Casablanca Café is a cozy, Moroccan-inspired shisha bar located at 1393 Danforth Ave. It’s one of the many hookah cafés in the community where you’re able to sit back and relax in sobriety among pleasant staff and slow Arabic melodies.
Hookah is a Middle-Eastern instrument used for smoking flavored tobacco called shisha, mainly in social settings. The smoke is inhaled through a hose and then immediately exhaled. Casablanca Café is particularly well known for its inexpensive hookah ($10-$12) and sweetened mint tea ($7 per pot). The combination of the two is so comforting that it makes it difficult to get out of the soft, cushioned couches.
The entire right side of the café is lined with couches accented by colourful throw pillows, with square wooden tables and cushioned chairs around each, easily seating 10 people or more. There are two large televisions, one at the far end above the cash counter, and one near the door. There is also a seating area in the basement for larger groups of people.
“I’ve been to a lot of hookah places in Toronto but none of them had the kind of shisha, food, drinks and friendly atmosphere that Casablanca Café offers,” says Shailan Jafari, one of the café’s regulars. “I knew this place was going to be my spot when I first came here seven years ago.”
While Casablanca Café offers many different flavours, a specialty shisha that includes real pieces of fruit with flavoured tobacco is a must-try. The café also offers delicious Moroccan sandwiches and dinner plates, along with various types of hot and cold beverages that complement the shishas nicely. A personal favourite is the house special dinner plate comprised of braised lamb shank with Moroccan spices, turmeric rice, and a generous portion of salad ($13). This dish alone can easily feed two people.
One drink I really enjoy is the giant strawberry-banana smoothie. The wide-brimmed edges of the glass are decorated with big chunks of various types of fruit. With one sip of the smoothie and a bite of one of their sweet pastries, your tummy is sure to be satisfied.
Overall, if you’re ever looking for a place to ease your mind and relax, Casablanca Café is the place to go. Even if you’re not interested in hookahs, the delectable food and drink and cozy atmosphere are worthwhile enough to put Casablanca Café at the top of your list.