CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Casablanca: Discovering New Horizons While Staying in Town
Sunday Brunch at Casablanca: Indulge in Some Heavenly French Toast
Casablanca has been serving a loyal clientele for the last twenty years or so. In a traditional Lebanese house with a view onto Beirut's busiest waterfront avenue, it's a lively space where colorful walls blend with old traditional tiles to create one of the country's most iconic restaurants. We arrived at 9pm, gave our car to the valet to find ourselves in front of a large neon red sign. No, it's not the Moulin Rouge, but Casablanca Beirut. Push open the door and head up the stairs... Be prepared to climb two floors to reach the dining area. On the way up, a large rustic 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...
As old as it is with its rounded windows, balcony and high ceiling, Casablanca represents a nostalgia for old Beirut meeting with the future.
Sit at the bar or choose any of the tables located around the space. It's a Lebanese house which has been transformed into a restaurant. Some candles here and there, red flashy walls, big dangling paper lights coming from the ceiling with touches of yellow. It's too dark in here so you'll have to feel and taste more than see to understand what fills your plates.
An international cosmopolitan menu:
- Petits plats
- Grands plats
- Pasta of the day
- Fresh fish of the day
- One petit plat
- One grand plat
- Asian lunch box of the day
- Sunday brunch
Dinner starts when a metallic basket of bread lands on the table next to a plate of olive oil and zaatar. Meet the waiters, the same people who have been serving you for years, they laugh, smile, throw some jokes making you feel at home. At Casablanca everything is fresh, organic when possible and healthy when it should be. This restaurant masters the art of redefining simplicity.
I love the food... the simplicity of things, the passion poured within:
- Shrimp dumplings served warm, tender and moist, and feel fresh and healthy. They are loaded with flavors.
- Summer rolls, as fresh as they look. Steamed rice paper, vermicelli, steamed shrimp, avocado and mint with cucumber dip. As simple as they might look, these are just great. It's incredible how simple things look and how awesome they taste at Casablanca. The freshness of the vegetables is really superb!
- Cabbage Tempura rolls: this is an outstanding 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 really made me smile. Bravo!
- A yummy salad, fresh crunchy greens with apples and balsamic vinegar.
- Gioza, beautifully fried dumplings, lightly flaky on the outside with a pumping heart of love.
- When a white fish tartar has a certain finesse to it served with sliced fennel... you can only appreciate the savoir-faire of the chef.
- Puttanesca angel hair spaghetti (tomatoes, parsley, anchovies, black olives). Cooked al dente, this plate is up to the standard of a fine dining Italian restaurant. This tasty creation is light yet perfectly seasoned.
And they say, "Khitamouha Misk"... the desserts are so finger licking good! The cheesecake is really outstanding, I'd come back for it alone. This famous cheesecake is a creation by Oslo.
One thing I didn't appreciate: I don't like the plastic water bottle which doesn't suit the decor and concept of freshness that otherwise pervades. Sohat does have glass ones.
What's nice about Casablanca is its simplicity and authenticity. The waiters talk to you like you have been their customers for a long time. 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.
I love it here... if you haven't been to Casablanca yet, you're missing a lot!