Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Who knew Moroccan food could be so incredibly good?

For a long time I have been wanting to go the restaurant, Aziza, in the Richmond District of San Francisco. A while back the SF Chronicle did a huge review on the place and I was sold. I wanted to go the restaurant that "modernized Moraccan cuisine."

Upon return from my Central American trip, Mike took me on a romantic date to Aziza. Oh my good lord, was the food out of this world! It was so so so delicious. For an appetizer we shared the wild mushrooms in phylo. They just melted in your mouth. The earthy flavors of the shitake and oyster mushrooms combined with the creamy manouri cheese and flaky phylo were sublime. Then for my entree I ordered the yellowfin tuna, seared rare (and caught on a longline, not in a net) with a fennel seed crust and a roasted tahini, tunisian salad, and eggplant stack in the middle of the dish. The tuna was perfectly cooked (or not as rare tuna is supposed to be). The compliments to the fish were just as they were meant to be, delightful compliments. My mouth waters just thinking about that dish. Mike had the couscous aziza with grilled chicken, prawns, spicy lamb sausage, and stewed lamb. Each protein was cooked and seasoned perfectly. The coucous and vegetable medley were quite tasty piled on a fork with a piece of meat. For dessert we ordered the pistachio cake which was served with bruléed champagne sabayon and moscato d'asti poached dried apricots on the side. A perfect ending to a perfect meal. There were so many non-chocolate desserts that I desired as well! That never happens as I am not too crazy about chocolate.
The ambiance at Aziza is warm and inviting. Elegant, but not pretentious. Its decoration is tastefully Moroccan-themed. Vibrant colors fill each room. Each table has privacy. The volume of the restaurant is low and intimate. It is a good place for both large and small parties. The service is friendly and helpful. They are attentive, but do not disturb your privacy. As a special touch, they offer you a splash of rosewater after your meal to refresh you.
One more thing worth mentioning. The Drinks Menu, I venture to say, is the best and most creative I have seen in San Francisco. This lengthy list of cocktails is very well considered. The combinations are incredibly tasty. The waitstaff also does a nice job recommending parings with the entrees. Sometime I would just like to go to Aziza for cocktails and appetizers.
Their tasting menu is reasonable. I believe it is about $50 for five courses and when the waitress told us what was on the tasting menu it seemed more like seven courses.
It is also a Slow Foods recognized restaurant which always wins stars in my book. They use organic and local ingredients and cook their foods with love and you can tell. Aziza is an exceptional restaurant that is worth a visit by anyone who enjoys international cuisines.

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