Casablanca is filled with neighborhood pastry shops and bakeries, as well as big-name French pâtisseries – a culinary tradition that long outlasted French occupation. With old and new spots continuing to flourish in Casablanca’s most frequented areas, these pastry shops make the city one of Morocco’s finest gourmet destinations.
Bakery, French, Moroccan, Gluten-free, $$$
Run by Salma Essoudi Bensouda, a Fez local, this classy, polished bakery was created in the image of the grandmother who first instilled her love of baking. From Moroccan pastries (which are all the rage during Ramadan) to revisited classics (their Saint Honoré is an airy, fluffy dream), Amayya is steadily securing its place in the big boys’ club. It’s also worth mentioning that they’re one of the few bakeries in town to offer gluten-free options, a trend that’s catching in a city that’s otherwise known for its vegetarian-inspired cuisine.
An institution in Casablanca, Amoud is run by an Amazigh family which opened its first bakery in 1982 on Emile Zola Boulevard. An ethos of tradition and innovation means the family are always perfecting their creations, and while it’s their plain, buttery croissant which has become the brand’s coveted trademark – imitated but never equalled – it’s their use of quality products that gives the pastries their remarkable signature.
The French pastry chef opened his first store in Casablanca less than 10 years ago, and it has since become one of the trendiest places in town. Quite the opposite of the city’s multitude of quiet, refined tea-time venues, the store’s location is what gives it its particular vibe. At the entrance of Anfa Sup, Casablanca’s richest neighborhood, Frédéric Cassel is a place to see and be seen.
Another famous French pastry place in Casablanca, renowned for its macarons, Fauchon is also a tea salon where you’ll often find friends gathered in the beautiful covered backyard. The typical pink, glass entrance gives way to a romantic setting on the patio, where you can share entremets and éclairs, among other delicacies.
Paul is a French bakery chain offering a comprehensive array of fresh pastries – although its branches in Casablanca, unlike those in Europe, are more chic urban café than bustling bakery. Perfect for lazy, sunny afternoons or for delicious Saturday brunches (Moroccan or French-style), the beautiful, secluded garden of Villa Zevaco is the setting for Paul’s now-famous tea-time treat, a pâtisserie fine with a hot drink, or the classic Nutella crêpe with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
La pâtisserie du coin, literally the pastry shop around the corner, is the perfect term for Noiraud, situated in Abdellatif Ben Kaddour. Although considered a pretty big boulevard, it has nevertheless kept its authentic neighborhood charm over the years, and is still mainly frequented by locals. A tiny shop with fair prices (considering the location), Noiraud has a knack for creamy sweets – and the red-berry cheesecake is a must.
Newly opened in 2017, L’Atelier du Grain is a cute café with a definite Parisian vibe. Its speciality is a mouthwateringly good Danish – flaky, soft, buttery pastry filled with cream, applesauce, chocolate or frangipane (a mix of crème pâtissière and crème d’amande) – but it also boasts a vast choice of fine French pastries.
The renowned café Venezia Ice, which specializes in ice-cream, opened its new venue last year. With two chefs in command (one in charge of baking, the other of pastry), this is the ideal place to try something sweet. There are also plenty of savory options – such as the gourmet burgers and the house’s specialty hot dogs, served with homemade fries – and a couple of tables in the back perfect for enjoying a nice breakfast or a cup of tea in a peaceful setting.
Gapi began as a catering service situated not far behind Lycée Lyautey. After 18 years of forging its reputation as one of the best in town – catering for weddings, cocktail parties, receptions, live cooking demonstrations and inaugurations – the team opened Gapi Villa, a small, enclosed haven on Boulevard Roosevelt (now renamed Moulay Rachid), famous for its plethora of big-name pastry shops. Chef Anouar Ait Abdelaali is in charge of the Villa’s fine eats, and guests can choose between breakfasts, late afternoon snacks or an indulgent half hour at its bar à choux.
Also a neighborhood bakery, Guest used to sell cheap but high-quality goods (such as chocolate fondants) under the name “Pâtisserie Oussama”. Now redesigned to be more on-trend, the bakery has held on to its reasonable prices and love of fresh ingredients. The smell of warm bread filling the shop and the tantalizing displays make Guest a feast for the senses.
A team effort between Laila Benjelloun, a self-made caterer who gained a reputation for exceptional wedding catering, and Steve Thiery, an internationally acclaimed French pastry chef, Maison Amande & Miel is located in CIL, one of the coziest neighborhoods in Casablanca. Specializing in delicious and generous mid-afternoon treats, the bakery’s Moroccan pastries are still made under the supervision of Anissa Ouazzani Touhami, Laila’s mother, who’s been in charge of this side of catering since 2004.