There are not many places like this in San Francisco or for that matter anywhere. It is an old school Moroccan food at its best, complete with a performance while you are dining.
The restaurants décor is very authentic Moroccan. Jack’s wife, Houda, went to Morocco and bought all of the whimsical design elements that make El Mansour a fun place to come, along with the belly dancing performance they have every night.
Owner, Jack Tanverakul is from Thailand and is wife Houda is from Morocco. Jack being no stranger to fine cuisine, spent many nights at the well-known, L’ Orangerie in San Francisco as a server. Jack tells stories about the very famous, Herb Caen, coming in to El Mansour as an undercover reviewer. He says Robin Williams used to be a frequent customer as well.
Here’s what I tried:
Lentil Soup, very smooth and luscious, a great soup.
Basket of Bread, be very careful otherwise you will eat the whole basket and have no room for anything else.
Salads Mohammed – Combination of Carrots, Eggplant, Cucumbers, and Tomatoes, but all very different and fantastic.
Bastela Du Chef Pastry filled with chicken, almonds, and assortment of spices. Flaky dough with sweet chicken and powdered sugar, I just love this starter.
Moroccan Seafood Prawns and Scallops, very distinguished seasoning, really terrific.
Couscous with vegetables, the couscous is cooked perfectly with a symphony of tastes.
Lamb with honey and almonds. This was my favorite menu item. The lamb falls right off the bone and the sweet honey sauce is just delightful.
Chicken with onions and olives. A delicious combination of flavors make this a great dish.
Lamb and Chicken Kabob, both meats are grilled and just the perfect amount of seasoning with a great texture. Lets not forget the unique spices on every dish!
Bananas Fritter, and Kenefa. Sweet bastela with cream and almonds, and sweet tea. This is a very light dessert with lovey fragrant bananas featured. The tea is served from high above and it a great way to end this lovely meal.
Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc, I loved this wine with the Bastela du Chef, it has great fruit nuances that add to this great dish.
Robert Mondavi Chardonnay, drink this wine with the shrimp and scallops, it’s the perfect pairing.
Ouled Thaleb – Moroccan Red Wine, a super wine to enjoy with the honey lamb.
Established in 1976, El Mansour had a recent move next door from its original location on Clement Street in the Richmond District. Proprietors reconstructed their vision of Moroccan dining quarters with fabrics and textiles shipped from various parts of Morocco. In addition to the materials, the traditional menu has experienced a rebirth with new tagines and kebabs. Chef Abu-Home has orchestrated the kitchen staff for over 15 years at El Mansour, focusing on using the finest ingredients, he continues to construct delicious meals nightly.
The Belly dancer came out in between appetizers and entrees, she was a dead ringer for Kourtney Kardashian, but of the Latin kind. She was sexy and fun and she was getting the audience to participate. Tips are welcomed, so come with some dollar bills, the show is very entertaining.
If you’re looking for something a little different then your usual dining experiences, this is the place for you. Keep an open mind and a hungry stomach and you will be surprised. Not to mention the great feast for your eyes with the food, libation and belly dancing. Do something out of the ordinary and try El Mansour.
3119 Clement St.,
San Francisco, CA