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Dinner at Cafe Livre in Culver City for Mediterreanean/North­ African Fare

(Photo of Tagine to the left from the Los Angeles Times)


Chef Fared Zadi, born in Lyon, France, once taught at Le Cordon Bleu School before becoming the dean of culinary arts at Ecole de Cuisine in Culver City. He has written the Test Kitchen column for the LA Weekly. He has extensive experience as a working chef and as a culinary instructor. In October 2010, he helped put together the 1st CousCous Festival, which took place in Pasadena, which offered Los Angelinos a rare experience of North African cuisine. There was of couscous, lamb mechoui, merguez (lamb sausage), tagines, and brik (a traditional Tunisian pastry made with tissue-paper thin sheets of dough called warka that were filled with shrimp, parsley, harissa and a whole egg – wrapped like a loose burrito, the brik is then placed in hot oil and fried until crisp and puffy. You can check out pictures of the creation of a brik here:

After the success of this first CousCous Festival, I was looking forward to attending the 2nd Annual CousCous Festival, which was slated to be held in Glendale last October. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the festival had been postponed twice. Although I missed the couscous festival, I did get to try out some of his North African offerings at the eatery he opened last Fall, which is attached to his culinary school, Ecole de Cuisine.

S. Irene Virbila, food critic for the Los Angeles Times wrote back in February 2, 2012:

"At the unprepossessing Café Livre in Culver City, lunch could start with some charcuterie or homemade soup (several kinds, including French onion). But why not try something more unusual, like a Tunisian brik, a turnover made with thin, crisp pastry stuffed with egg, tuna and capers? Squirt on some of chef-owner Farid Zadi's fiery green harissa. I'm angling for a duck confit sandwich with twice-cooked fries next time I go; the confit was already sold out by the time I got there. The chef's tagine (chicken, vegetable, beef or lamb) with couscous is tremendous — a wonderful tomato-tinged broth with chickpeas, potatoes, turnips and more to spoon over a bowl of fluffy couscous grains. He makes his own mahogany-red harissa sauce too — so good I was tempted to put the squirt bottle in my bag. But didn't."

After hosting a couple of dinners with Gay Foodies, I have to admit, Chef Zadi's tagines and his couscous are delicious! Those dishes are huge too and are definitely shareable.

You can check out their sample Dinner Menu here:

Yelp Reviewers have so far given Cafe Livre excellent reviews, averaging 4.0 Stars out of 5 from the 40 reviews offered. You can read those reviews here:

The average cost per person is expected to be around $25 to $40, depending on how much food you order, any beverages, plus tax and 20% gratuity. As such, please bring at least $60 in CASH to settle your portion of the bill.

Parking is available on site, street parking (please read the signs for any parking restrictions, especially if you have to feed the meters), or at the public city parking lot located at 3844 Watseka Ave., Culver City, Ca 90232 (First 2 Hours are Free). We will meet in front of the restaurant at 7:00pm. As always, please call or text me if you arrive before I do, are running late, or are lost. I will email participating members my cell phone number the day before this event.

(Photo Credit: Kevin S.,

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  • A former member
    A former member

    I ate here last weekend and it was delicious. The tagine is big enough for two (but I ate it all by myself). I also recommend the lavendar creme brulee for dessert. The manager, Susan, is married to Chef Farid. Susan is the junior high school friend of my colleague. Please tell Susan and Chef Farid I say hello! You'll enjoy it.

    June 6, 2012

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