We love it when our readers send us comments, particularly when they turn us on to a restaurant we might never have discovered on our own. Darna, a Moroccan/Mediterranean restaurant in a strip mall in Fountain Valley, was a delightful surprise.
It certainly wasn't the stereotypical belly-dancing palace that we normally think of as a Moroccan restaurant. In spite of all the gold and red in the décor and the lanterns hanging from the ceiling, the ambiance is casual, the delicious food is more like home cooking, and the proprietress is as warm and gracious as an old friend welcoming you into her home.
Malika Malali wears many hats: hostess, server, manager and part-time chef. Her mother, Jamila, who insists on everything being fresh and house-made in the old-fashioned way, does the bulk of the cooking and baking. Malika told us about dreaded "almond day," when in order to make fresh almond paste (as opposed to the packaged kind, flavored with almond extract, which Jamila refuses to use), they boil and peel 10 pounds of hot almonds.