Local Cuisine, Marrakesh

4 out of 5 stars 78 Reviews

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  • Local Cuisine
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  • Local Cuisine
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  • Local Cuisine
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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Djamaa el Fna Night Market: As much a performance as it is a meal

    by toonsarah Updated Nov 20, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Eating here is definitely as much a performance as it is a meal and is best regarded as such. It won’t be the best meal you ever had, but it will only cost a few dirham and is worth it for the spectacle alone. We were slightly nervous at the thought of eating “street food”, especially as Katy at our hotel had warned against it, but so many other people, including friends on VT, had reported having no problems that we decided to give it a go, and were very glad that we had. And no, we didn’t suffer as a result in the slightest!

    All the stalls are numbered and are grouped together in one part of the Djamaa el Fna. As you approach you will see the smoke rising from numerous grills and smell grilling meat and spices in the air. As soon as you come close the performance will begin. “Good as Jamie Oliver!” “Cheap as chips!” “Air-conditioned restaurant!” and so on.

    Favorite Dish: After looking round for a short while we settled on stand 97 where we could see the kebabs or brochettes being freshly grilled. A helpful guy found us a seat at the end of one of the long tables and whisked my crutches out of the way to the cooking area where his colleague manning the grill proceeded to mime using them as extra long kebab skewers, to the amusement of all around us.

    Bread, olives and two dips were brought immediately, with one of the latter being very spicy and the highlight of our meal. From the menu we ordered chips (as we had heard they were often delicious at the stalls), couscous with vegetables, spicy sausage and lamb brochettes. The quality of the food was a bit mixed – the chips were disappointingly flabby and almost cold, and the sausages short on meat, but the couscous was fine and the brochettes the best of all – seven long skewers with tasty well-cooked meat. We shared a large bottle of mineral water, and paid in total 105 dirhams (about £8.50) – a bargain!

    But this isn’t a meal to linger over, and others will be waiting for your place at the table, so you need to pay up and move on. If you’re a little more mobile than I was you might like to enjoy your dinner in instalments – soup at one stand, kebabs at another, and so on. We found that other tourists were happy to stop and compare notes about where they had enjoyed something in particular, and the stand numbers make it easy to track down these recommendations. Some stands specialise (one was selling only eggs) but most have much the same menu so it’s really just a question of where you can find space, which looks to be appealing to other diners (check for locals especially) and which salesman can lure you in with his patter.

    Chef at night market stall Night market stall Playing to the crowds Chris at dinner in the night market Spicy tomato dip

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    Cafe de l'Etoile: Tasty lunch

    by toonsarah Updated Nov 20, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We had lunch one day in this pleasant spacious café just off the Djamaa el Fna. All the tables outside were taken but we got one just inside the door with a view of the street outside and of the airy double-height dining room within. There is also a roof terrace if you’re feeling more mobile than I was, though I imagine the views are slightly less good than from some of the others in the neighbouring area.

    I only wanted a light meal and had been wanting to try the local harira soup, so was pleased to see it on the menu. I had a delicious bowlful accompanied by some bread (French baguette style) for just 12 dirhams (about £1) – a bargain. Chris also liked his tuna melt Panini which came with chips and cost just 30 dirhams, so was also good value.

    Harira soup

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    Local Cuisine: Tagine Dishes

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jul 15, 2009

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    If you like olives do not miss the chicken tagine (or any tagine dish). Made with a thick sauce the chicken and olives are cooked and served in a tagine. Had a delicious meal at one of the restaurants on a side "street" where the post office meets the JEF. Sorry can't remember the name though!

    Tagine crockery

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    Local Cuisine: Don't miss the Mint Tea!

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jul 15, 2009

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    A delicious blend of green tea and mint leaves not to be missed! You can purchase the tea leaves to bring home at any market. I did, but unfortunately have not been able to re-create the mint tea! Maybe I am missing the atmosphere?!

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    Sandwich Toubkal: Cheap food.

    by suvanki Updated Apr 25, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Wandering around Gueliz, I came across this street with quite a few similar cafes in a row, with tables on the pavement. The smell of grilling meats was too tempting!

