Last Friday, before going to the Tampa Theatre to see the film about Anthony Bourdain, Roadrunner, Anitra and I decided to do what Bourdain encouraged: We went to a newly-opened restaurant to try some food that we normally don’t get to eat. We went to Le Casa Bistro, located half a block away from the theatre at the corner of Franklin and Polk streets.
Le Casa’s specialty is Moroccan cuisine, and they have a very nice selection of tagines (pronounced “ta-ZHEEN”), which are slow-cooked stews that get their name from the traditional ceramic or clay dish in which they’re cooked. You typically serve them from the tagine they’re cooked in.
We started with zalouk, a cooked eggplant and tomato salad served with points of pita, which was an excellent appetizer. For our mains, we shared the chicken tagine, which is garnished with preserved lemons and olives, and the lamb tagine, whose garnish was hard-boiled eggs and prunes. These are rich, saucy dishes, and we scooped up the sauce with the frites and bread that they provided along with our dishes.
The service was incredibly friendly and helpful — one of the owners even came out to chat with us. We’re definitely coming back then next time we catch a film at the Tampa Theatre, a show at the Straz, or an event at one of the nearby museums.
We need to check it out on a Thursday, when they’ve got a live DJ and belly dancing, which should be pretty interesting.
Le Casa Bistro is located in the Element Tampa building at 802 N. Franklin St., at the corner of Franklin and Polk. Go check it out before everyone else “discovers” it!
In case you’re wondering: The folks at Le Casa Bistro have no idea who I am and most certainly didn’t pay for an endorsement. I’m just a fan who wants to see them stick around.