One of the concepts that comes in travel is the search for authenticity — that quintessential experience that can’t be replicated. We see in our daily lives when we dine at ethnic restaurants in America or buy a jar of pasta sauce that claims to be authentic.
Thus, when you’re in Morocco, you want to have a meal out of a tagine served by a man in a fez while surrounded by Moroccan interiors. Founded in 1958 and located near Casablanca city center, Al Mounia satisfies all your stereotypes of Moroccan dining sans the belly dancers.
One of the oldest restaurants in the city, it’s the one restaurant everyone will agree is a must visit. When you walk through the courtyard into the main dining area, you realize that this is the prototype Moroccan restaurant that other “authentic” Moroccan restaurants try to copy.
It’s a true culinary iconic restaurant that tourists and locals frequent. Thinking it would be crowded for dinner, I went during lunchtime and was the first person to arrive. At least I can have my meal is peace.
My fez-wearing pointed out that he was in the NY Times 36 Hours In video that highlighted Al Mounia. I called it up on my phone, and there he was.
The menu is traditional Moroccan cuisine highlighting it’s French influences. I started with their famous savoy pastilla — filo dough filled with spiced chicken or lamb and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
My main was the chicken and almond served with hearty bread. It’s a simple dish but, damn, it was mighty tasty. The combo pf the sweet almonds and savory chicken in broth was amazing. Then the bread you can soak up all the juices. Drinking it up with some mint tea and you have yourself the best meal in the whole country.