    These cafes are mainly frequented by local workers or residents - They're basic, nothing fancy (or fake "authentic" tourist types!). Clientele - Mainly males of all ages, a few couples (The women wearing headscarves/ jellabahs)

    Mixed grills, Grilled chicken, tagines, omelettes.
    All very reasonable (Omelette with chips and rice 11dh, salad 10dh, mixed grill with chips and rice 34dh)

    I felt very comfortable, and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. I was approached by a few street hawkers selling kilims, shirts, cd's etc, but there was no pressure, as they approached everyone else (ie locals) in the same manner. I think the young waiters were a bit surprised to serve a lone female tourist, but they were friendly and polite.

    The Sandwich Toubkal is opposite the Hotel Tachine - which is a popular budget hotel. It has a rooftop mirador open 0900 - 23.00 hours- purchase of an alcoholic beverage is compulsory (whether You drink it or not) before you can be admitted!

    I didn't realise til later, that I'd walked down this street many times before on my previous visit, as my hotel (Oudaya) was only a few metres further down the street.

    Favorite Dish: I enjoyed fresh local bread, served with 3 sauces in bowls - tomato, chilli, and mayo,
    salad ( lettuce, tomato,onion, grated carrot, beetroot) all fresh and nicely presented on a large plate
    1/4 grilled chicken, fries (crisp and not too greasy! Mmmm!)
    rice and a salad garnish . Plus a can of Fanta and a small bottle of water.

    There was too much for me to eat, and I'm afraid that I had to leave some. This all came to 33dh! (About £2!)

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    La Mamounia (Bar Du Soleil): A Taste of The High Life!

    by suvanki Updated Apr 25, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I treated myself to afternoon tea here on my birthday.

    This 'legendary' hotel was built on the site of an 18th century palace of Sultan Mohammed 111, opening as a hotel in 1923, it gained a reputation as THE place to stay in Marrakesh for the rich and famous of that era. Politicians, film stars and artists have resided here over the years, its most notable guest being Winston Churchill.

    The 17 acre gardens surround this de luxe hotel (see my must see tips for more info)
    The hotel is open from 1000-1600 for non residents, and is worth a look around. No shorts or other 'unsuitable' attire allowed entrance!

    The Bar Soleil is a pleasant place to enjoy a drink or snack. It was just warm enough to sit out and enjoy the late afternoon winter sun, and is quite peaceful.

    Favorite Dish: I was intending to have a gin fizz (120 dh) but realised I didn't have enough money on me for a drink and food.

    Flag beer was 40dh (I was paying 15dh at my hotel) So I opted for Mint Tea (40dh) and a plate of Moroccan pastries(120dh)

    The pastries were nice and the Mint Tea came in a larger pot than I'd been offered previously, but you're paying for the location etc.

    My afternoon tea @ La Mamounia
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    Restaurante Islane, Marrakech: Rooftop Views of Koutoubia Mosque

    by suvanki Updated Jan 24, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This restaurant was booked by our tour guide on our first night in Marrakesh as part of our 8 day Marrakesh and The Sahara Tour.

    We were led up stairs to the roof top restaurant, which has views of the Koutoubia Mosque opposite.

    Although the restaurant doesn't have a wine list, our guide had arranged for several bottles of beer and wine to be chilling in the fridge for us.

    You could purchase beer and wine from one of the supermarkets and take it with you I guess

    A varied menu of grilled meats, fish; tagines etc.

    There was a mixed clientele (besides our group of 16 + Mohamed our guide), young couples, family groups - mainly locals or visiting Moroccans.

    The restaurant was in a good location, with the Koutoubia Mosque illuminated, and the call to prayer, making it more atmospheric. I hadn't any complaints about the restaurant, but I was eager to escape and get to Djemma el Fnaa.

    The restaurant is above the rooms of its Hotel.

    Apparently the Hotel Islane is a 3* hotel, with cheap rates. I've read reports that would suggest this is good as a cheap base for exploring Marrakesh, but is a bit dingy, with street noise if Your room is at the front.

