Casablanca, Venice Beach

When my friend said we were having her birthday dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Casablanca, I thought she meant “Casa Blanca.” I was wrong. The Venice Beach restaurant we went to was actually named after the movie and Moroccan city.

When you walk in, there’s Casablanca tchotchke everywhere – the walls, the shelves… even a life-size mannequin of Humphrey Bogart wearing his trademark trench coat encased in glass. The restaurant has been open for over 30 years and apparently, they have one of the largest Casablanca film memorabilia collections in the country.

Besides the decor, the restaurant is also known for their homemade flour tortillas. I could have eaten these all night. They were piping hot and each one had a slightly different shape – definitely a sign that it was handmade. You can see the tortilla in the background and the “muy, muy, grande margarita” in the foreground.

In terms of food, they have your typical Mexican restaurant fare of enchiladas, burritos, and tacos but the waiter told me that they are known for their calamari dishes. He suggested I get the Calamari Acapulco which is basically shrimp and crab sauteed in a whole lot of garlic and butter served with rice and vegetables.

It was a little too buttery for me so I ended up taking my leftovers home. The shrimp and calamari were prepared just right – not overcooked and rubbery – but I do wish there was a little more acid to cut down on the butter.

This is a great place for a birthday and it’s definitely family-friendly. The atmosphere is really fun and kitschy – but what else did you expect from a Mexican restaurant named after a Moroccan city?


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