Int'l Food Washington DC

The Vibe of DC’s Bistro du Soleil Carries Scents of Morocco

Morocco is a vibrant, colorful country. Each of its cities is painted a different color. From blue to white to red, the streets, homes, stores, and sidewalks all look as if a bucket of paint was dumped onto them. The shops are full of bustling crowds, fresh foods, and the aromatic spices tease your nostrils. You hear shopkeepers constantly haggling with their neighbors and the thousands of Western tourists in the marketplace.


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I remember trying to buy a bowl. I kept pushing the shopkeeper to lower his price, enjoying the game and knowing that the bowl was mass-produced. After a little while, he told me to just take it, saying that I am a good haggler. I don’t think most give up that easily.

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Elaine in Morocco in 2011 / Photo Credit: Travelaine.com

The food was to die for. From sweet and savory couscous to flavorful mint tea, and saffron in just about every dish, my meals were never dull. I was reminded of my past excursion last week thanks to Jessica, the Dining Traveler, who planned an evening at Bistro du Soleil (CLOSED as of 2017), a Moroccan restaurant right on King Street in Alexandria.

Sitting on couches with giant pillows set around decorative wooden tables, we were able to watch the restaurant’s atmosphere from intimate booths cut into the walls. These cubicles lined the restaurant, creating a lounge-y feel with the dim lighting and lively colors.

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Photo from Bistro du Soleil Facebook via Travelaine.com

We sipped on the Marrakesh Orange, a citrusy, refreshing cocktail that Chef Samir Labriny makes by hand for each customer. “If you Google Marrakesh orange, you will find pictures of orange trees. Not my drink, my own spin on a Moroccan cocktail,” Chef Labriny told us. He is proud of his heritage. From enthusiastically describing how to care for phyllo dough and to correctly season a Tangine, Chef Labriny hopes to introduce Morocco’s treasures to everyone.

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Chef Labriny of Bistro du Soleil / Photo Credit: Travelaine.com

His passion is evident in each bite of the generous helpings of Mediterranean goodness The meal included a mezze (assortment) of Hummus trio, Baba Ghanouj, Grape Leaves and assorted cheeses from the Sun Countries. Next on the menu was phyllo dough stuffed with saffron chicken, caramelized onion, eggs and almonds, topped with sugar and cinnamon.

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Phyllo dough stuffed with saffron chicken / Photo Credit: Travelaine.com

Afterwards was lemon chicken with fresh olives (the lemon sauce was to die for).

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Lemon Chicken / Photo Credit: Travelaine.com

Finally, we were treated to a Tagine of slow roasted lamb with honey and almonds.

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Tagine of slow roasted lamb with honey and almonds / Photo Credit: Travelaine.com

Of course, baklava was served with fresh mint tea, as is customary in Morocco. The couscous was also served, but we had to save it for delicious leftovers. Where else can you find Moroccan food in the U.S.?

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This post originally appeared on Elaine’s website and blog. Read the post here, titled “Moroccan Cuisine in Alexandria”. Elaine is a writer for Mezze Weekly as well as a cultural ambassador for MezzeCulture in the Washington DC area. Her own studies, and experiences growing up and living abroad have given her a unique perspective on discovering and interacting with different cultures.

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