Moroccan in SF?

I was going to try Mogador Moroccan Bistro near the 101 offramp to Van Ness but they don’t open for weekend dinner. Has anyone been? Same question for Khamsa. Anyone tried?

Separately, I saw a review for Berber the supper club even though their website says they are ‘opening soon’. Does anyone know if they are open?

Wanted to eat some Moroccan at some point in the city if its worth a meal. Mourad’s family meal crossed my mind but i am not sure if the kids will fit into the fancy restaurant.

Has anyone seen méchoui (slow roasted whole lambs) anywhere in the Bay Area? How about tanjia (I did a search and didn’t see it, probably because the way its traditionally cooked (over ashes) isn’t compatible with commercial kitchens. But curious if its seen in popups, etc.


We organized a party of 18 people for a whole roasted lamb about 35 yrs ago. The Moroccan restaurant which is now long-gone, was the only one who would do the whole roasted lamb, by special order, minimum 10 people.

It was terrific, but just does not pay in today’s environment.

We’re not fans of Mourad. Loved Aziza but in the end it was more California fusion than Moroccan. Mourad has its good points but not as an intro to traditional Moroccan meat dishes, which are pretty much the only things on Moroccan menus.

We’ve been going to Moroccan restaurants since Marrakesh first opened under its original owners in the 1970’s, and the menus (except for Mourad Lahlou’s restaurants) haven’t changed a jot in all that time.

There are so many interesting foods that are ignored by restaurants, sadly. Moroccan cuisine is varied and has wonderful salads, but you’ll never see them offered.

Can you elaborate what you meant by that? Like too much effort for too little money that no restaurants are willing to do that any more?

I tried Khamsa last year on one of the rare hot days in SF. The patio was pleasant to sit on since it was warm out. I was with a vegetarian friend and shared everything, so we stuck to salads and vegetable appetizers. Everything was fine to good, but I haven’t rushed to return.

Thanks for the feedback! I think I will skip Khamsa. Seems to look prettier (the space, that is) that it tastes.

I have an overall good meal at Khamsa, and, funny you should point out it’s incompatibility with commercial kitchens, the Tanjia was the only weak dish, overcooked. I remember the duck tajine being particularly good.

I tried Mogador today. More like a lunch joint since they are out of many items in the evening. I will type up a report later but I liked the items I had quite a lot.

Here’s my report on Mogador:

Berber is opening tomorrow according to the Chronicle. Nick Balla is running the kitchen. They tried to get a Tunisian chef here, but travel ban changed the plan.

Oh dear, I apologize for never answering this. My bad!

Moroccan whole lamb comes out similar to Filipino/Hawaiian luau pig - butter-soft, steamed to succulence and incredibly juicy. Notice you can’t find any of the three easily, LOL. In fact, the only time I had Filipino whole pig was at a friend’s wedding; it was a special request by the bride!

It’s expensive to buy and even assuming you have the facility to cook it - it’s not like it fits into a standard oven - it takes hours. Pretty much all day and sometimes more.

At a time when fast/casual and AI robots are taking over because labor just costs too darn much along with sky-high rents, I don’t see how a restaurateur could make it pay.

When we had the Moroccan lamb, it cost the group $17 apiece at a time when an average entree was $5-6.

And how many people can you get together to eat it, and how often? At this point in my life I know only 2 people who would be willing to pay for such an expensive red meat entree. Whereas I could find a dozen or more friends/family right at hand who would be happy to go out for vegetarian or pescatarian, any time.

I just can’t see how the numbers could be made to work in today’s environment. I’d like to be wrong, but 55 yrs of dining out are telling me I’m not…sigh.

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