Rick's Café Casablanca

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Rick's Café Casablanca
Rick's Café in 2011.JPG
Rick's Café in 2011.
Restaurant information
EstablishedMarch 2004
Owner(s)The Usual Suspects S.A.
Street address248 Boulevard Sour Jdid, Place du Jardin Public, Casablanca
CityCasablanca
CountryMorocco
Coordinates33°36′19″N 7°37′13″W / 33.60523°N 7.62037°W / 33.60523; -7.62037Coordinates: 33°36′19″N 7°37′13″W / 33.60523°N 7.62037°W / 33.60523; -7.62037
Reservations+212 522 27 42 07
Websitewww.rickscafe.ma

Rick's Café Casablanca is a restaurant, bar and café located in the city of Casablanca, Morocco. Opened March 1, 2004,[1] the place was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie classic Casablanca. It is owned by The Usual Suspects company and is usually described as the real Rick's Café.[2]

Architecture and décor[edit]

Rick's Café Casablanca was developed by Kathy Kriger (1946–2018), a former American diplomat and commercial attaché in Morocco.[3] The restaurant is housed in a traditional Moroccan grand mansion with a central courtyard (riad), built in 1930. Two palm trees flank its front door, and the land placement allows for three facades: a distinctive streetfront entrance with heavy wooden doors that depict that of the film; a port-oriented façade that looks to the Atlantic; and a narrow dead-end access which was the former main entrance but is now the service entrance.[4]

Due to the age of the structure and proximity to the sea, the mansion was completely restored and renovated. American architect and interior designer Bill Willis conceived the decorative and architectural details reminiscent of the film: curved arches, a sculpted bar, balconies, balustrades as well as beaded and stencilled brass lighting and plants that cast luminous shadows on white walls. There is an authentic 1930s Pleyel piano and As Time Goes By is a common request to the in-house pianist.[5]

Rick's Café is also full of tile and wood work representing Morocco's craft industry. Fireplaces are of carved marble or painted tadelakt with intricate zellij tile patterns accenting the fireplaces and the risers of the central stairway. Tadelakt in muted colors cover walls throughout the restaurant, and the floors are set in hand made terra cotta tile.

Food[edit]

Food selections at Rick's Café takes advantage of Morocco's abundance in seafood. The menu offers a wide selection of fish from the traditional Sole meunière to John Dory crusted with black pepper, white wine and thyme. Steaks, foie gras, goat cheese salad with fresh figs and an American Crab Louie are among the dinner selections. Rick's Cheesecake and Brownies figure on the dessert menu, along with more exotic presentations highlighting local fresh fruit.

Music[edit]

Issam Chabaa plays piano nightly Tuesday through Sunday, a repertoire of standards reminiscent of the 1940s and 1950s, including classic French, Spanish and Brazilian songs along with American favorites such as Summertime, The Lady is a Tramp, Blue Moon and the inevitable As Time Goes By (several times a night). Sunday night is programmed for a Jam session where musicians passing through town,[6] and local amateurs join Issam for jazz improvisation. Between sets and at lunch a soundtrack of compiled standards and big band sounds provides background music.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Al Goodman (May 7, 2004). "Rick's Cafe opens in Casablanca". editioncnn.com.
  2. ^ Isambard Wilkinson (May 29, 2004). "Worldwide: Rick's Cafe returns to Casablanca". telegraph.co.
  3. ^ Kriger, Kathy (2012). Rick's Cafe : bringing the legend to life in Casablanca. Guilford, Conn.: Lyons Press. ISBN 978-0-7627-9044-9. OCLC 1249715611.
  4. ^ Nordland, Rod (2018-07-01). "'Play It Again, Issam': In Casablanca, a Cafe Is Still a Cafe". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-01-21.
  5. ^ "The New York Times". Style. January 29, 2004.
  6. ^ Barker, Guy (July 1, 2005). "Travels with my horn". Arts. London: guardian.co.uk.
  7. ^ "'Casablanca' lives on at Rick's Cafe". Los Angeles Times. 2018-11-11. Retrieved 2022-01-21.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]