles!

                      1. re: hrhboo

                        I have zero authority on the matter, but I've eaten at both Dar Maghreb & Moun of Tunis. They are very different from each other in oh so many ways, but I enjoyed both of them.

                        I'll have to check out Simon's.

                      2. re: patz

                        do you really expect to find 3rd world prices in los angeles? esp when there isn't a large community of emigrants from Morocco? (outside of the jewish community)

                        what price do you think reasonable and what are the prices that you've found at places that are close to acceptable?
                        and what places have you liked OK?

                        1. re: Jerome

                          um, i never said i was looking for 3rd world prices in los angeles. i'm not expecting to pay $2 for a meal like i did in morocco (just like i'm not expecting to pay $200/mo for a huge apartment in the middle of town), but most places i've seen in la are more than i can afford for my average meal ($30 for some soup and couscous at marrakesh in costa mesa?) - this is, in my opinion, not an "inexpensive" restaurant like the poster asked for. my concept of inexpensive may be different than yours, but i'm a grad student, and this doesn't fit my definition. granted, these prices are probably because of cheesy entertainment like belly dancers, which i can do without here and abroad, but every moroccan restaurant i've looked at since i moved back has turned me off because of its "entertainment" and high prices

                          1. re: patz

                            Have you tried the place that was recommended in the start of this thread? Simon's Cafe. From your description of the type of place you are seeking it is probably your best bet in Los Angeles.

                            Simon's Cafe
                            4515 Sepulveda Blvd.
                            Sherman Oaks, CA
                            818 783-6698


                            1. re: Servorg

                              i just looked at the link, it sounds right up my alley, i'll have to check it out. thanks!

                            2. re: patz

                              I can't recommend BBC in beverly hills as I've never been, but here's a link to an LA Times review - prices are grad student friendly
                              looking at the menu it's about 25-30% moroccan food, the community supporting it isn't all that moroccan

                              and here is a link to the Moun of Tunis (yes but it's maghribi) menu with prices
                              yes it's at its cheapest about 16-18 for a full meal in a sit down restaurant. it's not partcularly elegant. But $28 gets you a huge meal, one i can never finish - five courses. the bbc will be closer to a possible budget as would finding a store with maghribi ingredients and using a cookbook (elat market is iranian on pico but they may carry some moroccan ingredients, and may be able to direct you to a market that would be more helpful - as would othere here).

                              In any case, good luck, and here's hoping you find a wonderful inexpensive place on your own and post about it here so we can all enjoy it.

              2. Simon's looks good... and looks cheaper than Koutoubia (which looks great, and is closer to me, but their menu's a little more than I want to spend). Moun of Tunis looks to have a good-priced menu... and trusting chowhounds, I'll hope it's good too. Thanks for the ideas!

                4 Replies
                1. re: hhewitt

                  you're doing yourself a favor by skipping koutoubia. it's the schtick of it, not the food there that is alluring.

                  1. re: woofer

                    Wow.. I know this is late, but I finally got to Simon's Cafe... and it was delicious!

                    Prices were a little higher than I thought they would be. It was just my table, and one other, for dinner on a Friday night. Very quiet - Simon served us. Had the Couscous Royale (excellent housemade merguez) and the Lamb Tagine (sweet, and fall-apart good). Both were exactly what I was looking for, although the chocolate mousse for dessert wasn't very good (just OK). Falafel for an appetizer were crispy outside, soft inside, and yummy. All-in-all, it was what I was looking for. Thanks for the recommendation!

                  2. re: hhewitt

                    Is Simon's, or are any Moroccan places in LA, halal?
                    I went to a place in Studio City (Marrakesh?) and my Moroccan friend could barely eat anything. The food was so expensive but not halal except for the lamb I think. Not that she was missing much, but still. What a pity.

                    1. re: CookieEater

                      moun of tunis claims to be halal - or so they told me. call and check.