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!
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.
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