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Patisserie des Princes: Visit one of Marrakech's most famous patisseries
This place is firstly one of Marrakech's most famous or best regarded patisseries - (which is also what I like to check out when Ive visited places around Morocco) - been here a number of times and with my local connection without the influence of it being recommended in my copy of the Lonely Planet - and secondly a cafe -
with a nice sitting area out the back for a safe haven of peace away from the hustle and stressful bustle of the area! Prices for coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice - especially considering delicious orange juice is available a few minutes away at the main square Djma elFna for only 3 dirham - are a little dearer than elsewhere but its still a great price by any european standards - eg a grande noss-noss and a large orange juice together for 21 dirham is not bad being only £1.30 with a nice place to sit to relax as my breakfast before the rush off to my morning flight!
Coffee in Morocco is generally another wonder that I enjoy Morocco for - it almost always just tastes so much nicer than coffee anywhere back in the UK!probably comparable with most coffees that Ive enjoyed around Spain, France and Italy. Usually Ive ordered it as 'noss-noss' which is still milky enough but stronger with half the milk of usual coffee.
Favorite Dish: Famous for its patisseries - you can buy a pastry or something to eat there and then or you can dabble in the mouthwatering selections of little biscuits and cakes sold by weight ie price per 100g or per kilogram - which will be placed into whatever appropriate sized box and nicely wrapped with a ribbon which can make nice gifts to take home or if visiting family or friends in Morocco so you could get a number of boxes made up if you wish. - and one for you to eat while you travel around!?
(I will have to hunt out my sources to remind myself how the cost is on average and add this later)
And the coffee though there are a multitude of places around the area that serve just as good coffee at same or cheaper prices.
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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!
Cafe Les Negociants: French style pavement cafe
Gueliz is in Ville Nouvelle, the French Quarter.
There are many pavement cafes, ice cream parlours, patisseries.
I quite liked this cafe, to sit in the comfy wicker seats,and watch the world go by, as I planned my day.
The clientele was a mix of tourists, holidaying Moroccans, and locals in traditional dress or westernised attire.
Open 0600 - 23.30hrs daily.
On my 2nd visit to M'kesh, I used this cafe quite a bit as my hotel was nearby. It was still very popular. This time though I was amused to find one of the surliest waiters ever- he looked a bit like Rene from the old TV comedy Allo Allo, in fact it was like watching a comedy as he huffed and puffed, tutted and clicked his tongue at every inconvenience, trying to avoid catching anyones eye who might want to order and sitting down in a chair at every opportunity while the other waiters ran around. (He was like this with everyone, locals included)
I'd spotted a few tables with clear green drinks, but didn't know what it was. I'd asked "Rene" for a menu - his eyes nearly shot out of his head as he shrieked"menu???" at me, before shuffling off to find one, shaking his head and tutting.
I couldn't find anything that might have been the green drink, so I ordered a cafe glace (11dh), to his disdain. Looking in my purse, I only had a 100dh note, which nearly reduced me to a fit of giggles imagining his response.
I'm afraid I waited to make sure that he had to come over to take my money, rather than call one of the others. (people at neighbouring tables had also apparently noticed his dismeanour) It was worth it for the charade of his reaction, when he eventually returned and slammed down my change, he turned on his heel (the quickest I'd seen him move) and fled to slump in a chair. I didn't even get a chance to hand him his tip!(I left a larger tip than normal on the table, for this memorable encounter)
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed a mint tea, fresh orange juice and a Latte on my visits.
This is an ideal spot for people watching, it's on the corner of Ave Mohammed V, so plenty going on around.
There are hawkers passing through with DVDs, tissues, sunglasses, shirts, rugs etc, but they're approaching the locals as well, not just tourists, so just shake your head and smile, or say Non Merci if You don't want to buy.
I visited at various times of the day and late evening.
Somewhere to sit and linger, not ideal if You're in a hurry.
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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.
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!
