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Cafe Zitouna (formerly Cafe Ya Bon) - Tunisian in San Francisco - Report

Dave MP | Apr 6, 2008 08:38 PM

I went to Cafe Zitouna last week with two friends and we had a great meal. This was my first visit in a long time - last time I was there it was still called Cafe Ya Bon and they did not yet have a full kitchen. Things look different now, and the overall vibe is a bit nicer. Plus, there are many more food options!

We started off sharing the b'stilla - filled w/ meat, scrambled eggs, almonds, and various other things - this was excellent. It was freshly made (took well over 20 minutes from time of ordering for it to arrive) and was topped with a fair amount of powdered sugar and cinnamon. It didn't seem like the actual filling was all *that* sweet, so people who prefer less-sweet b'stilla could easily ask for less (or no) powdered sugar. The b'stilla was large and round, plenty of food for three of us to share as an appetizer. For $7.95, a good deal.

As a main dish I had a special of white bean stew w/ merguez sausage. The sausage was served on the side on a small plate, while the beans came on a larger plate. It was good - comforting and flavorful, though not anything earth-shattering. The bread basket on the table had lots of bread which was good for dipping in the beans.

One friend had just a plate of sausage, which she ate w/ bread. The other friend had the salmon tajine, which I believe was also a special. This was also good - I only had a bite, so I don't remember all the details, but the salmon was properly cooked and tasted fresh, and the sauce was flavorful without being overpowering.

We also had a pot of mint tea which was excellent. The tea itself tasted like Argentinian mate, and the mint flavor was very fresh. It came already sweetened, which I liked, though it might have been too sweet for some.

The menu has several tajines, salads, sandwiches and appetizers, and the breakfast choices look good too. It seems like there are several items that are common to both Moroccan and Tunisian food, yet from what I have heard, the cooking definitely veers more toward Tunisian. I have eaten at Tajine (up the street) only once, but after one meal at each, I'd say that Zitouna is giving them a run for their money!

Dave MP

Cafe Zitouna
1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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