While the majority of visitors flock to Morocco’s imperial cities—Marrakesh, Fez, Meknes, and Rabat—Casablanca, the country’s largest metropolis, is arguably the best destination for foodies. Here, a gathering of different cultures and a more cosmopolitan demographic have resulted in an amazing diversity of restaurants. Options range from authentic Moroccan cuisine in traditional settings to contemporary seafood restaurants and eateries serving everything from Japanese to Italian specialties. In this article, we take a look at the best places to satisfy every budget, taste, and type of food craving in Casablanca.
Located in Casablanca’s trendy, multicultural Gauthier district, NKOA is ranked on TripAdvisor as the best restaurant in the city. The décor (bold primary colors and tribal motifs) reflects the menu, which reveals an innovative take on ethnic fusion cuisine. Borrowing inspiration from the culinary cultures of Africa, Asia, and South America, each dish is beautifully presented and full of complex flavor. Try a prawn masala inspired by recipes from the Swahili Coast or Creole-style tuna steaks. The dessert and drink menus are just as creative, with the latter featuring Indian lassi alongside Egyptian hibiscus juice and more. NKOA opens at 10 a.m. for its daily lunch and dinner service.
For some of the most authentic Moroccan food in Casablanca, venture just off Mohammed V Square to Le Cuisto Traditionnel. The restaurant’s décor is an homage to Moroccan culture, with beautiful zellij mosaics on the walls, ornately molded ceilings, and framed photographs of Moroccan dignitaries taken by the owner himself. The menu features regional specialties from all over Morocco, including chicken pastilla, Moroccan salads, and several different types of tagine. If you’re not sure what to order, ask the friendly serving staff for a recommendation. Like many Moroccan restaurants, this one does not serve alcohol; however, their juices are both healthy and delicious and mint tea is a must-try Moroccan staple.
Situated close to El Hank Lighthouse on the beachfront boulevard known as Le Corniche, Le Cabestan wows with uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean. The outdoor lounge (set up around a bar and with armchair seating overlooking the sea) is the best choice on sunny days. Settle in with a glass of cool white wine or a specialty cocktail, then take a look at the extensive menu. Meat, poultry, pastas, and risottos are all offered; however, the setting makes seafood the obvious choice. Grilled swordfish, fresh lobster, and Provençal-style shrimps are all amongst the dishes most recommended by previous guests. Le Cabestan is open from midday to midnight every day.
Another popular choice for traditional Moroccan cuisine with a fine-dining twist, Dar Beida is located within the Hyatt Regency Casablanca. The food is typical for Morocco, with staples like harira soup, pastilla, tagines, and couscous all featuring on the menu. What makes this restaurant special is its atmosphere. Designed to resemble a traditional Berber tent, the interior is a feast for the senses with swathes of crimson and plum fabric. Throughout your meal, you will be treated to live entertainment in the form of Moroccan musicians and belly dancers. Probably one of the most romantic choices in Casablanca, Dar Beida is open from 7 p.m. to midnight every day except Sunday.
When you tire of heavy tagines, get your health food fix at Organic Kitchen. Here, all the ingredients are organic or sustainably farmed, and they’re prepared with a focus on food that’s as good for the body as it is for the soul. Many menu items are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, making the restaurant one of the best in Casablanca for those with special dietary requirements. Think falafel wraps and quinoa-based Buddha bowls, zucchini noodle dishes, and dairy-free desserts. Open seven days a week, Organic Kitchen also features a specialist barista station, juice bar, and a food market selling the best locally sourced Moroccan products.
Best for Film Buffs: Rick’s Café
For many people, Casablanca will always be synonymous with the iconic 1940s movie of the same name. Although the gin joint in which Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman act out many of their scenes is fictional, it has been lovingly recreated by real-life Rick’s Café. Nestled against the walls of the Old Medina, the café is an Art Deco masterpiece complete with a black-and-white marble floor, an arcaded courtyard, and of course, a 1930s Pleyel piano with an in-house pianist. "Casablanca" is screened on repeat in a separate lounge area, too. More than just a gimmick, however, Rick’s Café is also known for its quality Moroccan and European cuisine and vintage cocktails.