Majorelle Gardens café: Pretty setting for lunch
In the heart of the Majorelle Gardens is this charming café, with a courtyard shaded by trees and several inside rooms decorated in traditional Moroccan style. The food is not the cheapest in the city, but the quality is good and the pretty setting makes it well worth the little extra.
Favorite Dish: The menu includes both light and more substantial dishes. We opted for the former – I had a delicious quiche made with spinach and smoked trout, while Chris chose a tuna melt Panini. The café specialises in a variety of fresh juices and the mint, pineapple and ginger one I chose was excellent and very refreshing on a hot day. With Chris’s sparkling mineral water and a coffee afterwards for me, we paid 295 dirhams (about £23.50).
Of course on top of this you have to pay the 30 dirhams entry to the gardens, but they are so beautiful that they should be high on any must-see list in any case!
Cafe Koutoubia: Bustling cafe opposite Koutoubia mosque
Cafe Koutoubia is a bustling cafe located on the corner of Rue Fatima Zohra and Ave Mohamed V, less than 5 minutes walk from the famous Djemaa El Fna square.
It takes its name from the famous monument that dominates the view from its outdoor tables - the Koutoubia minaret (the 70m high tower of the Koutoubia mosque located right across the road from the cafe).
During my visit to the city in February 2007, its outdoor tables were often busy in the afternoons, especially as sunset approached. I visited for a drink one afternoon after a busy day of sightseeing and sat at one of the outdoor cane furniture tables, surrounded by plants and with a great view of the pink minaret against a clear blue sky. Not only does the cafe offer great views of the minaret, but it also offers you the chance to hear the call to prayer loud and clear....although I also had that opportunity in my hotel room at 5:30 each morning! ;-)
The cafe offers no menu and it doesn't serve food. It really is just a place to get a drink and relax. I ordered a bottle of Coca Cola (8 Dhs) and whiled away half an hour in a comfortable chair.
While the cafe was bustling in the afternoons and early evenings, whenever I passed by later in the evenings (11pm) it was well and truly closed - lights out, furniture moved inside, doors locked...
There is an adjoining Internet cafe that I used on a number occasions during my stay. It can be accessed by going down the steps to the side of the cafe. Internet access costs approx. 6 Dhs (0.40 GBP) per hour.
A bustling cafe for an afternoon drink, with great views of the Koutoubia minaret!
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.
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.
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.
Friendly service: Café Argana
This was another lunch-time choice, and a place where we particularly appreciated the friendly service. They usually only serve drinks and pastries on the ground floor terrace – for a meal of any description you need to go upstairs to the roof terrace or first floor dining area. But this was just a couple of days after my accident and I didn’t feel up to tackling the stairs, so the waiter kindly fetched a menu from upstairs and served us a lunch there on the ground floor terrace.
We both had an omelette – cheese for me and mushroom for Chris. They were nicely cooked (i.e. not too much) and generously filled. We then ordered a pot of mint tea and what appeared to be the specialities of the place, a small plate of assorted Moroccan pastries – 7 for 30 dirhams. These were delicious and not as sweet as I had imagined they might be.
Cafés: Cafe Maure - Menara Gardens
After wandering around the pool area of the Menara Gardens, , I spotted a sign for a cafe.
Down some steps, below 'the bleachers' is this pleasant cafe, with a fountain. A good spot for relaxing over a drink or snack. It was nearly lunch time, but I wasn't hungry, so just had (another) pot of mint tea.
Popular with groups of teenagers (all intent on using their mobile phones, or eyeing each other up!)
Meals are served each evening prior to the 'Al Menara Reflets & Marveilles' entertainment.
There are a few shops here too, but they were closed when I visited.
Open daily 0900 -2300hrs
Favorite Dish: As usual, I enjoyed a pot of mint tea! while people watching.
The waiters wore jellabahs and babouches, the girls serving behind the counter were in traditional clothing too.
Café Glaciers: Best view of the action?
