Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill
404 N. River Drive
There were several reasons why we decided to pick up from Orlando and move down south to Miami. Among those reasons was the great career opportunity my husband Kenny landed as a senior staff tax accountant at Berkowitz Pollack Brant CPAs. Anyone who is married to a CPA knows that when tax season rolls around (February through April 15), you don’t get to spend much time with your spouse. Kenny and I have spent a few busy tax seasons together, when he works late into the evenings six days a week, and so we’ve made it a habit to treat ourselves to a dinner date night on Saturday evenings (mostly trying new restaurants) to lighten the tax season stress a bit.
Last weekend after a busy week, we ventured along the Miami River for dinner and drinks at Casablanca, a well-known seafood restaurant among locals. The place offers outdoor dining with an up-close view of the river and surrounding Brickell skyscrapers. The wait for a riverside table that night was around 30-45 minutes, so we instead grabbed a seat at the swanky neon-lit bar to enjoy cocktails and dinner.
We sipped on a Modelo and a refreshing glass of rosé wine before starting our meal with succulent fried coconut shrimp ($14), which were paired perfectly with a tangy-spicy-sweet orange-chili glaze.
After noshing on the enormous juicy shrimp, we shared the half-portion of the signature paella ($28), which ended up being a generous helping that was more than enough for both of us. Once it arrived, the bartender dished out our separate portions on two plates, a suitable representation of the excellent service we encountered that evening. I’d have to say the dish was among the best paellas I’ve eaten, as the Spanish saffron rice was full of flavor and came heaping with those same jumbo shrimp, along with scallops, calamari, mussels, clams, chicken and spicy chorizo.
We were pretty stuffed from the paella, but it was oh-so-hard to resist dessert, especially because they brought out the standard sweets tray with so many delightful selections. (Gets me every time!) We went for the guava cheesecake and were certainly not disappointed. The rich cheese filling complimented the sweet guava glaze on top, as the thick graham cracker crust pulled everything together with its own buttery notes.
There’s no doubt Casablanca is on my list of top seafood restaurants in Miami. And considering seafood is among my favorite foods, not to mention the place’s spectacular riverside views, I can see us rolling on the river over to Casablanca many more times in the future.