    Favorite Dish: I enjoyed a mixed fish grill. (800dh)

    Restaurante Islane and Hotel, Marrakech Restaurante Islane some of our tour group
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    Le Lounge: Restaurant/ Bar

    by suvanki Updated Jan 23, 2009

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    For a change from eating in Djemma El Fnaa, I decided to try somewhere in Gueliz, near to my hotel. I had considered trying the legendary Al Fassia, which was very near by, but decided to go there on the last night of my holiday.

    This Modern salon / Restaurant caught my eye.

    Terraced area outside with 9 tables, plus comfy settees and chairs in outside lounge area. Seating inside too.

    Young, Smart, Friendly and Efficient staff. My order was taken quickly, and I didn't have too long a wait for my food, but I didn't feel made to rush at the end of my meal.

    Varied menu (Tapas, Tagines, fish, meat etc), plus large wine/cocktail (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) list.

    Pleasant relaxed atmosphere,
    Mix of clientele dining - local professional looking couples, Families, elderly group of friends.

    On a side street off Ave Mohammed V

    I returned here on the last night of my holiday, for a night cap

    Favorite Dish: I enjoyed my Beef Tagine, it was hot, with plenty of meat, fruit and vegetables. Crusty bread to mop up the sauce! (70dh)

    Creme Caramel (40dh) Mmm!

    Flag beer (25dh)

    Gin Mash cocktail (65dh)

    Beef tagine, Le Lounge, Marrakech Le Lounge sign
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    Local Cuisine: Mint Tea -the a la menthe/ Moroccan Whisky!

    by suvanki Updated Jan 23, 2009

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    Mint tea is ubiquitous in Morocco!
    Whether served in a glass, or from a silver pot, this refreshing drink has to be tried at least once. Mint tea is often offered by shopkeepers during the haggling process.

    Chinese green tea, fresh spearmint (nanaa) leaves and sugar are infused in boiling water.
    Berber pharmacies sell bags of dried mint and green tea to try at home.

    I like my tea black and sweet, but some find it too sweet - just request your tea to be served shwiya sukkar for a less sweetened version.

    The tea will often be poured from a height by your waiter to ensure a frothy top! Often the first poured glass is returned to the pot to 'improve' the brew.

    Although not traditionally drank with meals, it is considered a digestive.

    I had no problems with my stomach during my week, which might have been thanks to the copious amounts of mint tea I drank!

    Favorite Dish: I got quite addicted to Mint tea, while in Marrakesh! I'll be growing lots of mint in my garden this year so I can enjoy this refreshing drink. Although I drank it hot in Marrakesh, I think I'll be making iced versions for summer.

    Prices varied, Apart from many free glasses I was offered, I think the cheapest I paid was 7dh, the most expensive was 40dh at La Mamounia!

    Mint Tea

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    Bars, restaurants, supermarkets etc. Marrakesh: Local beer

    by suvanki Updated Jan 23, 2009

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    If I have a choice of beers while on holiday, I like to try the local brew.

    Although as a Muslim country, alcohol is forbidden by Islam, it is available in Marrakesh!

    Flag Speciale beer (5.2%) was sold in my hotel (brewed in Tangier) also Heineken was available.

    I was aware that other Moroccan beers are Stork and Casablanca, although I didn't see these here (I tried Casablanca later on on a trip to Essaouira)

    I tried some Moroccan Wine at Chez Ali ( a dry white), which was very pleasant, (although expensive!)

    Favorite Dish: Flag speciale was a pleasant drink. I usually had a glass in my hotel bar after a days sightseeing. I'm sure it would be very welcome on a hot summers day.

    I paid 15dh in Hotel Oudaya. I saw it in the supermarket, but not sure of the price. If drinking it at La Mamounia it was 40dh a glass!

    I don't know if this brew is available on draught.

    Flag Beer
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  • Restaurant Agdal: Good Local Restaurant opp the Bar Anglais

    by Armandin Written Dec 30, 2008

    Good honest local food, food better then another 4 I treid (including Ketchmara - where the wairess gets 10 points for the biggest *** on a slim girl I have ever seen but the food sucked),

    right opposite the Chesterfield Hotel (home of the BAR ANGLAIS) on Bul. Mohammed the 6th.

