Medina Moroccan Baja Kitchen - San Diego, CA
Medina Kitchen opened last month and we were invited to the soft opening. The quick casual restaurant is an intimate space with several tables inside and front patio seating. Orders are first placed at the counter, then brought out to your table. After choosing three items to sample, the food arrived within minutes! Good thing too because we were starved!
Lamb Taco ($5.50) - merguez (housemade spicy lamb sausage), tomato cucumber pico, queso fresco, pickled onions, scallion vinaigrette, crema
Shakshouka ($7) - eggs poached north african-style in a smoky, spicy, vegetable-laden tomato sauce
Chicken Bowl ($12) - a bed of couscous with fresh black beans, roasted corn, arugula, pickled onions, queso fresco, toasted pepitas topped with moroccan spiced chicken asado
To start was this beautiful "taco" on a thicker flatbread base. The pickled onions especially made this taco pop and the sausage was moist and delicious! The vibrant colors reminded us of Eureka! SDSU's falafel with the white sauce. Next, the shakshouka skillet reminds us of a comforting stew with a bonus of spicy lamb sausage! For sure there was some heat in the sausage but Dennis was able to keep going despite feeling the burning punishment! The egg too was interesting with a soft yolk surrounded by the tomato sauce! The accompanying sliced flatbread had a slight outer crust to it which was wonderful contrast to the wetness of the dish. For our third dish, I especially loved the healthy mix of toppings. It had similar ingredients to the first taco though there was some shredded chicken hidden among those flavors. The couscous may have been cooked in a broth as it carried its own yummy flavor, making the bowl tasty down to the last bite. The only downside was that it wasn't very filling on its own.
Veg Taco ($4.50) - roasted sweet potato & black bean, grilled onion, avocado-jalapeno salsa, queso fresco
Fries ($5) - choice of olive oil, garlic, sea salt, or parmesan topping
Both of us still felt slightly hungry so another trip to the register was in order! The second round was a veg taco and the french fries! We noticed that the base was different than the first taco! This one had a corn and wheat blend hand-made tortilla which was warm and soft. Surprisingly this meatless taco was a HUGE hit for me as I love me some black beans and sweet potato sprinkled with the cheese! The fries were well executed with a crispy exterier and enough parmesan flakes to get that addictive saltiness in your mouth. We were finally full that night!
The restaurant spacing feels a a little tight inside due to the narrowness. The ordering counter and kitchen are to the left of this space.
This is the front view of the entrance plus the small uncovered patio. I was delighted to find convenient purse hooks underneat the counter space! They are rare so I totally appreciate!
Chef Alia Jaziri is both the owner and chef, bringing together traditional North African dishes that she grew up cooking alongside her father with the quintessential flavors and ingredients from Baja California. I've been told they plan to add new items to their menu such as fish tacos, etc. At least now, with a limited selection, the choices are easy to make, especially for undecisive eaters like me! The bowls and skillet alone may not be enough but two tacos could cover one normal appetite. They also serve beer and wine to complete your meal. We look forward to seeing how this restaurant grows in the future!
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here and our meal was complimentary. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions are our own.
Medina Moroccan Baja Kitchen
2850 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego CA 92104