As someone who loves trying new restaurants, and in a dynamic food city with an ever-growing list of notable spots, I find myself limited in time and resources to revisit even some of my favorite experiences. One such example is Mourad, an upscale and modern Moroccan restaurant in SoMa from chef Mourad Lahlou.
Mourad opened his eponymous space in early 2015 to high expectations after already establishing a name for himself with Michelin-starred Aziza. Mourad restaurant was a hit and quickly received a Michelin-star that year.
I fondly remember two visits in those early years. The grand tree root sculpture at the entrance, the suspended glass wine cellar, the stylish bar, and of course the food! I couldn’t forget cutting into that flakey duck basteeya and being embraced by the intoxicating smell of the warm spices.
I also remember the tender octopus, and the large format entrées accompanied by the simple, highly satisfying four sides. And the presentation of the food was both bold and elegant, like the restaurant. After those strong meals, Mourad would be my go-to recommendation for out-of-town guests. I also found that the larger space was easier to book compared to other similarly trendy spots.
Fast forward to last month, and I had the opportunity to finally revisit Mourad, and what a magnificent return it was. The food was as strong as I recalled, the space grand, and the service was absolutely wonderful. Some highlights included make your own Hokkaido uni toast, pillowy milk bread with a trio of butter, the refined “eggshuka”, and the chocolate dessert with sumac ice cream and olive oil.
The meal was accompanied by a bottle of bold, leathery 2012 Rovellotti Ghemme “Chioso dei Pomi”, selected by wine director Jose Delgado. And wine fans should definitely request a look at their wine cellar “bridge”.
After this meal, I can gladly reiterate my long-standing recommendation of Mourad as a great example of modern Californian menus that San Francisco does so well.