With an enviable situation overlooking the Djamaa el Fna, this café offers a relatively peaceful vantage point from which to watch all the action. We found ourselves here on several occasion. The first was on our first morning (pre broken foot) when we climbed the long dark staircase to emerge on the large roof terrace, the so-called “Grand Balcon”. Several of the cafes surrounding the square have these, but this is one of the most popular. It’s a great spot for photos, especially if you have a decent zoom lens, as you can catch unawares all the hawkers, water-sellers, snake charmers and others who would normally extract a tip for any photos taken. But you pay for your photos in any case, as a cold drink purchased up here will cost far more than elsewhere – we paid 40 dirhams for a Coke and a Fanta. But worth it in my opinion!
After my fall the climb to the roof terrace became impossible, but the large one at ground level (well, up a couple of steep steps) proved to offer almost as good a view, and we came here several more times. Usually this was just for a coffee or mint tea, but on the last evening, after a meal in the night market, we stopped off here for ice cream. We each had three flavours, costing 30 dirhams, and particularly liked the pineapple and the nougat flavours.
Grand Cafe de la Poste: Sophisticated cafe in Gueliz
I ate at Grand Cafe de la Poste at lunchtime on my last day in Marrakech during a visit to the city in February 2007.
This upmarket cafe is located in the modern Gueliz region of the city, just off Ave Mohamed V, opposite McDonalds and just a short walk north of Place du 16 Novembre.
Due to its prices, which are significantly higher than the typical local cafe, this place seems to attract mainly tourists and the better off locals (many of whom were in business suits). Despite its generally high brow appearance and clientele, it does not have a dress code, so the waitresses were happy to show me to a table in my shorts and t-shirt.
An online menu can be found here. Befitting of its upmarket status, dishes on the menu include:
Monkfish carpaccio: 85 Dhs
Shrimp "Provencale" tart: 90 Dhs
Salmon tartare: 115 Dhs
Oualidia oysters: 190 Dhs for 12
French croque monsieur, turkey or ham: 80 Dhs
Potato tortilla with artichokes and basil: 95 Dhs
Spinach fusili pasta: 95 Dhs
Roast red mullets, saffron rice and peppers: 115 Dhs
Wok sauteed chicken and vegetables: 120 Dhs
Skewers of beef and ratatouille: 115 Dhs
Pear Charlotte: 80 Dhs
Classic Tiramisu: 80 Dhs
Apple tart: 65 Dhs
The impressive drinks menu includes a long list of fruit juices (mango, kiwi, orange, melon, grapefruit, apple...), a large selection of local and imported red and white wines and very expensive beers. The cheapest beer was Kronenbourg at 55 Dhs a bottle, with Casablanca and Heineken at 60 Dhs a bottle and Corona and Bud at 70 Dhs a bottle. There is also a long cocktail list (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and a selection of vodkas, whiskys and other spirits.
There are a few tables out front on the pavement, shaded by umbrellas, a few dozen tables on a shaded raised terrace and more tables inside. I sat on the outdoor terrace. The staff are friendly and there are plenty of them to service your every need.
Favorite Dish: I opted for:
3 fried eggs and bacon with sauteed potatoes - Cost: 65 Dhs
On a menu with lots of fancyily named dishes and expensive prices, good old bacon and eggs looked the best value option for a Sunday brunch to me! As its name suggests, the dish consisted of 3 fried eggs in a bowl, topped with 4 or 5 rashers of bacon and a bowl of about 30 small sauteed potatoes covered in herbs. Accompanied by a bowl of fresh sliced bread.
Jus D'Orange - Cost: 30 Dhs
Ice cold fresh orange juice served in a vase, enough for 3 decent sized glasses.
Comfortable surroundings, an upmarket ambience, good food and an excellent drinks menu. Very expensive by local economic standards!
Cafe Toubkal: Good Moroccan menu
If you want good food at a cheap price then this is where to come.Very popular with the locals and in a good position overlooking Jamaa el Fna square,with the best views on the top floor.Service was good,food likewise.Had lunch here on two occasions and both times very satisfied.
2x Lamb Tagines,bread,1 fresh orange,1 tea = 72 dirhams (about £5)
You can't get better value than that!
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