I've been hearing about Aziza for a while now, but since I never have a reason to go to the Richmond dist., it's been somewhat of a drag to get out there. To my surprise, it only took me 10 minutes to get there from valencia and 22nd.
I made reservations for last Saturday. It was easy to find, but parking was unfeasible. I would highly recommend using their valet.
Walked in with my friends and was in awe at how beautiful and charming the place is. It was very darkly lit, but they have like 100 candles all over the place, so the room just glows. We got there 20 minutes before our reservation time just to have drinks. I was told by a friend/rest. Critic that they have really high-quality house cocktails. There were no seats at the bar so we just waited at the door and sipped our drinks. We were seated exactly at 8:30 which was our reservation time and had the most romantic booth in the entire place. The waiter told us it was table #7. We asked, just incase we decided to go back.
I was very surprised by the menu. We started sipping our mojitos and unreal cucumber drinks while looking over the menu. We were very surprised that the menu was so modern and contemporary. For some reason, I was expecting amira or marakech like items.
We did the 5 course-tasting menu and each picked our own soups and entrees. The organic cauliflower soup was to die for. It had a very cauliflower taste and a little bit tangy.
We were so taken back by how much food was sent out for the appetizers. We had the 3 spreads, a goat cheese dish with a spiced tomato jam, cigar shaped phyllo woth spinach and feta inside with mache (i haven't seen mache in years) and giant lima beans. I'm not a bean fan but if you go, try them for sure.
The 3rd course was bastilla, which was probably better than any bastilla Ive had before.
We had 4 entrees: the lamb shank with lavender honey sauce and citrus, the couscous with combination of meat & seafood, the rabbit and the chicken skewers. We shared all the entrees and couldn't believe that they were all so super different yet so full of taste and flavor. I still dream of the shank.
The desserts we also very nice & light. We were pretty full, so to the recommendation of our waiter, we ordered light desserts: the peach ice cream, the watermelon sorbet and the lime mousse with buttermilk panna cotta. For the fourth dessert, we substituted the big jug of hot & sweet Moroccan mint tea with rose water.
The service was better than any service Ive had in San Francisco. Not just by our dedicated server, but the entire help staff. We had other servers coming to our table to check if we needed anything, and that is a big plus, considering how busy they are. Every question we had was answered like a pro. We had a really hard time with the wine list and there was not 1 wine that our server couldn't give us a full description of. At one point, he closed his eyes in trying to picture what it tasted like so he could describe it to us perfectly. It was as if he could even read our minds, he was at the table when we needed him, and not there when we didn't. It was a perfect relationship.
The belly dancer also mesmerized us. Let me tell you that this girl was not your average bellydancer. It was like watching a ballerina. Her music was sensual and she was herself gorgeous and a great acrobat.
We couldn't have asked for more of a lovely night. They went above and beyond the call of duty with the food, service and entire ambiance. The bill came to $256 with all the food, cocktails and wine. It was a great value for the quality and quantity of food and service.
As we walked out, we told the hostess how perfect everything was and that the entire experience was better than the french laundry, she said that others have made the same exact comparison.