Aziza is a one Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco’s sleepy Richmond district run by executive chef Mourad Lahlou. They focus on organic, local, and sustainable ingredients. His modern reinventions of traditional Moroccan dishes has garnered him much acclaim. Pastry chef Melissa Chou is also legendary.
Why did we dine here? – Our last visit was approximately 5+ years ago. Time to refresh our taste buds.
Summary – Aziza serves up a unique combination of new American – Moroccan influenced food in an upscale environment.
Insider Tip – If you are on a budget, try their excellent cocktails and a couple small plates.
Cuisine – Modern Moroccan
Chef – Mourad Lahlou
Location – San Francisco’s Richmond district
Opened – 2001
Decor, Vibe – Aziza has an interesting interior with orange/red colored walls, interesting inverted lamps, exotic music, and a pretty loud crowd. Diners were well dressed folks in their 30’s to 50’s with most being couples.
Aziza’s Menu includes a $95 tasting menu as well as 11 starters and 7 entrees. The menu changes all the time. The entire table needs to get the tasting menu, so we decided to order a la carte.
Signature Dishes – brassicas, squab, lamb shank
Full Aziza image set
Aziza Food Picks:
Tarragon cocktail ($10) was an exotic combination that worked well. Strong and slightly sweet.
Mojito ($8) showed that they can make well balanced drinks. Strong and excellent flavor.
lentil soup – medjool date, celery, parsley ($8) was poured table side. Rich, fresh, a small kick, simply excellent.
spreads – chickpea, yogurt-dill, sweet piquillo pepper-almond, flatbread ($11) was also an excellent starter. Be sure to order some extra flatbread.
duck confit basteeya – raisin, almond ($22) took forever to arrive. It was worth the wait! Piping hot out of the oven. Carved table side, slightly sweet, rich crust, and tender duck.
green farro – scallop, himalayan truffle, carrot ($22) was an interesting saucy dish with lots of finely chopped ingredients. Rich, unique textures, excellent flavors, but could have used a little more scallops.
squab – huckleberry, sweet potato, horseradish ($29) proved to be a beautiful dish with a large chunk of very rare meat. Some other pieces of the squab were on the side arranged tastefully with the potatoes.
lamb shank – barley, prune, saffron ($26) was clearly cooked for a long time, with its very tender meat. It could have used a little more flavor, although the accompanying items rounded out the dish well.
lavender panna cotta – malted vanilla ice cream, walnut cake, rye ($10) was excellent. A unique egg based panna cotta, that is clearly one of their signature dishes.
Complimentary Mignardises – fruit gelee, peanut butter cream, chocolate nut candy.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
guava sorbet – kiwi granita, coconut, peanut ($10) was a bit too tart and overly rich.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Service – Aziza had a friendly waiter who helped us navigate the menu quickly. He could have been present a little bit more, but did his best.
Value – Aziza is priced in line with other fine dining establishments. You won’t find many out here in the Richmond District though.
Alternatives – Restaurants similar to Aziza are few and far between, making this place unique.
Verdict – Aziza serves up very good inventive cuisine in a nice atmosphere. A nice change from all the similar food you find all over the place.