Palikao is a small town in North Africa, where the chef/owner’s grandmother Marcelle Tordjman was born in 1910 — back when Algeria was a French territory. Couscous (a North African staple dish with semolina, meat and vegetable in a fragrant broth) was part of the daily life in Palikao, and even more so when the family moved to Paris in the 60s. At the same time, couscous’ popularity boomed in France, and today it happens to be one of the most popular dishes. Marcelle’s charming grandson Lionel grew up in Paris with strong family values… and a lot of couscous. After opening several successful bistros in Paris, he decided to move to LA, bringing with him his grandmother’s unique recipes. Located in the heart of historic DTLA, Palikao is an upscale couscous bar: each customer picks a grain (classic semolina or healthier options: quinoa, buckwheat, millet, cauliflower rice…), a protein (beef meatballs, lamb merguez, chicken thighs, spicy matzo balls…) and veggies (both traditional and California-inspired: carrots, turnips, zucchinis, cabbage, squash, corn, eggplants, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts…), then adds toppings (chickpeas, raisins, fresh herbs…) and, of course, Lionel’s secret broth (mild, spicy or ‘spiiicy’ with extra harissa). Even his homemade harissa is inspired by local ingredients, with Mexican dried chiles: New Mexico, Puya, chile de arbol… Palikao has a friendly BYOB policy, one of the best soundtracks in town, and makes for the perfect spot to gather friends or grab a quick couscous bowl.
Where? 130 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
When? Monday-Saturday 11AM-9M
How? No reservations
Price: Bowls $9-13
Best for: Lunch