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Arsat El Bilk: Local cafe, close to Djemaa El Fna
Arsat El Bilk is a small cafe located within spitting distance of the famous Djemaa El Fna square.
It is located on Rue Moulay Ismail, across from Place de la Foucauld, and just a two minute walk from the bustling square.
What struck me about Arsat El Bilk was that, unlike the cafes and restaurants on the adjacent Rue Bab Agnaou, it was filled mainly with locals rather than tourists. Dozens of locals, predominantly men, were sat at shaded tables drinking their tea or coffee, reading their newspapers, playing cards, smoking cigarettes and watching the world pass them by.
It is a good spot for watching the masses of people walk by en route to/from the Djemaa El Fna and to watch as the mopeds, horses and carts, donkeys, taxis and cyclists weave in and out of them!
I asked the waiter for a menu, but they had none. I asked him if they served food, but he said not. I ordered a mint tea, which I had been craving all morning.
The waiter brought me a small teapot filled with mint leaves and three sugar cubes, enough for two glasses of mint tea. He also brought me a glass of mineral water to accompany it. Total cost: 10 Dhs (approx. 0.65 GBP).
A laid-back local cafe, just off Djemaa El Fna.
Cafe Glacier L'Elysee: Quiet cafe in Ville Nouvelle
I visited Cafe Glacier L'Elysee one afternoon during my visit to Marrakech in February 2007.
This quiet cafe, with tables under a canopy and a host of umbrellas, is located on Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni, in the Ville Nouvelle region of the city.
There are many French style cafes in Marrakech, with outdoor tables on the pavements. Many of these are located on Ave Mohamed V and the area around the intersection of Ave Mohamed V and Rue de Yougoslavie. These cafes, with tables in the sunshine and waiter service, fill up early in the afternoon, so I often ventured onto the quieter side streets to find a place to sit and enjoy an afternoon drink. It was on one of these quieter side streets that I stumbled across the small and friendly Cafe Glacier L'Elysee.
I took a seat at an outdoor table, shaded from the hot afternoon sunshine, and studied the menu (which was in French and Arabic only). The vast majority of the menu is devoted to drinks, with only a few food items available.
The drinks menu includes a large selection of fresh fruit juices (orange, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, apple...), canned soft drinks and a wide variety of coffees and teas. No alcohol is served.
The few food items include: chocolate filled croissants, bread with butter and jam and something that includes cheese ("fromage"), but which my French skills weren't capable of translating!
Service was friendly and laid back.
During the course of my visit, a few people wandered into the cafe trying to sell things (ornaments, leather belts, sunglasses...), but this was a frequent occurence during my stay in Marrakech and not unique to this cafe.
Favorite Dish: I opted for:
Freshly squeezed orange juice - Cost: 10 Dhs
A glass of very fresh and very refreshing orange juice!
Pain + beurre + confiture - Cost: 7 Dhs
A couple of crusty bread rolls with butter (straight from the fridge and too hard to spread) and orange jam.
Good value cafe fare and friendly service on a quiet side street.
Restaurant/Cafe Rapide: Fast food cafe in Gueliz
I ate at Restaurant/Cafe Rapide at lunchtime on my first day in Marrakech during my visit to the city in February 2007.
This cafe/fast food joint is located on the crossroads of Rue de Yougoslavie and Ave Mohamed V in the Gueliz region of the city, a 5-10 minute walk north of Place du 16 Novembre. There are numerous cafes in this region of the city, offering tables outdoor on the pavement where you can soak up the sun while watching the world go by in the bustling commercial centre of the city.
The menu is in French and Arabic only, and the waiter spoke little English. I was therefore reliant upon the small amount of French that I learnt in my schooldays - and the fact that some items on the menu were obvious to identify!
From what I could decipher of the menu, the options include:
- a selection of burgers: beef, steak, egg, vegetarian: 10 - 20 Dhs;
- omelettes (mushroom, cheese, plain, chicken, vegetable): 10 - 20 Dhs;
- sandwiches (cheese, chicken, "American") and lamb and beef kebab meat with bread and French fries (10 - 30 Dhs);
There are also a selection of Moroccan tajines (Moroccan stews with meat and vegetables).
The selection of desserts include cakes, fresh fruit and ice cream.
Drinks include a variety of freshly squeezed fruit juices - orange, grapefruit, lemon - and canned soft drinks (8 - 15 Dhs).
Favorite Dish: This being my first day in Marrakech, I decided to play it safe and start off with a familiar meal. There would be plenty of time for more adventurous meals later on in my trip. I opted for:
Omelette Champignons - Cost: 20 Dhs
A large, thin mushroom omelette served with a few olives and a single piece of lettuce. It also came with a generously sized dish of fresh crusty bread and butter.
