Casablanca. Everything about the word conjures up thoughts of romance and intrigue. Since 1995 Fort Lauderdale has had a piece of this iconic characterization and not just as a related name but in actual history as well. Casablanca Café the casual oceanfront restaurant on the corner of Alhambra Street and A1A , once a private home boasts a listing on the historical registry and is a recipient of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s beautification award with due credit to the 1920’s local architect Francis Abreu for his Mediterranean Revival style of design.
Casablanca Café emulates the dynamic ambiance of Rick’s Café Américain straight from the silver screen to A1A with its authentic Moroccan décor, stone and steel staircase, and sultry piano bar where “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…” anyone can come walking in and enjoy the mood of days gone by.
The upstairs terrace and dining room in this historic two-story 1920’s Moroccan-style villa is probably one of Fort Lauderdale’s most well kept secrets. Once you step over the threshold to the garret you are immediately transported to a time and place of captivating glamour and fascination. Casablanca Café is completely unaffected by the hustle of “the beach” you almost expect to the see the apparition of Ilsa and Rick beckoning you to join them for a Champagne Cocktail. It is here in the time honored loft of the building brimming with history and fantastic architecture that private parties are hosted, wedding receptions are held, and celebratory dinners are enjoyed.
The dinner menu is an album of American fare offering just about something for everyone including poultry, fish, beef and pasta. We had a seafood spectacular the night we had dinner there, I suppose it was the influence of being ocean front. We ordered the Casablanca Crab Cake, Up East Chowder, the Linguini Del Mar and the Tropical Florida Mahi, all of it very good served and served in this enjoyable oceanfront bistro style venue that you just want to keep ordering more food and drink so not to give up your primo seat and continue to take in all the sights. The lunch menu offers a lighter menu of soups and salads along with an interesting selection of sandwiches including lamb, roasted chicken, an angus burger and bar-b-cue pork. The menu design is under the creative direction of Executive Chef John Schupbach who has instinctively been serving his original fare with Casablanca Café for almost a decade.
In addition to serving lunch and dinner seven days a week there is a daily happy hour Monday-Friday from 4-7pm and live music at the Piano Bar Wednesday–Sunday from 8pm-midnight; and very much like its assumed relationship to the movie, Casablanca Café serves up something so unique and so desirable that it’s no wonder sipping a cocktail and watching the moon rise over the Atlantic ocean one can channel the passion of Ilsa and Rick on any given night in Fort Lauderdale.
Casablanca Café 3049 Alhambra Street Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (954) 764-3500