February 27, 2014 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Casablanca: Discovering New Horizons While Staying in Town

Non-smokers friendly

Phone Number: +961 1 369334

Address: Dar Al Mreisseh Street, Beirut, Ain EL Mreisseh, Lebanon

Website:

Price Range: 0-0 $

Casablanca Casablanca
4.25 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:85/100

Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 9/10

Ambiance / Music: 8/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 28/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 8/10

Authenticity is key at Casablanca, a unique restaurant set in an old white Lebanese house on Ain Mreiseh. Facing a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea, this spot is a true gem in the heart of Beirut. Stepping into their stand-alone set up, one feels that they have traveled... at least this is what I felt when I was there...
 
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I don't think that there's anyone out there who's not familiar with Casablanca. More so, every one agrees that this place, which has been open for a long while now, serves amazing food in a professional ambiance. Competing with the newbies in town is not even an issue. Casablanca is on a realm of its own. The fresh setup welcomes you for lunch and dinner, seven days a week and serving a large variety of organic preparations blending international cuisine together with seafood from the local market.

It took me sometime to write a detailed review about Casablanca simply because I wanted it to be special. I had to choose the right people to accompany me, and of course I was waiting for the right mood. I wanted the experience to be memorable on all fronts. We walked into a white building facing the waterfront where an old Lebanese house is  transformed into a little heaven... a culinary heaven awaits you inside.

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We arrived at 9pm, gave our car to the valet parking to find ourselves in front of a large neon red sign. No, it's not the Moulin Rouge, but Casablanca Beirut. Push the door and start going up the stairs... Be prepared to climb two floors before reaching the dining area. On the way up, a large artistic rustic old Almaza sign decorates the staircase. As we got closer to the dining space, a tasty smell warms you up for the night. I was so excited to taste the food...
 
Welcome to Casablanca... where the ambiance is colorful in a large square space. The place is simple yet relaxing. I personally liked the dimmed lighting, enjoyed the metallic benches and appreciated the wooden tables and loved the music; many don't.
 
The architectural notes:
  • The high ceiling eliminates any chance of any possible claustrophobic feelings
  • To the right, next to the stairs, is a long bar filled with bottles
  • The white arched walls remind you that you are in an old Lebanese house
  • The red light, blinking on the street, projects its shades on the internal walls of the restaurant
  • Two walls are painted in red while the two others are covered in blue. Yellow takes over the inner space
  • The floor is still kept in it's naturally rustic marble touch
  • Facing the bar, on the blue wall, a large painting decorates the main restaurant wall
  • All the tables are square and made of wood, while chairs and benches are heavy metallic structures
  • At the back, on the left side of the stairs is the kitchen door, cut in half in a funky way
The menu:
  • Petits Plats
  • Grands Plats
  • Desserts and Coffee
  • Drinks
  • Lunch and Brunch
  • Casablanca carte des vins
Dinner started with a plate of olive oil and zoube3 thyme, served with a basket of French bread (Pain de Campagne) cut in halves. We enjoyed these appetizing bites so much that we asked for another basket of bread before even ordering the main course.
 
I wanted to taste everything... We ordered a lot:
  • Ceviche: Today's special was not to be missed. On a round plate, two corn pieces are served next to lemon seasoned raw white fish accompanying some sweet potato cubes. Just perfect!
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  • Steamed Leaf salmon: Crunchy leaf wraps a piece of fresh smoked salmon. Will WOW be enough to describe this heavenly creation? How fresh, how tasty and how creative. I loved it!
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  • Cabbage Tempura rolls: This is a superb creation. Unique of its kind, the maki-like rolls are to die for. Steamed cabbage rolled around shrimp tempura and rice. The pieces are served warm, where the inner filling and the subtle crunchiness of shrimps just made me smile. Bravo
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  • Summer Rolls: Steamed rice paper, vermicelli, steamed shrimps, avocado and mint with cucumber dip. As simple as they might look, these are just great. It's incredible how simple things look and taste awesome at Casablanca. The freshness of the vegetables is really superb
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  • Crispy Duck salad: A few slices of duck stuffed into a bed of greenery. Crunchy and well cooked. The salad is perfectly seasoned
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  • Pasta of the day, Clams Pasta: Cooked al dente, this plate is up to the standard of a fine dining Italian restaurant. This tasty creation is light yet perfectly seasoned. There's a hint of subtle saltiness... Not to mention the generous portions of seafood used. Yummy!
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  • Crisp Corn Breaded Seafood: A plate that's fresh, generous and simple at the same time. It might remind you of preparations your grandma would do for you. Rice, seafood and vegetables, all perfectly cooked, adequately seasoned and served with balsamic syrup. The burst of flavors is incredible.
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  • Grilled Tender Beef: This plate was so good that we ordered it twice. Marinated with sake and fresh mushrooms, this beef is called tender for a reason. The meat is like no other, juicy and filled with tasty flavors. Lovely indeed!
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  • Simmered Salmon Filet: I enjoyed the juiciness of the salmon and its grilling aftertaste. One of the healthiest plates around and should not be missed
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  • Minted Lamb Chops: Dig in; the minted green sauce is deep inside. This tender meat is served with grilled seasonal vegetables with a fatty and juicy feel that's enjoyable. Grilled tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, eggplant and pepper
Casablanca_Restaurant_Beirut_NoGarlicNoOnions53 Since food was so good and so enjoyable, the anticipating for desserts was rising, as we were sure that more enjoyment was yet to come. And believe me when I say, these desserts are extraordinarily great...
  • Green Tea Macaron: Just look at it, how simple yet majestic this piece of pastry. This same dessert, by Oslo, is also served at Le Sushi Bar. This one is better than all the others I've had before. The most important thing is that its hardness is perfect and of course its premium taste as well
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  • Chocolate cake: WOW, WOW, WOW... It ignited many of my childhood emotions. My regards to the chef
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  • Creme Brûlée au Gingembre: Thick caramel in a bowl covering warm cream. Ginger caresses your palatal mucosa in style
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  • Cheesecake, an original Canadian recipe: It's superb. I'm speechless
Casablanca_Restaurant_Beirut_NoGarlicNoOnions59 What's nice about Casablanca is its simplicity and authenticity. Waiters talk to you like you have been their customers for long. Connoisseurs of good food and amateurs of organic cuisine all meet up at least once a month to relive a unique experience they know by heart. Count me in guys; I'll be coming back soon.



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been there? what was your impression? (7.2/10)

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happy
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good
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euhh
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meh!
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nah!
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never again