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2002, a year to simplify Many restaurants changed with the times, including most of new top 10

Michael Bauer, Chronicle Restaurant Critic

AZIZA

December 29, 2002

This modern Moroccan restaurant went through an upheaval when the Lahlou brothers split, but the food is better than ever. The remaining partner, chef Mourad Lahlou, continues to build an outstanding repertoire of dishes that begins with his native cuisine and then detours toward California sensibilities. His bastilla — the flaky pastry dusted with powdered sugar and filled with saffron chicken, almonds and cinnamon — is as good as you’ll find. He also creates saffron Cornish hens with olives and preserved lemons, and braised rabbit tagine in a paprika sauce. It’s served up in sexy surroundings complete with tasteful belly dancers.

5800 Geary Blvd. (at 22nd Avenue), San Francisco; (415) 752-2222.
Dinner Wednesday-Monday. $12-$20.