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Best Halal Restaurant San Francisco 2012 - Cafe Zitouna

Cafe Zitouna

Cafe Zitouna

1201 Sutter

San Francisco, CA 94109


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San Francisco has three times the number of halal restaurants — Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghan, Turkish, Chinese — it did a decade ago. Muslim diners can find pizza and burritos now, as well as shawerma and seekh kabobs. But it's hard to eat certified halal as well as you do at Cafe Zitouna. The flavors of Najib Rebia's harira (lentil soup) and Moroccan tajines are lilting and complex. His Tunisian fare brings on the spice, whether it's the chiles that make his couscous platters glow, or the pileup of cumin, coriander, garlic, and harissa in his kufta tajine and chakchouka with merguez. Sugary mint tea, doled out into tiny glasses, and semolina cake doused in orange-flower water clear the palate after dinner, more refreshing than any postprandial glass of wine.

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If you know about the legendary NY Halal cart then there is one on 455 market street. I haven't had NYC combo rice plate since May of 2012 so it's been too long to compare. All I know is that I was just as excited and satisfied during lunch hour in SF vs after clubbing and drinking in NYC. Not that long of a wait either. So I would say it's pretty LEGIT!

I also got a bite from the gyro wrap and that too was BOMB! Already debating on whether I'll get that or the combo rice plate on my next visit.

FYI, the hot sauce is HOT. I usually can take decent heat but I only dabbled zigzag drops about the plate instead of zigzag streams like I would with siracha. Maybe it's because I'm sober or I'm getting weak. In any case, I say start easy and add more as needed.


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