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Dinner at Moun of Tunis in Hollywood

Moun of Tunis is located off Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and is billed as offering authentic Tunisian and Moroccan cuisine.  Along with a fixed price dinner menu of North African dishes, they offer nightly belly dancing shows.  They offer vegetarian and diary-free options, and Halal meat.  This place has been on my must-visit list for some time.  Recently my tour guide group The Hollywood Squares heard Moun of Tunis may be in danger of being bulldozed for a Gelson’s grocery store project.  We decided to spend an evening there and enjoy this Hollywood gem before it’s gone.  Being October, the theme of our evening’s entertainment was Season of the Witch.  The dinner seating was at 7pm with the show starting at 8pm.
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They do have a parking lot but I was able to find street parking in front of the Sunset Grill and the Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard.  The restaurant itself it hidden behind another building on a diagonal.  It seemed strange until fellow tour guide Terry pointed out the restaurant’s building used to be on the route of a red car line, transporting early Angelenos to the Santa Monica beach.  When she pointed out the diagonal line as it crossed the street towards the new Gardner Junction restaurant, it came into view.  Fascinating.  But back to Moun of Tunis.  Upon walking in, you immediately know you’re somewhere different and special.  The décor, the music and the dim lights all make you feel as if you are in a land far, far away.
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We were offered a $22 dinner that consisted of three courses  Before the food was delivered, our server appeared at our table with a beautiful silver teapot and bowl for hand washing.  The water was deliciously scented with rosewater and immediately reminded me of Mashti Malone’s rose water ice creams.  A thick dipping sauce and pita bread were delivered to the table along with our beverages, Turkish beer and Kir Royales.  Had I known the Kir Royale’s were only $4.50 I would have ordered another!
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When offered lentil soup or something called Brik, we chose Brik and were not disappointed.  Brik ended up being a fried turnover made with filo pastry and filled with a delicious mixture of eggs and potatoes.  I ordered my side sauce mild.  A platter of cold salads came next, and included salads made with red bell peppers, cucumber and carrots (two ways) to be eaten with the bread that was delivered to our table.  The couscous plate was served with a choice of grilled chicken or beef skewers.  Online the menu mentions tea and dessert but we were not offered either.  I should also mention that we were not offered forks, that everything was eaten by hand, skewer or bread.
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The entertainment started promptly and it seemed we were the only ones in the restaurant who did not know any of the dancers.  It was very much Friends & Family night, with a lot of supportive audience members.  I wish they had told us before we were seated that tipping is encouraged, in fact really encouraged.  After each dance routine the basket was placed in front of us and these talented ladies did indeed deserve gratuities.  The Season of the Witch performance ran for two hours with a short intermission.  The costumes, the colors and the music were all magical.  I think everybody livened up when the last two dancers came out wearing and playing castanets.  The evening just kept building up to this finale.  The Season of the Witch was a wonderful evening with unique foods, good friends, priceless entertainment and a bit of Hollywood history.  I hope you too can enjoy a night out at Moun of Tunis while it is still standing.
By Trish Procetto
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