If you’re looking for a more authentically Moroccan take on fresh seafood, make your way to Stall 192 in Casablanca’s bustling Central Market. Better known as Chez Michel et Hafida, this hidden restaurant-come-market-stall specializes in simple, quick, and utterly delicious seafood dishes. Expect prawns and calamari, seafood salads and soups, and fillets of expertly grilled fish of the day. Portions are large and accompanied by a variety of grilled vegetables and tasty sauces, while prices are much cheaper than one can expect in Casablanca’s high-end seafood restaurants. The menus are in French and Arabic, with photographs and helpful staff to help those that don’t speak either language.
Casablanca’s Italian culinary scene is best represented by Boccaccio, located next door to Organic Kitchen off Boulevard d’Anfa. In a warm trattoria setting, the restaurant serves classic Italian dishes including handmade pastas, pizzas, and risottos. The chef is a born-and-bred Sicilian, and many of Boccaccio’s ingredients are imported directly from Italy for the most authentic flavors. Indulge in a bottle or two of Italian wine or imported beer, then follow your main course with an indulgent tiramisu. The restaurant is open every day of the week for lunch and dinner. Prices are relatively high, but comparable to Europe (and to other European restaurants in Casablanca).
Set on the street behind the Central Market, Restaurant La Bavaroise is something of a Casablanca institution. Since 1968, it has offered delectable French cuisine in a setting that feels far more like Europe than Africa. Just-cooked steaks are a specialty, served with classic French sauces and perfectly crispy pommes frites. Oysters are another highlight, while desserts are somewhat decadent and include French delicacies like profiteroles and crêpes Suzette. Like all good French restaurants, La Bavaroise has an impressive wine list; many are imported from the motherland, but Morocco’s own winemaking industry is also represented. The restaurant is open seven days a week.
Those craving authentic, exquisitely presented Japanese food should make their way to ILOLI in the Gauthier district. The restaurant is based around the concept of using Morocco’s abundant natural produce to recreate the sophisticated dishes one might expect in a high-end Toyko eatery. Options range from sushi to delicate Wagyu beef. ILOLI offers four distinct seating areas: at the bar, where you can watch the sushi chef in action; in the main restaurant; on the cozy mezzanine level; or on the terrace. The latter is an oasis of Japanese Zen with plenty of teak and bamboo to transport you away from the busy streets of Casablanca.
Indian restaurants are few and far between in Casablanca, but of those that do exist, Clay Oven is consistently rated as the best. Prices are reasonable, and many of the restaurant’s specialties are prepared in its traditional tandoor oven. Expect tandoori chicken, a wide variety of flavorful curries, biryani, naan bread, and more. Many of the dishes can be adapted for a vegetarian diet, while desserts include Indian specialties like kulfi, gulab jamun, and gajar ka halwa. Clay Oven doesn’t serve alcohol; however, the menu showcases a wide variety of lassis, Indian teas, and virgin cocktails. It is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
Also in the Gauthier neighborhood is your best bet for American-style burgers. Blend Gourmet Burger does exactly what it says on the tin: delicious burgers, topped with a variety of gourmet toppings ranging from brie and camembert to pesto, olives, and caramelized onions. You can choose to replace your patty with slices of fillet steak, or to add truffle mayo and blue cheese sauces. There are even a few menu items for those who don’t like burgers, including sushi and barbecued chicken, while those who are missing home will appreciate the New York-style cheesecake. The restaurant is open from midday to 11 p.m., every day of the week.
Gauthier’s Bondi Coffee Kitchen is ranked on TripAdvisor as the number one café in Casablanca. Inspired by the trendy café culture of Sydney, Australia, the space channels urban chic with recycled wood counters and contemporary light fittings. Come for breakfast or lunch to enjoy Fair Trade and organic coffees; freshly squeezed fruit juices; and an array of pastries, sandwiches, and salads. The artisanal bread is baked in-house every day, and features in mouthwatering dishes that range from smashed avo on toast to roast beef and turkey sandwiches. Craving bacon? The café serves a beef variety in accordance with Muslim culture. Vegan? There are several plant-based mylks to choose from.
Those with an incurable sweet tooth will find themselves irresistibly drawn to Pâtisserie Bennis Habous in the heart of the French-era Quartier Habous district. The bakery first opened in 1930 and since then has become a Casablanca icon famous for its traditional Moroccan pastries. These are made according to recipes and methods that have been handed down from generation to generation for many years, and include both sweet and savory options. Expect to queue to get into the beautifully decorated shop with its blue, white, and yellow-painted tiles. Once inside, let the passionate owner guide you through your choices, which range from mini pastillas to cookies laced with honey and nuts.