AFFORDABLE LUXURY: WHERE TO EAT IN CASABLANCA
Up to 25, 50 or 100 euros: in Casablanca there are gourmet experiences to be enjoyed by all. Find out how to make the most of a limited budget.
Casablanca is an eclectic melting pot of different cultures. In this port city on the Morocco's Atlantic coast, African, Arab, Spanish and French spirits cohabit and are reflected in people’s faces, in architecture and art, and of course in cuisine.
Casablanca boasts the world’s tallest minaret, it is the economic capital of Morocco and one of the most populated and important cities on the African continent. Consequently, it is also an expensive metropolis but, with our affordable luxury tips and a favourable exchange rate, it holds even greater appeal as a tourist destination.
Here are some tips to explore more luxurious side of the town, to discover the best restaurants in Casablanca with some ideas for experiences you can enjoy while spending up to 25, 50 or 100 euros.
FROM 0 TO 25 EUROS
Start with a hearty breakfast in one of the most ancient Moroccan cake shops in town, located in the verdant district of the Quartier Habous, not far from the king’s palace. Don’t miss the Bennis Habous patisserie with its yellow and blue tiled walls. The beauty of this place is its history and an infinite variety of pastries: almond, sesame and coconut just for starters (10 Euros per kilo).
A good choice for an aperitif or drink is Rick’s Cafe, the legendary bar featured in the film with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman (which was actually shot in California). A bit on the touristy side but you will not forgive yourself for not stopping off at least once to enjoy a couple of Negroni 200 (15 Euros approximately), accompanied by the notes of “As time goes by”, sung by house pianist Issam.
If you want to try a typical Maroccan restaurant, go to Al Mounia, and ask for a table in the courtyard. For this budget, you can order an authentic couscous, tajine or pastilla under the trees, sipping a traditional fresh mint tea.
FROM 25 TO 50 EUROS
The most authentic chic luxury can be experienced by crossing the threshold of the Four Seasons Casablanca, close to the Anfaplace shopping centre, which enjoys an impressive view of the Lalla Meryem beach and the Ocean. Go up to the fifth floor and enter the Bleu, a modern French-style brasserie specialized in locally caught fresh fish cooked "à la minute", under the watchful eye of chef Guillame Blancard. The dish to order is Lobster Salad with Fennel, Orange and Vanilla and your budget will still allow you a glass of Chardonnay.
Ander Eguidazu is the house chef of the El Cenador, an Andalusian restaurant serving the best paella in Casablanca. Even if you choose the luxury version with lobster and seafood, you will still be within the limits of your budget (40 Euros approximately).
Le Cabestan is a legend. Opened in 1927, this venue on the Atlantic ocean has always been a magnet for the international jet set, politicians and artists. Now, thanks to art director Nicolas Perez, it has become a luxury and creativity concept consisting of a restaurant, beach bar and a nightclub called Social Club. One of the most fascinating views of the city accompanies a cuisine that is lavish and sensual, vintage but never dated. Its fish and crustaceans never disappoint and neither does the Shoulder of lamb caramelized with mountain herb honey, gratin of aubergines with goat’s cheese, walnuts and piquilos. You won’t be able to afford much more but the Cabestan experience alone regales plenty of satisfaction.
FROM 50 TO 100 EUROS
The Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche is another treat you can afford. This is a five-star establishment just a few minutes’ walk away from the Medina and the Hassan II mosque. Le Casart is the panoramic terrace where drinks are served, but it is also worth looking in at the Atelier Oriental, where chef Mourad Mahfoud has chosen a cuisine that melds the most refined Moroccan, Lebanese, Turkish and Syrian culinary traditions. Try the Tagine samak: Tagine de dorade et coquillages or the Lamb stuffed with rice and kefta, served with its gravy (20 Euros per serving).
The refined venue Iloli is the best Japanese restaurant in the city. You can eat at the counter, at the table or outside on the terrace with its teak and bamboo furnishings. Chef Yusuke Furu Kawa has worked with Robuchon in his three-star Tokyo restaurant. Don’t miss the Teppanyaki de bœuf, sauce teriyaki à la moutarde, and the 2-way Japanese seven spice calamari (about 20 Euros for each small serving).
If you have seen a photo of Sens, the magnificent restaurant on the 27th floor of the Kenzi Tower, you may think it is unaffordable. Well, think again. The panoramic “bird’s eye” view of Casablanca accompanies the delights of French cuisine with a Moroccan touch. Here are some examples: 3-way salmon: “gravelax, fumé et Maki” or Tuna à la plancha with coral lentils and bacon. All served with a bowl of cardamom-aromatized rice, instead of bread (this budget will stretch to 3 courses and a drink).