The Passyunk Square location continues its location’s Middle Eastern culinary legacy.
Syrian-bred brothers Walid and Talal Baruki have devoted their days to making a living in Middle Eastern-themed eateries. South Philadelphians are reaping the benefits of the siblings’ latest venture at Casablanca Mediterranean Grill, 947 Federal St.
Their new labor of love carries on a tradition of excellence established by their predecessor at the address, Bitar’s. Maryann Baruki, Walid’s wife, noted, “It’s not lost on us what a great chance this is for us to continue what they had started,” of the Bitar family. “My husband and Talal are committed to making a great experience for everyone who calls on us.”
Since opening on July 25 opening, the restaurant has offered a menu with eat-in, takeout, and catering options, that screams “Order everything!” Each dish displays the Barukis’ well-honed culinary skills. A variety of grocery items complement their creations.
Vegans and vegetarians will enjoy the majority of the sides/appetizers menu. Highlights include Middle Eastern pizza, hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, cucumber tomato salad, and marinated Moroccan carrots.
For those with carnivorous leanings, gyros, wraps, and seven platters will sate the palate. One stand-out is the Samke Harra—a salmon filet cooked in cumin, onion, and pine nuts, served with tahini over rice.
“We are aspiring to be a place where people can enjoy high-quality Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food,” Maryann said while seated in one of the 12 Moroccan chairs that enliven the small space. “We’ve been operating for only a few days, but I think we’ve already started to establish a rapport with our customers.”
The restaurant is a bit of a homecoming for Walid Baruki—he worked for the Bitars after making his journey to America. Maryann observed that the couple, who are Girard Estate residents, dreamed of opening a new shop in South Philadelphia after their previous venture, Casablanca Moroccan Cuisine in Bryn Mawr, was forced to close during the pandemic.
Maryann, Walid, and Talal trust that their customers will taste the care that goes into every morsel. “They’ve been at this for so many years,” Maryann said, “You’ll know that the second you buy anything from us.”
Casablanca Mediterranean Grill
947 Federal St.
Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.