Eat & Drink


3030 Severn Ave, Metairie, LA 70002, USA 70002

Restaurant Review

Anecdotes & Analysis

I associate bad colds with Middle Eastern food. That's not where I pick up the sniffles, but where I ease the symptoms. Middle Eastern restaurants always have brothy, hot soups, usually made with beans, notably lentils. And they make them better than any other kind of restaurant.

Locally, the best restaurant of all in this regard is Casablanca. Linda Waknin, the owner and chef, also has the merit of being a Jewish mother. But don't expect chicken soup. Linda's several daily offerings are all made starting with vegetable stock--as healthy a thing as can be imagined. And a great flavor element, too. If the very thought of split pea soup warms your heart in these waning cold days of winter, come here and get a bowl. It always unstuffs my head.

Why It's Essential

Casablanca is emphatically distinctive in two different ways. It's the only Moroccan restaurant in New Orleans, if in an Americanized way. (No sitting on the floor or eating with fingers.) And it's kosher, in the strictest sense. Inspected by a rabbi. No dairy products. Glatt meats. Owner Linda Waknin is not only a deft cook, but a creative one. Example: she makes a kosher (dairy-free) cheesecake, substituting tofu for the cream cheese. If you were not advised of this, you'd never guess it.


Linda Waknin's mother operated a number of restaurants over the years under her name Fortuna. That evolved, in 1995, into Casablanca, which continues to serve some of Fortuna's most distinctive dishes, as well as many more.

Dining Room

The room has a lofty ceiling, dramatic murals, and an ambiance grander than you'd expect from the look of the exterior. The room has glass-brick dividers and other nice touches; the entire place sparkles. The customers include not only observant Jews but Muslims (their diet runs by rules a lot like the kosher laws) and those with lactose intolerance (no dairy products are used here at all). You may well encounter the rabbi who approves everything. He always looks happy, and I look happy right back at him.

For Best Results

The first courses here tend to be more carefully constructed than the entrees, for some reason; the baba ghanooj and hummus are particularly fine.

Bonus Information

Attitude 1
Environment 1
Hipness 0
Local Color 0
Service 0
Value 1
Wine 0