Where to Eat and Drink in Casablanca
Morocco is a culinary paradise, internationally famous for its flavourful and meat-heavy (sorry vegetarians) cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, there are various options for our plant-eating guests; basically all meals could be adapted and tailored to your preferences. Veggies are often used in Moroccan cuisine, try zaalouk or tektouka. In Casablanca,you’ll eat and you’ll eat well, especially in someone’s home if blessed enough to earn that privilege.
First and foremost, tap water is drinkable although rumours claim it induces kidney stone formation… The best way to stay hydrated is to drink water but also enjoy the natural fruit juice the country has to offer. If you’re lucky enough, try handia (prickly pear), which is a seasonal, exotic delight. Street food depends on your stomach. You can munch on some good boiled babouche (snails), found on Sidi Abderrahmane street perpendicular to the Morocco Mall. From personal experience, more people have regrettably been food poisoned by restaurant chains (Kentucky badly Fried Chicken) than street food vendors. You can find street vendors in markets such as the Medina and Marché Badr, but unlike other touristy cities, they’re not located in one area like Jamaa El Fna in Marrakech. Ramadan (the holy month) is exceptional in the sense that behaviours and habits drastically change during the 30-day period: people fast during the day but restaurants stay open for non-Moroccans and women. At night, life starts for locals, meaning restaurants close relatively late. Alcohol is not served during those days and can only be sold to non-Moroccans in specific restaurants. Bars, pubs and clubs take their yearly break during this time.
Famous Moroccan dishes have a specific day of the week where you can pretty much find them anywhere. Rfissa, a chicken, onion, and lentil dish with fenugreek, served atop a bed of shredded msemen is broadly found on Wednesdays and the infamous couscous, which needs no introduction, is served on Fridays. Typical local delicacies include maakouda (potato cake), Khli’ (dried meat- with eggs), zaazaa, a wholesome multi-layer smoothie with chocolate and nuts on top which is so heavy it is a literal meal on its own. If you’re feeling adventurous, try koriine (cow trotter), cooked in a tasty broth and served with chickpeas and corn.
Due to high taxes, alcohol is expensive in Morocco so it would be smart to get some inbound in the duty-free shop. Ultimately, tea is the popular drink and is part of the national tradition symbolising hospitality and welcomeness (and is an effective digestive).
La Siesta in Bourgogne is rated for its efficiency and cheap eats, Scala is the go-to brunch place if you want to blend tradition with modernity in a picturesque location. For those who enjoy a beer, check out Bar La Cigale, they only serve one type of beer, spécial, a domestic lager. Be sure to ask for Naima, she is the waitress but has the charisma of an owner. Last but not least, audiophiles’ should head to People’s Choice Records, a record store slash listening café with a high fidelity sound system.