Chef Mourad Lahlou has had quite the journey.
From his early days as an economics student at San Francisco State, where he started dabbling in the kitchen because he missed his mother’s cooking from his native Marrakech.
To this self-taught cook’s opening of his ground-breaking Aziza restaurant in the city’s Outer Richmond neighborhood, which was named for his mother.
To that restaurant’s evolution from belly dancers and very traditional fare to thrilling modern takes on Moroccan cuisine.
Now comes Mourad, his new eponymous restaurant in the historic Pacific Telephone building, which opened in January.
Years in the making, it’s a grand, glam setting fit for a chef who has grown into one of the most respected and gifted around.
Walk through the doors and you are immediately greeted with a striking art piece — a cross-section of a massive tree’s roots. It is beautifully organic in nature to be sure. But it’s also a symbol of how Lahlou’s cooking may grow and change, but is always firmly rooted in his heritage.