three great places - Casablanca
Written by Suzanna Clarke
In the movie Casablanca, Rick’s Café was a hive of negotiation and intrigue. In the modern city, restaurants continually hum with deals being made over delectable dishes.
If you are seeking classic dishes from Morocco, Al Mounia has an enviable reputation and an agreeable ambience. It is in an old villa with handmade floor tiles and a wooden ceiling. You can dine indoors on divans or, weather permitting, eat outside on the pleasant patio beneath the branches of a century-old pear tree.
The menu offers traditional specialities, such as tagines, pastilla, couscous and kebabs. Favourites from the region include lamb with caramelised prunes, and chicken with preserved lemon, each prepared with exquisite care and attention to detail.
Dressed in red fezes and black jackets, many of the waiters have been working here for more than 20 years, and retain a cheerful disposition and lively sense of humour.
The most recent high-end restaurant to open its doors, Maison Blanche's interior is lined with Carrera marble and has massive mirrored pillars and Italian designer furniture. It’s an ideal destination for a swish night out, a leisurely lunch or a visit to the W Long Bar.
Chef Thierry Vaissière comes from Maison Blanche Paris with a reputation for creativity. His nouvelle cuisine dishes are so artistically presented that you may find yourself wanting to frame them. The emphasis here is on ultra-fresh ingredients and a subtle melding of flavours, playing on the contrast between sweet and salty.
A feature of the menu is locally caught fish such as St Pierre (John Dory), Turbot and succulent prawns. It also offers a new take on Moroccan cuisine.
Inspired by its movie namesake, this outstanding restaurant and bar has become an icon since opening in 2004. It is the vision of American owner Kathy Kriger and designer, the late Bill Willis, and is an experience as much as a place to eat. Housed in an ancient mansion in the port, with a dramatic central atrium, the eclectic décor includes fringed lamps, palms, and a tinkling piano. (And yes, the pianist, Issam, does play ‘As Time Goes By’.)
The international-style menu changes daily, covering a wide variety of dishes, from entrées such as crab Louis and prawn tropicana to mains such as roast duck with fruit chutney, and beef stroganoff. Desserts may include strawberry shortcake and cheesecake. The quality is consistently excellent and makes the most of local produce.
95 rue du Prince Moulay Abdallah
Cnr Rue du Commandant Lamy and Boulevard Mohammed Abdou
248, Bd Sour Jdid Place du jardin public Ancienne médina