Vegan Food Finds in Casablanca, Morocco

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Whether you have seen the movie or not, you know it exists. Casablanca. You may know nothing about it but you have heard of it. Everyone has heard of it. Including me, so when I was planning a trip to Spain and saw Casablanca on the map, I stopped. I could not be so close to the infamous Casablanca and not stop to see what it was all about!

We were headed to Barcelona and there it was. Just a jump over the pond…ok maybe it was a really big pond but it was close enough and I imagined this city to be magical so off we went.

Well, it wasn’t the majestic Moroccan fantasy I had anticipated BUT it was something to see and I am sure glad I did. Casablanca is more of an industrial city. It’s big, busy, full of buildings and full of people….but, there is an amazing Mosque you can tour, tons of beaches with beach bars and some really really good food and interesting atmospheres so all in all, I felt it was a win.

Vegan Moroccan Food

As far as vegan life in Casablanca, you do will be golden with the endless options of couscous dishes, tagine and Moroccan salads. A quick FYI on these dishes—

1. Moroccan Salads

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When you order this dish, you will receive 4 to 12 different salads. They are small, 2-6 bites each and contain veggies such as zucchini, eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers and beans. For fat, they use argon oil, which is made from a nut.

2. Tagine

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There are meat tagines and vegetable tagines. Vegetable tagine usually consists of potatoes, carrots, turnips, zucchini, spices and herbs and topped with a slice of tomato and slivers of preserved lemon. This is by far my favorite vegan Moroccan food.

3. CousCous

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Like tagine, there are meat couscous entrées but almost always, there was a vegan version. The veggies in the couscous were the same as the tagine. If you are avoiding gluten, you can ask for vegetables and rice. I did this frequently just by saying “Just like the vegetable couscous but with rice instead of couscous.” They got it every time.

Restaurants for Vegans in Casablanca

When visiting Casablanca, check out these two restaurants. I can assure you, they are worth it!

1. Rick’s Café

Rick’s Café is where it goes down in the infamous movie. Surprisingly, the café came after the movie. Rick’s Café was just a movie set but in 2008, an American diplomat crafted the current café after the one in the movie (It is a crazy story. If your interested, click here).

This place was truly special. A pianist, beautiful lightning, a traditional riad shape with multiple floors and an open center. Truly magical…but beyond the setting was the food.

To be honest, there were not multiple vegan options. There were couscous dishes and tagine dishes, but the tagine on the menu was not vegan. With my mind set on having vegan Moroccan food, I asked for a vegetable and rice dish and they brought one out no questions asked. It was AMAZING! They used all the traditional vegetables and seasonings that makes Moroccan cuisine so special. They had the plums and the fruit that sweetened the dish perfectly. The music, service, food and ambiance would make this place special even if it wasn’t a replica of the world famous movie set. If you find yourself in Casablanca, make this check mark.

2. Umayyad

Man I wish I had more time in Casablanca only because I would have visited this restaurant again. This is not just an eating establishment. It embodies everything that is expected in Morocco. Oh, and it has delicious vegan Moroccan food. If you want to participate in the full monty, make your dinner reservation for late; 10 pm at the earliest.

The décor and ambiance is cozy yet classy. The menu has all the regulars plus a few unexpected additions. The food was phenomenal and the cocktail menu was super crafty. And then, halfway through dinner, the place turned up while the lights got turned down. Singers, musicians and belly dancers took turns making their way through the crowd providing endless entertainment. Everyone was in smiles and fellow dinners started to intermingle.

As tables wrapped up their dinner, people started ordering hookah and sweet smelling smoke spread throughout Umayyad. It wasn’t a club scene but it was definitely more interactive than a regular restaurant or bar…and with much better food. I spoke to several locals so can vouch that it isn’t a tourist trap so get a real Moroccan experience and make a rez at Umayyad.

A must see while visiting Casablanca…

Hassan II Mosque

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Free guided tours are offered every day several times. This place is magnificent. Not only will you gawk at the grandness and ornate inside but your guide will explain how the mosque functions, providing much insight to the Islamic religion and Muslim way of life.

Visiting Marrakech instead? Click here for information on what to expect when eating in Marrakech, Morocco.

LINKS

Rick’s Cafe

Umayyad

Hassan II Mosque

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