Casablanca: Comfortable, Down-To-Earth Moroccan Cuisine

. February 29, 2020.
Casablanca’s vegetarian combo— falafel, baba ghanoush, zalook, and shakshouka.

Casablanca, on Washtenaw, close to Downtown Ypsilanti, has a comfortable, down-to-earth atmosphere, hiding it’s 35-year-ago provenance as a Taco Bell. The manager/owner, Mohammad Mohammad, is hands-on, ensuring satisfaction for each customer, assuring that each dish placed on the table is properly presented. The abundant natural light from ample windows gives the dining area a warm, cheerful vibe, creating a family-friendly venue, perfect for celebrating events, going out to lunch with friends or taking your significant other on a date!

Fatherly inspiration


Mohammad was inspired to cook by his late father, a good cook, who taught by example. Mohammad, who emigrated from Jordan in the 1980s to attend the engineering school at UM, has a business partner in the Casablanca venture from Morocco. Mohammad began his career working in food service at Domino Farms and has now moved up to owning and operating his own restaurant. Before opening Casablanca five years ago, Mohammad owned a grocery store, specializing in fresh fruit and produce for almost a decade. He learned from experience that his passion was to be in the foodservice industry.

Authentic Moroccan cuisine

The menu at Casablanca is expansive and adventurous. There are plenty of options to choose from, for those that are experienced with Mediterranean cuisine, or for those of whom have never tried Moroccan or Middle Eastern selections. The spices, which flavor the dishes, like the ras hanout spice mix (over a dozen spices in different proportions, which commonly includes cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric) are imported and authentic. The Moroccan influence of Mohammad’s business partner results in food that is unique to the area and true to its roots. We tried multiple dishes from the menu, including the falafel sandwich, hummus, baba ganoush, zaalook and sweet lamb curry.

Couscous with chicken tagine.

The falafel sandwich, an amazing combination of house-made falafel, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, tahini sauce and hummus, all wrapped in pita, exceeded expectations. We couldn’t get enough of the hummus, which was creamy and tasty, unlike anything you can buy in the grocery store. They offer a variety of vegetarian dishes, so there are options for everyone. The baba ganoush, mashed charred eggplant, was perfectly seasoned with a smoky taste and a smooth, airy texture. The zalook, eggplant with tomatoes in a dip-like serving, had a bit of a kick, but in the best way possible. We finished our meal with leftovers to eat later!

If you’re looking for authenticity, Casablanca is the place to be.

Casablanca Moroccan Restaurant
2333 Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti.
734-961-7828 | casablancami.com
11am-10pm, Monday-Saturday
Noon-7pm, Sunday

Trending

The Potential of Heavy Color’s Music to Heal & to Manifest Real Change

Heavy Color are a Toledo-based duo of avant-psychedelia composers. They talk a little bit about their work on the Rights of Nature documentary and using music to heal.

Album review: Sara Marie Barron’s ‘Existential Glam’

There is no better time to start listening to some new music. Sara Marie Barron’s newest album, “Existential Glam,” will be available for streaming Sept 25.

Food Insecurity Remains a Critical Issue for Washtenaw County Residents

The pandemic has shown a light on the food insecurity crisis in Washtenaw County, and is slated to get worse. Here is what’s happening and how you can help!

They Exist!: Cocktails-to-Go and Who’s Serving Them

Ann Arbor bars and restaurants serve up drinks for takeout. Here is where! With fewer in-person dining options available and the ever-present risk of COVID-19 in public spaces, it’s never been more appealing to drink adult beverages at home. Luckily, a recent change to Michigan’s liquor control laws now allows those staying in to enjoy