Only in San Francisco would you find a Moroccan restaurant that touts the sustainable pedigree of its ingredients: the lamb and beef (grass-fed, of course), the poultry, and most of the vegetables come from small farms in the immediate area (like Green Gulch Farm, run by the Zen Center in Marin County). When it opened in 2001, chef/owner Mourad Lahlou stuck to the traditional dishes and presentations; there was even a belly dancer. Since then, he’s replaced the “entertainment” with a more adventurous menu, including a creamy sunchoke soup with truffles, and braised lamb shank with Earl Grey-infused prunes and cranberry barley. The restaurant itself is still oddly cavelike, with white stucco walls, a midnight-blue ceiling, and arcaded alcoves, but those alcoves are now hung with arty black-and-white photos and the belly dancer is long gone.
Tip: The lighting is low, but the decibels are high—if you prefer a hushed atmosphere, look elsewhere.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
Chef Paul Jean Azema’s bistro adds an idiosyncratic touch to the Buenos Aires restaurant scene, thanks to its menu of hard-to-find dishes from the Indian Ocean’s French colonies. The wine list emphasizes fresh whites (Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc) to go with the spicy food. In the dining room, a North African design scheme mixes with quirky objects like antique guns.
We loved: Jumbo-shrimp curry with L’Ille Bourbon spices.