My two day passing through Casablanca hit on the highlights the city has to offer. I basically let the 36 Hours in Casablanca video from the New York Times tell me where to go. Heck, I’m paying for a subscription, might as well use it to its fullest capabilities.
Which brings me to Rick’s Cafe, the real restaurant based on a fake restaurant from a classic movie that never filmed in Casablanca. The movie buff in me wants to point out the name of the joint in the movie was actually called Rick’s Cafe Americain. Ah, those pesky copyright laws.
I was expecting a place you’d find at Universal Studios or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Quite the contrary, it’s a classy joint where you should wear something decent and leave the sneakers at your hotel room.
Casablanca is such a noisy, smoggy and traffic-congested city that an hour of relative calm where you can enjoy a classic cocktail in a quiet setting is welcome. A cheap Uber ride from where ever you are in the city is worth it.
The cocktail menu sticks to the classics with a few of their own house specials. I went with their house special and a negroni, which is my go to when I’m unimpressed with the bottle selection. As with I mentioned with my previous post, don’t expect spectacular libations in a predominantly Muslim country.
I didn’t have dinner, which ranges from traditional Moroccan, seafood and continental. My excitement and interest in Rick’s Cafe lasted two cocktails and a conversation with an American couple on their honeymoon. Guess what her favorite movie was?
You’re not going to Rick’s Cafe for a culinary experience. You’re going to soak in the atmosphere. There’s a piano where you can live out your dreams of being Sam and playing tunes from the movie. That’s not an exaggeration, you are welcome to play it when there’s no live music.
While the space is not an exact replica from the movie, it does borrow the highlights from the set like the arched pathways, palm trees, tiles and romantic lighting.
I have to admit, I really liked it. It’s a little bit of a cheesy idea, but they make it work. In the big picture, when will I ever be in Casablanca again? Might as well live the cliche.