Senegalese in Casablanca
After arriving at my hotel it was a little late, and there didn’t appear to be a wealth of options for food. The hotel bartender was kind enough to offer a recommendation for a restaurant just around the block adjacent to another hotel. After circling the block, I could find only two restaurants. One was a Senegalese place, and one appeared to be more local cuisine.
The local cuisine offerings were pretty slim, and every time I inquired about (pointed at) a menu item, the man simply said, “no.” There also didn’t appear to be much, if any, refrigeration of the meats, so it looked like this would be my first experience with Senegalese cooking. I don’t think the proprietor was at all disappointed when I departed without placing an order.
The Senegalese place around the corner consisted of a small first floor with a counter and a few tables, and a tight spiral staircase leading upstairs to another small room which appeared to be the main dining area. There were several plastic tables and chairs as well as couches along the walls for additional seating.
The waiter was very friendly and spoke little to no English, but recommended what seemed to be the main offerings of chicken with vegetables and couscous or fish with vegetables and couscous. The fish and chicken seemed to be of average quality, as did the veggies, but the couscous did not disappoint and certainly did a great job of propping up the less impressive meat and veggies. I am not at all familiar with Senegalese food or what a typical meal there would taste like or consist of, but the couscous we got at this place was legit. I’m a big fan of spicy food, and this couscous fit the bill. It had some real heat, and made the whole meal terrific in my book, although I’m not sure all my companions would agree.
The only other patrons had brought along their own drinks – red wine in water bottles by the looks of it, and I would definitely do the same if I went back, as the only real drink available for order was cold bottled water. In a predominantly Muslim country during Ramadan, this certainly didn’t come as a surprise, and one of the lessons learned over the course of this trip was – when you have a chance to purchase alcohol, take advantage, because these opportunities will be few and far between.
While I can’t speak to the authenticity of Senegalese cuisine we enjoyed at this place, I will say that it’s about as far from a tourist hotspot that’s possible, so I give it very high marks there. The food was spicy, and I loved it, but if you don’t enjoy a little heat, I’d probably stay away.