Many people visiting Morocco enter and leave the country via Casablanca and if they stay overnight are confronted with the big question; where shall we eat?
The View from Fez has been on the case and has come up with a few recommendations. Here are our top five starting at the top and working down.
#1 RICK'S CAFE
"Come to Casablanca and live the dream", says Kathy Kriger, owner of Rick's Cafe in Casablanca. And if you're a fan of the film, it's a wonderful way to spend an evening.
Now into it's seventh year, Rick's has become an institution in the city. The mythical saloon from the 1942 film Casablanca is housed in a beautiful art deco building built against the walls of the old medina, and has been styled to look just like the movie. Sculpted arches, Syrian brass lamps with beads and plants create a superb atmosphere, and of course, there's a pianist - not Sam, but Issam, from Rabat. The film plays silently on screens on the first floor, adding to the ambiance.
But it's not just some touristy gimmick - the setting is excellent, service superior, and best of all, the food at Rick's is some of the best in the whole of Morocco. The menu specialises in Casablanca's fresh fish, vegetables and fruit.
"When I was planning it, I described Rick's Café as more than a restaurant and bar", says Kathy Kriger, an American woman who's lived in Morocco for 12 years. "It captured my passion for architectural preservation, decoration, food, music and entertaining - and got built because of my perserverance and optimism. The development took two years - lots of laughter, lots of tears, and opened on March 1, 2004 to rave reviews. Rick's Cafe was already an institution thanks to the immortal film Casablanca, and the spirit of Rick's has some of the mythical quality of the movie".
Recently The View from Fez Tour of Morocco chose Rick's as the venue for their final night in Morocco. It was an evening to remember with great service and ambiance as well as superb cuisine. A rare treat!
Find Rick's at 248 Boulevard Sour Jdid in Casablanca's Medina. Ph 0522 27 42 07/08
#2 Port de Pêche - Casablanca Harbour
If "eat where the locals do" is any guide, then Port de Pêche is a winner. Seafood tagines as well as fried and baked dishes are on offer. Go for the fresh fish. The setting and style is delightfully informal with none of the "French restaurant" nonsense seen in some of the cities eateries. Dinner costs about $30. They bring the fish to the table to make sure it's what you ordered. Go early as by 9 pm the queue outside will be growing longer by the minute. This is a favourite with the crew from The View from Fez.
#3 À Ma Bretagne - Boulevard Sidi Abder Rahmane
Probably one of the best French restaurant in North Africa. All the classic dishes are on the menu, so take your time over some duck (delicious) or the squid in the snail-butter sauce. The wine list is extensive and expensive.
However food will cost you around $60 for dinner.
On a warm night, book outside on the terrace for a great view. They have a website which is unfortunately not as good as their food and twice as pretentious. www.amabretagne.com
#3 Sakura Restaurant - Sheraton Hotel, 100 Avenue des F.A.R
Casablanca's true international atmosphere comes out in the numerous cuisines represented throughout the city; this popular restaurant serves Japanese teppanyaki. Meals are prepared at your table and the food and atmosphere are pure Asian. Dinner is about $25.
#4 Le Cabestan - Phare d' El Hank
If you want fabulous French food with a seaside view and the in-crowd of the establishment this is the place for you. Located at Phare d' El Hank near the El-Hank lighthouse. Steak with foie gras is fine ,as is the lobster. Dinner from $40. The favourite restaurant of French President Giscard d'Estaing and ours when we have just got a new book contract and want to live it up.
#5 Dar Beida - Hyatt Regency
While the food and service is wonderful, the Dar Beida is the full-on tourist experience and so if you have an aversion to bellydancers insisting that you get up and make a fool of yourself, then stay away.
Traditional cuisine, from couscous to tajine, is served with all the usual Moroccan flair and the price of the dinner at around $28 includes those bellydancers, musicians and singers.
We would love to hear about your favourite restaurants in Casa - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org