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Moroccan Food in SF

I recently had Moroccan food at Guest Chef - it was really good, and now I am craving. Anyone have a rec in SF? I searched, but got a bunch of non-relevant returns.

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    1. From all reports, Aziza has dialed the Moroccan influences pretty far back. I think this is the most recent topic on traditional Moroccan:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/700736

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Ate at Aziza last night, and remembered l had to reply to this post of yours. What a difference 18 months can make. There was almost no hint of Moroccan flavors in anything. Every dish was so 'precious' as before was so lusty, even the stellar speads were fussed up, so disappointed. Place was packed so they don't need me, but no return here.

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          How disappointing! I can still remember the amazing, giant dishes of a decade ago and long for those Aziza days...

      2. Sure, go to Aziza. But make sure you have a full stomach when you arrive. On our last visit, the entrées had about 30% less food on the plate than on our previous visits, no more than six or seven small bites of food per entree. The service was excellent, and the food was delicious, but the servings were tiny, and our party of four was still hungry when we left. Our party of four split two very small appetizers, we each had an entree, and we shared three tiny desserts. We also had five cocktails among us.
        The bill was over $250. with tax, and as I said we left hungry, and this just isn't fair. We won't be going back.

        5 Replies
        1. re: bbqman

          weird, I was there two weeks ago and we had six smaller dishes for the two of us (4 vegetarian and two meat) with a total bill of around 100 and we were very stuffed. I was suprised the basteeya is placed in the smaller plates as even though it's not huge, with the rich duck confit filing I can't imagine a single person eating a larger portion. If anything it felt like we had too much food with the only thing small being on the tiny side was the pumpkin and chocolate dish.

          I wouldn't call the portions tiny unless you are used to 18 ounce steaks being one serving. I found the portions to be the size you would expect at a fine dining restuarant.

          The dessert was so good and just the right size.

          1. re: bbqman

            Aziza has not been intended to be the traditional 3-course-and-out restaurant in a long time now, at least three years and counting. It's best to get a goodly # of starters - we generally get 1/pp. As tjinsf says the bastilla is the most substantial starter, just as the couscous and the lamb shank are the most substantial entrees.

            Their entrees have always been moderately sized. For the quality of the food it is more than adequate. If you want to see really small, go to Commis and pay $75/pp for 7 mouthfuls of food - THAT was small!

            For big and cheap, go to any of the other Moroccan restaurants in SF. We have been to every one of them, and they are almost identical to one another. Aziza is high-end fusion, and it's as good as any place in the 5-star class. It is way, way above every other Moroccan restaurateur's menu, and bears virtually no resemblance to the others. I would describe it as the Fifth Floor equivalent with Moroccan influences; the portions are pretty much equally sized.

            I think Zitouna (stanbee has the right restaurant, wrong spelling) makes the best bastilla for the price, hands-down. But street parking is a bear in that neighborhood and the place has the atmosphere of a closet. It is barebones and doesn't pretend to be anything else.

            It holds down the low end, Aziza holds down the high-end. If you want the usual US Moroccan restaurant menu (meat heavy, few salads), my spouse was very fond of El Mansour. Parking's never super-easy in the middle-Richmond, but it's always easier than Polk St., especially at night when the golfers and Legion of Honor visitors leave.

            Café Zitouna
            1201 Sutter St. @Polk, SF

            El Mansour
            3119 Clement St
            San Francisco, CA 94121

            1. re: jaiko

              The tasting menu has post-Michelin-star doubled in price ($49 to $99) and number of courses (5 to 10).

              It had previously changed a lot from when it first opened and had belly dancers, loud music, and more traditional Moroccan food.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                the tasting menu now has 13 courses. If I wasn't with a pescatarian I would have gotten it. It looked amazing.

                1. re: tjinsf

                  Even with a price increase the tasting menu is worth it. An amazing amount of food, beautifully prepared. The couscous is amazing. No wonder Lahlou's recipe for it (in his cookbook) takes 10 hrs! No resemblance to any couscous we've ever had before.

                  And we loooooove Melissa Chou's desserts. Brilliant pastry chef, as good as Shuna Lydon.

          2. Aziza is more Moroccan inspired than Moroccan. I was there two weeks ago and the current menu only had a couple of Moroccan dishes in it and for the rest Moroccan spices and ingredients were present but the technique, plating and style is all modernist.

            2 Replies
            1. re: tjinsf

              True about only Morocco inspired.

              You might try Cafe Tsitouna at Sutter & Polk for the down home Tunisian food which has many similarities to Morrocan. But, don't expect any fruit in the tagines. Not a Tunisian custom.

            2. El Mansour is probably the best place for hearty, traditional Moroccan these days. Avoid Marrakech at all costs.

              Does anyone know the status of Cafe Tajine these days? It seems to open and close and move every few years to the point where I can't keep track of its current iteration, if any...

              1 Reply
              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Tajine is gone for good. Which is a shame because the Polk Street location, where Mohammed was for ~a year, seemed like a good one.

              2. maybe Aicha on Polk. Serves Moroccan food but the Tunisian food at Cafe Zitouna down the street @ Sutter has some similarities and is more flavorful than Aicha's cooking. Tunisians don't like fruit in the Tagines if that was what you were looking forward to.

                Favorite dishes: the very strongly flavored Chicken with olives, Lamb Tagine, spicy Chicken Kebabs as sandwich (w/o the Swiss cheese for me) or platter, the Basboussa cake, homemade Merguez, Brik (deepfried pastry with tuna and soft cookedegg. Maybe the Bastilla for lovers of sweet and savory.

                There were often Morroccan inspired Tagines at Insalata in San Anselmo. Call.