    Favorite Dish: CouscousRoyal ot the Tagine au Poulet avec Limon.

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  • See Marrakesh

    by Veroali Written Nov 27, 2008

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    Don't remember the name of the restaurant, but it is worth to go there. There are even many of them at Djemma el-Fna, on the top. You can eat delicious food and enjoy a view on Marrakesh. Djemma and Koutoubia with Medina are like on the palm. AND you can take a picture of snakes and you don't have to pay! :-)

    Favorite Dish: Kebap

    Restaurant View from the restaurant
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    DAR MOHA RESTAURANT: Lovely setting and good food!

    by tere1 Updated Aug 14, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Dar Moha has a lovely restaurant with a great fixed menu of "nouvelle cuisine marocaine".
    We had pastilla (sweet pigeon pie) filled with a vegetable purée, tagine and strawberries wrapped in wafer-thin pastry and rolled in ground almonds.

    The setting is lovely, around a light swimming pool. I recommend you to book ahead as this is a very well known place and gets fully booked. Very romantic, with good food and traditional music players.

    Favorite Dish: The various Moroccan starters were delicious!

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    • Wine Tasting
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    What I liked.......: My Restaurant Recommendations

    by MsCynthia Updated Mar 26, 2008

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    Places I DO NOT recommend:

    *Le Pavillon- We read in Lonely Planet that Le Pavillon was one of the best restaurants with great ambiance; everyone ranted and raved about it. So when we got there (it was in a weird part of town) we were led to the courtyard for dinner. I was not very impressed with the place at all. Granted, there were candles and trees but still, the simple Riad I was staying in had better ambiance. Furthermore, the food wasn’t even that good. One of the dishes we had was like a slice of Pizza, but only WORSE and at 16.00 Euros!! The food was nothing special; I actually enjoyed my $0.80 salad at Chez Chegrouni alot more!! At the end of the night the bill came out to 80 euros for 2 appetizers and one entree; We didn’t even order wine. I was very displeased with the food and atmosphere. This place is totally overrated.

    Places I recommend:

    *Le Marrakachi- Very cute and trendy romantic restaurant overlooking the square. Great food. Bottle of wine and nice dinner for two for 60 euros.

    *Chez Chegrouni- Nice, simple, but delicious restaurant overlooking Djemma el-Fna. Very cheap. Lunch for 2: 8 euros.

    *Cafe Arabe- Nice, trendy, modern atmosphere. International cuisine, which is a nice break from Moroccan food. Relatively priced about 15 euros per plate.

    *Hotel Ali- Tired the lunch buffet, had the spaghetti pomodoro which was DELICIOUS with real spices for 8 euros per person

    *Riad Tamsna- Lonely Planet described this place as achingly stylish and it´s true. The moment you walk in, you are stunned at how beautiful this place really is. Kind of hidden away, you need to get detailed directions or just ask someone, this place is very nice and the food was great. Very romantic and nice atmosphere. Food relatively priced 19 Euros per plate.

    *Cafe Argana- Food was just okay, nothing great. The service was sooo slow and they weren’t the friendliest. but they always let you use the restroom. The ice cream downstairs is really delicious and highly recommended.

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    Le Tobsil: authentic, delicious Morroccan food

    by bdines Written Mar 11, 2008

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    One of the publications we were using for our trip was a story from the NY Times titled "36 hours in Marrakech," which suggested eating at an authentic Moroccan restaurant that was a little expensive (by Moroccan standards) and a little off the beaten path. We had agreed to meet some folks there, friends of ours who were also in Marrakech, but Bethany ended up eating alone at a large table after I had to apologize to the owner that our friends hadn't shown up. Bethany and I agreed it was one of the best meals we'd ever eaten: five courses starting with a variety of delicious Moroccan salads, then roasted chicken (tajine) and roasted lamb with vegetables and couscous. That was followed by two desserts. Dinner was 1200 dirham for the two of us, about 110 Euro, but it was well worth it. That meal was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

    Favorite Dish: It's whatever they're serving that evening ... awesome. An meal and an experience.

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