Casablanca is a small, easy-to-miss restaurant on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice. One would assume it’s North African, right? Wait – is that parking space marked “Humphrey Bogart“?? Named for the classic movie, not the cuisine, it contains one of the world’s largest collections of Casablanca memorabilia.
But – never fear – the food is NOT an afterthought! Start with fresh, handmade flour tortillas that are so fluffy, they nearly float off the plate. Dip them in the mild green salsa with chunks of fresh avocado and cheese. In the evenings, don’t miss the margarita cart with its smiling bartender who will create a custom drink for you using one of their 250 tequilas. I’m all about the smoky mezcal with a chili tequila float on top. Be warned, though: these are not the made-with-bottled-mix margaritas you get at a chain restaurant — they are absolutely delicious but decidedly deadly.
Casablanca is famous for calamari steaks – flattened discs, dipped in flour, and lightly pan fried. My favorite topping is the salsa fresca (chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, and chilies) which makes a great contrast to the buttery squid. The green salad has bits of fruit, jicama, and a fantastic avocado dressing, the rice is topped with mild white cheese, and the fresh veggies are nicely steamed. It’s one of my favorite meals anywhere! Great desserts too but, to be honest, I usually have no room left!
Of course, you can get traditional Mexican dishes too – but, really, why would you??
Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.