CASABLANCA PATRONS, MANY OF THEM 'REGULARS' since 1977, would be hard-pressed to choose whether they return for the creative Mediterranean cuisine, the relaxed atmosphere, the cocktails, or for proprietor Sari Abul-Jubein's personal wit and charm.

Some of the region's most talented chefs have passed through the Casablanca kitchen in their way to wider acclaim. Sari saw greatness in Andy Husbands, Laura Brennan, Marc Orfaly, Ruth Anne Adams and Ana Sortun, now all successful chef-owners themselves.

Chef Camillo Diaz

In 2008, executive chef CAMILO DIAZ is upholding Casablanca's culinary legacy. His mastery of Mediterranean and middle eastern recipes is matched by his creative take on such current favorites as roast duck, Ana's short ribs, tapas, vegetable entrees and seafood.

A native of Colombia, Diaz emigrated to Boston as a teenager and sought a job as a dishwasher at Todd English's flagship restaurant, Olives. Rising quickly to sauté cook, Diaz came to understand and appreciate how to handle Mediterranean ingredients, from hearty grains and olives to saltwater fish and dried fruits.

In 1999, Diaz approached Casablanca's then-executive chef Ana Sortun, and was hired. He continued to fine tune his cooking techniques, and when Sortun departed, Diaz became sous-chef under Ruth Ann Adams. In 2006, he was promoted to Executive Chef. Since then, Diaz has quietly but effectively built upon the reputation for cutting-edge fare that Casablanca enjoys.