The Valley's Only Moroccan Restaurant Hides in Poughkeepsie
Casablanca brings Hollywood glamour and authentic Mediterranean cuisine to Dutchess County.
Photos by Eva Deitch
Mary Sweeney, co-owner of Casablanca Restaurant, boasts that nearly every item in the restaurant was imported from Morocco, just like her husband Azeddine Yachkouri — the other co-owner and executive chef.
Creating a restaurant like this has long been on the couple’s (especially Mary’s) bucket list, and after 28 years of marriage they opted to bring the culture and cuisine they love to their home in the Hudson Valley. “Marrying the cuisine with the Hollywood classic seemed appropriate, to make the connection for people because it’s not such a foreign concept or place,” says Sweeney. “The first time I met Azeddine he told me he was from Casablanca, and the only reference point I had was the [Casablanca] movie.”
Azeddine Yachkouri and Mary Sweeney opened Casablanca Restaurant last July.
Located in Mount Carmel Square, Casablanca is the only Moroccan restaurant in the Hudson Valley, and it’s serving authentic cuisine. “Every single dish makes Moroccans feel like they’re home,” Sweeney says. And of visitors who have never tasted this cuisine, she gushes, “They love it, and they keep coming back.”
The secret, she says, is the cooking: a mélange of Mediterranean cuisine that is healthy and delicious without extra fats and oils. Their lamb couscous is one of their most popular items, and with good reason: They make it from scratch every single day. Their menu includes homemade hummus and babaganoush, as well as American favorites like grilled steak and salmon. Casablanca also features dishes made in a tagine, a terra-cotta pot with a triangular lid that slow-cooks ingredients and keeps them tender and flavorful. Of course, they also have a full bar, with specialties named for beloved characters from the film, and a Moroccan mint tea cocktail.
Open Mon–Wed, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Thurs–Sat, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Sun, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
2 Delafield St., 845.875.7555