Freshly squeezed orange juice - Cost: 8 Dhs
Orange juice that is as fresh as it comes...including pips and peel! Very refreshing on a nice sunny day and even cheaper than the orange juice served from the carts in Djemaa El Fna.
Good value for money fast food in a bustling location!
La Flamme Restaurant/Cafe: 7 AM - 11 PM (No alcohol) Excellent Fast Italian
by Mary Mimouna, Marrakesh Restaurant Reviewer
Open seven days a week, and serving food from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM, La Flamme Restaurant/Cafe (no alcohol) is a clean and comfortable, family-friendly modern restaurant, offering Italian food in a relaxed indoor-outdoor setting, offering superb food and a courteous professional staff. Greeting diners inside is floor-to-ceiling mahogany paneling, plenty of light, and comfortable upholstered easy chairs and loveseats.
All of our food was delicious, and exquisitely presented. We could tell there was someone in the kitchen who really enjoys cooking!
The mostly Italian menu features breakfasts with eggs available (15-35 DH); Panini sandwiches (30-42 DH); main-course salads (45-55 DH); pasta dishes 60-75 DH); savory crepes (30-40 DH); pizza (40-70 DH); meat main courses (80-95 DH); fish dishes (95 DH); and duck (110 DH). An amazing array of deserts are on the menu, such as sweet crepes (30 DH) and ice-cream sundaes (45-60 DH). Beverages, including many fresh juices, range from 14 DH to 35 DH for shakes and non-alcoholic cocktail mixes. ). Beverages are bit expensive, from 14-35 DH ($2-$4), so that tends to push up the final bill a bit. (Being a cafe, as well as a restaurant, it seems more is charged proportionately for beverages and desserts because of those patrons who spend time, but order only these.)
One of the best things about La Flamme is that Marrakesh residents no longer need to wonder where they can go for superb food and drink in the off hours of 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM. During these times, one can choose from at least seven different types of Panini sandwiches (served with fries), or from a selection of multiple sweet or savory crepe dishes--in addition to desserts such as ice cream sundaes.
Breakfast is served from 7:00 AM to 11:30 AM. Lunch is served from 12:30 to 3:00 PM. Dinner is served from 7:30 PM to 11:00 PM. Open from 7:00 AM to Midnight, there is always SOMETHING that can be ordered off the menu at any hour of the day. No credit cards accepted.
Favorite Dish: Panini with Salmon; Crepe Maison; Salad with Hot Goat Cheese Triangles and Argan Oil; Tagliatelle Alfrédo; Salade La Flamme; Mixed Carrots, Zucchini, and Green Beans. There are also plenty of choices here for vegetarians. We recommend you drink an ice-cold "Citron Presse," (fresh lemonade, but you need to mix in your own sugar and water at the table).
- Family Travel
Cafe Glacier: Cafe overlooking Djemma el Fna
There are a couple of cafes which have terraces overlooking Djemma el Fna. Cafe Glacier is probably the best value of these. The terrace is quite large and you get a great view over the square. Drinks are good value given the location though service was very slow on both occasions we visited.
The Terrace de l'Alhambra: People watchers' paradise
Whilst this place is perhaps better know for its terraces that afford great views of the Djemma el Fna, I tend to sit outside on the ground floor.
It 's dependable for a fix of Earl-Grey tea. In those little cups with the annoying handles so small you can't get your fingers through...
Favorite Dish: Very nice pizzas from 55 dhs. Food stuffs are served with a bottled of oil in which are steeped herbs, garlic and chillies. Very very nice.
Venezia ice cream parlour
There are a few good ice cream shops in Marrakech, particularly in the Ville Nouvelle. This one is directly opposite the Koutoubia Mosque so you can feast away while marvelling at the sheer size of the minaret. It's a good place to people watch in the nights as well as the streets outside the mosque are popular for an evening stroll. They also do pastries and that kind of thing. The ice creams are much like those in Italy (perhaps not quite as delicious!) and there's a wide range of flavours. It's not that cheap by local standards I suppose but I couldn't resist!
CAFE ARGANAAt the left as you...
At the left as you enter the Square from the Koutubia. One of the best terraces to see the activity in the Djema el Fnaa Square. The 1st floor is the best terrace, from the 2nd you can't see much, though is quieter. If you wanna go there to see the sunset, go in advance, as it gets really crowded in the evenings. 75% of the 1st floor terrace is only for dinner, so you'll get more chances to get a place if you go there to eat that if you only want to have a tea.
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