Moga (Marseille)

© Moga

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It would take a tidal wave to sweep away the sulfurous institution that preceded this one… In what was formerly the iconic café Nour d’Égypte, you’ll now find Moga! A literal translation of “the wave” in Egyptian Arabic for this takeover operated by Hicham Habou Chabana and Ibrahim Nasrallah, who are surfing on the success of Mina, their Levantine watering hole high up in the La Plaine neighborhood. When it comes to the decor, almost nothing has changed in this indoor-outdoor space, whose pontoon-style rooftop makes you feel a bit like a buccaneer. On the ground floor, in the kitchen that’s open to the four nautical winds, self-taught chef Samia Benazzouz leads her ship on a cruise across the Mediterranean. The night we went, the Grand Moga menu included a flood of mezze: sensual buttered fennel flirting with grilled sobrassada and mussels with orange; chaste mackerel fillets nestled against a dark squid ink labneh; traditional roasted cauliflower transfigured by wasabi-infused chantilly cream; haricots verts with a bit of bite softened by the addition of smoked bacon, kumquat and parmesan. And, before docking, a red berry and lemon pudding topped with a pepper amlou that made us immediately want to head back out to sea. // Naomi Bordait 

FEELING THIRSTY? : A very short organic wine list – a Côtes-de-Gascogne white from the Domaine Villa Dria (€6 a glass), a Rhone syrah from Le Cros des Calades (€27 a bottle) – which is improved by Zoumaï and Mélusine craft beers (€7 for 330 ml), homemade hibiscus cordial (€3) or ChariTea green iced tea (€4.50). 
PRICE: : Set menu €10-12 (lunch), plates €10-14. 

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