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TAIPEI DINING FEATURE
TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE,November.2004

Bistro Le Casanova

02) 2874-8840
5-1,TienYu Street,TianMu
ours: ( unday to Thursday)11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:30 pm; (closed
Monday noon); (Fi-Sat)11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-11 pm
Credit cards accepted; 10% service charge

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Few of us ever get closer to Morocco than the 1940s classic movie "Casablanca." But, miraculously, a little piece of Morocco called Bistro Le Casanova has made the long trip to Taipei. Located in Tianmu, it is currently Taiwan's only chance at authentic French-Moroccan cuisine.
The name Casanova promises romantic dining, but there is much more than love in the air. Proprietors Abdel and Eva Makdad have painstakingly created an out-of-culture experience. They've essentially transplanted an entire Moroccan restaurant, complete with a native chef (Abdel). After reclining on silk upholstery, grooving to Arab pop tunes, and being met by Moroccan ceramic crafts at every turn, you begin to ask yourself if you got here by scooter or camel.
Don't expect to find spaghetti on the menu here. Salad Marocaine makes an eye-pleasing starter with its marinated bell pepper, tomato and onion fashioned into a perfect disk. Other appetizers include French favorites like Escargots de Bourgogne and Calamar Frits.
The most popular entrees are unquestionably Moroccan. Meat is first sauteed in spices and then slow-cooked in a tajine for three to four hours. A tajine is a tall cone-shaped crock pot; its unique shape directs the steamed-off stock straight back into the center of the meat. Chicken, beef and lamb tajine dishes (NT$425 to NT$495) turn out extremely savory and tender. A major tajine hit is the Lamb Couscous With Seven Vegetables (NT$595). Again, the tajine does its magic by saturating the couscous with meat and vegetable juices. All entrees come with soup.
For an extra NT$180, patrons can add an appetizer, dessert and drink. Even if the main course fills you to bursting, you'll want to make room for creamy desserts like Floating Island or Banana Flambe. But save the best for last with a hot pot of authentic Moroccan mint tea. Parties of up to 20 can be accommodated.
By Joe Parrino Translated by Jenny Munkholm