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Rick’s Café: Recapturing the Romance of Casablanca


Nestled in the heart of Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, Rick’s Café is more than just a dining destination; it is a cultural icon that encapsulates the romance and intrigue of the classic 1942 film “Casablanca.” Established in 2004 by former American diplomat Kathy Kriger, Rick’s Café was designed to recreate the mythical saloon from the Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman movie of the same name. This elegant restaurant and piano bar not only offers a culinary journey but also transports its guests back to the romantic era of 1940s Morocco, making it a must-visit for film enthusiasts and lovers of history alike.

Historical and Cultural Context

Although “Casablanca” was entirely shot in a Hollywood studio, the film left many longing for the exotic mystique of its setting. Rick’s Café was created to fulfill that longing by offering an authentic experience that mirrors the movie’s setting. Situated in a traditional Moroccan mansion, or riad, which was renovated to evoke the film’s famous décor, the café is located near the Hassan II Mosque and facing the Atlantic Ocean, providing an atmospheric backdrop reminiscent of the movie’s era.

Design and Atmosphere

Rick’s Café is a careful reconstruction of the film’s American-style café, featuring curved arches, balconies, and an interior dominated by a sweeping bar, brass lighting, and richly upholstered furniture. The building itself is a restored courtyard house with a central garden, allowing natural light to filter through the stained-glass windows, creating a warm and inviting ambiance. The décor includes items from the period, such as an authentic 1930s Pleyel piano and ceiling fans that gently stir the air, enhancing the nostalgic feel.

The Main Bar and Dining Area

The heart of Rick’s Café is its grand piano bar, where nightly live jazz and piano performances recreate the classic scenes from “Casablanca.” The dining area is elegantly set with white linen and colonial-style furniture, offering a view of the grand piano and the inner courtyard. Guests can dine under the soft glow of wrought-iron chandeliers, surrounded by walls adorned with memorabilia and photos related to the film.


The menu at Rick’s Café offers a sophisticated blend of Moroccan and international cuisine, prepared with a contemporary twist. The kitchen sources fresh, local ingredients, ensuring that each dish serves as a representation of Morocco’s rich culinary traditions. Signature dishes include lamb tagine with apricots, seafood pastilla, and a variety of fresh, Atlantic fish and shellfish, reflecting the coastal location of Casablanca.

Special Features

  • Cocktails and Wine: The bar offers a selection of classic cocktails, including the famous ‘French 75’ featured in the movie, alongside a comprehensive list of Moroccan and international wines.
  • Desserts: The dessert menu features both traditional Moroccan sweets and classic French pastries, providing a perfect end to the dining experience.

Cultural Significance

Rick’s Café has not only become a culinary landmark but also a cultural institution in Casablanca. It attracts a diverse clientele, from tourists and expatriates to local Moroccans. The café hosts various cultural events, including themed parties, film screenings, and live music nights, which contribute to Casablanca’s contemporary cultural scene while honoring its cinematic heritage.

Challenges and Achievements

Operating an establishment like Rick’s Café in the modern context of Casablanca comes with its challenges, including maintaining the historical integrity of the setting while meeting contemporary standards of service and cuisine. However, the café has successfully managed to become a beloved fixture in Casablanca’s dining landscape, celebrated both for its atmosphere and its gastronomy.

Visiting Rick’s Café

Rick’s Café is open seven days a week, offering lunch and dinner services. Reservations are recommended, particularly if visitors wish to experience the live music in the evenings. The café also offers a private dining area that can be reserved for special occasions, providing a more intimate experience.


Rick’s Café offers more than just a meal; it provides an experience steeped in the romance and nostalgia of one of Hollywood’s most cherished films. It stands as a tribute to the timeless allure of “Casablanca,” inviting guests to step back in time and relive the movie’s magic. Whether you are a die-hard fan of the film or a newcomer to its charms, a visit to Rick’s Café is sure to be a memorable highlight of any trip to Casablanca.

Additional Resources

For visitors interested in exploring more of Casablanca’s attractions, the nearby Hassan II Mosque and the Villa des Arts offer further insights into the city’s rich history and vibrant culture, complementing the historical and cinematic journey begun at Rick’s Café.

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