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klondike Jun 2nd, 2008 04:52 PM

Paris or Languedoc--Best Pastilla?
Ok-we love Moroccan/North African cuisine--but especially pastilla (bastilla). YUM!

Anyone know where the best can be found either in Paris or the Herault region (Béziers, Pézénas, Narbonne or Adge) since these are the two bases where we will be spending the most time?

Though staying on the edge of the 8è/9è arrondissements in Paris, we would not mind any arrondissement if it meant finding a memorable pastilla.

Thanks for any suggestions!

klondike Jun 3rd, 2008 07:11 AM


Christina Jun 3rd, 2008 08:44 AM

I've never heard that called bastilla, only pastilla.

I haven't been there, but read several good reviews of a Moroccan restaurant called L'Atlas in the Latin Quarter that has that. It's at 12, bd St Germain in the 5th arr., not too far from L'Institut du Monde Arabe. You can find info on it on tripadvisor or chowhound etc. but here are more personal comments (at the bottom of the page):

Table de Fes in MOntparnasse (rue Sainte Beuve) is a very good Moroccan restaurant, so I assume it would have that, but don't know for sure. I just usually stay on the LEft Bank so know restaurants there better, but there are plenty on the Right Bank. Le 404, mentioned in the above article is probably a good one, it's on the Right Bank near Arts et Metier metro stop.

I've read reviews on Wally le Saharien that were good, and it is in the 9th on rue Rodier. I know it has couscous and pastilla. Here's a French resto website with comments, if you can read that. At least you can make out some and it gives you a map.

ekscrunchy Jun 3rd, 2008 09:12 AM

It is b'steeya. Definitely not pastilla! But I am not such a know-it-all to be able to tell you where to eat it!

StCirq Jun 3rd, 2008 09:39 AM

There used to be a great Moroccan restaurant in Montpellier called Les Jardins de Marrakesh, where I once had a great b'steeya (definitely not pastilla unless poorly transliterated), but it's been quite a few years and I don't know if it's still there.

hanl Jun 3rd, 2008 09:48 AM

All the Morrocan restaurants I've been to call it pastilla (or bastilla)... until today, I just assumed that was the French/English word for whatever the dish was called in Arabic!
(Unfortunately I can't give any recommendations for where to find a good one as I loathe the things!!)

StCirq Jun 3rd, 2008 10:14 AM

hanl: it's a transliteration of the Arabic word, and there's no "p" in Arabic. But "b" and "p" are closely related sounds and often substituted in transliterations, so perhaps that's why you've seen pastilla more often. Or maybe there is some confusion between pastille and pastilla in French and other languages. At any rate, bastilla is closer to the Arabic word and pronounciation.

kerouac Jun 3rd, 2008 10:24 AM

The pastilla at Ziryab, the restaurant on the roof of the Institut du Monde Arabe, is excellent. The terrace there has the same view of Notre Dame at night as the nearby Tour d'Argent for less than 20% of the cost.

cigalechanta Jun 3rd, 2008 10:31 AM

There's a restaurant in the 16th,Oum El Banine, that serves Pastilla.

Christina Jun 3rd, 2008 10:46 AM

I don't eat that dish, so don't know what it is called elsewhere, but I know it is usually called pastilla in France and Paris, so that's what you'd probably look for on the menu. It is called pastilla on all the Paris menus where I've seen it and restaurant reviews in French.

I don't know why, you can't always figure these things out. Perhaps so as not to mix it up with the Bastille (which is bastilla in Spanish), or just because that's the way they've done it a long time. It doesn't make a lot of sense as pastille in French is something completey unrelated, so you wouldn't think it was related to that.

ekscrunchy Jun 3rd, 2008 10:59 AM

Well Christina, I guess there are many Parisian menus which contain misspellings! Or should I write, "mispellings."

cigalechanta Jun 3rd, 2008 11:30 AM

It depends who owns the restaurant.

kerouac Jun 3rd, 2008 12:17 PM

Since pastilla is a Spanish dish adopted by the Moroccans, I would think it was the Moroccans who incorrectly transliterated it if they are now writing it b'steeya!

StCirq Jun 3rd, 2008 01:37 PM

Well, perhaps, kerouac, and then again, perhaps not. For all you ever wanted to know, check out:

ekscrunchy Jun 3rd, 2008 02:36 PM

I like Wright's Little Foods cookbook!

farrermog Jun 3rd, 2008 03:54 PM

Languedoc food - On another thread I've just posted a recommendation for Angela Murrills' <i>Hot Sun Cool Shadows; Savouring the Food, History and Mystery of the Languedoc</i>. Don't recall her mentioning 'bastilla' or whatever it is, but there's everything from cassoulet and wild beef to paella and cargolade, nicely interwoven with history and a little mystery.

cigalechanta Jun 3rd, 2008 04:23 PM

cargolade, be still my heart!!

klondike Jun 3rd, 2008 08:21 PM

Thank you one and all for the suggestions! I first had this dish at Mataam Fez in Denver, Colorado--they bill it as B'stella.

I have usually seen it in France as Pastilla, and I think called Bastella once. Hanl, I would not be surprised to find that many French share your lack of enthusiasm for this dish since they seem to not like sweet (powdered sugar) with meat/poultry.

I have been considering Al Mounia, just off Place Trocadero, since I want to go to one of the museums at the Palais de Chaillot before descending to the Eiffel Tower and Champs de Mars with my sons, one who will be visiting the City of Lights for the first timey. I am also tempted by Ziryab, Kerouac--particularly with the possibility of a delightful view. I will have to research the other suggestions. Thanks everyone!

Very interesting musings on the origins of the word, as well.

hanl Jun 3rd, 2008 09:55 PM

Klondike, I went to a wedding in Morocco a few years ago. It didn't start until 11pm and the first dish was served at about 1 am so I was absolutely ravenous. Except that the first dish was a gigantic pastilla! Hard as I tried, I just couldn't manage more than a forkful.
(The wedding finished at 8 am when they brought out bowls of harira soup - now that I do love!!)

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