Casablanca, Morocco is one of the most interesting places that I have ever visited because it is very conservative, yet progressive at the same time. This north African city is deeply rooted in Muslim culture, but heavily inundated with French influence. The architecture is stunning, and the nightlife makes you feel like you are in Europe. The Mohammed V Mosque in Casablanca is something to behold. Built entirely of marble, the structure is actually sinking because it is so heavy. But that doesn’t take away from its beauty.
If you are interested in French food, you should absolutely hit up Relais de Paris. Best Salade de Chevre chaud (goat cheese salad)! Afterwards be sure to check out Skybar, an outdoor Euro disco with killer music, great view, and strong cocktails! Who doesn’t love that? Another fun hot spot is called Bound, which is a smaller, more loungey venue that has a stage for live performances. I went there right after arriving in Casablanca, which was great because it eased me in to all of the fun!
For fine Moroccan cuisine, you have to hit up Al Mounia. It was my favorite restaurant of the entire trip! From the olives to the couscous, the dishes are divine. Be sure to try the lemon chicken tagine and the lamb skewers (p.s. I don’t even like lamb). That is how yummy it is. And the decor is full of rich colors and gorgeous fabrics, but it felt very comfortable like being in a friend’s living room. If you are looking for a quick shawarma on the go, stop by Aladdin. Fresh, delish, inexpensive, and they have great french fries!
Since I was in a wedding in Morocco, I had to get beautified before all of the festivities. Enter Carita Paris, one of the best beauty salons around. I got my hair, nails, and makeup done, and I swear, the stylists that I worked with actually listened to me and delivered exactly what I wanted, unlike many stateside hairdressers that I have used! Also, I am a big fan of the Carita Paris Fluide de Beaute 14, a beautifully scented oil which I use all of the time. You can read all about my obsession with it here.
As far as shopping goes, there are a couple of interesting options. For a real Moroccan experience, definitely go to the Habous (the Souk). You can purchase traditional Moroccan clothing for both men and women like djellabas (hooded robes), kaftans, and baboosh (slippers). There are also beautiful home goods like decorated plates, wooden tables, ornate gold and silver pieces, as well as the most amazing olive market I have ever seen! Barrels and barrels of local olives, French cornichons (pickles), and chilis. In fact, Morocco is known for both their olive and argon oils, which can be eaten or used on the body. The Morocco Mall is a modern shopping center designed by an architect from Dubai and it is huge. It has an IMAX theater and all the designer shops that you love-Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci, etc. But my theory is, I can buy all of that here, so when in Casa, I shop as the locals do.
And a trip to Morocco would not be complete without a customary tea service. We went to the most charming garden cafe, Scala, which is surrounded by an old fort. My new favorite non-alcoholic beverage! Once prepared, it is poured from a distance, creating quite a show, and it is also a sign of hospitality in the Moroccan culture. So don’t refuse it when offered. It is a simple recipe-gunpowder tea, sugar, and fresh mint. But the taste is amaze! I guess everything tastes better in Casa………..stayed tuned for part 2 when I continue my travels through Morocco and I show you the best of Marrakech!