Djamaa el Fna is the best choice for dinner at night if you like a good atmosphere.
The square has dozens of food stands serving good local dishes in an atmosphere that is out of this world.
A stay in Marrakesh is not complete unless you have spend at least one evening here.
Favorite Dish: I love their cous cous.
In Djemaa el-Fna, there are heaps of food vendors selling freshly cropped/cooked/caught food. Honestly, I was too chicken to try these delectable molluscs, but other members of our group said they were pretty damn tasty!!
Favorite Dish: Apparently the garlic snails are the way to go.
I've only tried 3 restarants in Marrakesh. Since I tried this one I've never went to eat in other places. Just here. Employees are very gentle and the owner Aicha, well she's just amazing. She's the boss.
Favorite Dish: You can choose a large variety of food. Im vegetarian and lots of vegetarian food.
ok, so you'll find so many restaurants on the main square that it will be hard to choose one. Eating on the main square can actually bring you stomach problems and more serious stuff. I never got a thing!!! All my friends usually go to fancy restaurants and they all get sick and I don't. I'm vegetarian and food quality concerns me much.
I already went to Marrakesh many times and I always go to the some place where also the majority of maroccos also go cos she's very well known for having good food. Its the Main Square Restaurant Number 1 from Aicha. She's very nice, also some worker like Moname, Hassan, Rachid etc are great! try this one.
Favorite Dish: Try the vegetarian couscous, tomato salad, potato cookies, fried eggplant....
Meat has not a very good reputation in Morocco and I'm not talking as a vegetarian now! believe me... you can get really sick indeed eating meat.
Water from the tap in marrakesh never did any harm also...
While I was walking around the souk with my guide, (who I'd hired for the morning), he stopped at this stall and indicated to the owner, a quantity of the hot roasted lamb, which was carved and wrapped in paper, with a twist of paper holding a mix of cumin and salt. My guide explained we'd share it soon.
He then pointed to another piece of meat, and offered it to me. I asked what it was (I had a pretty good idea! ;-) ) but he just said "it's very good, very special" I was instructed to dip the portion into the cumin/salt mix.
I guessed I was being offered a sheeps testicle!! which my guide confirmed later that it was!
Well, surprisingly it was very tender and tasty!
We then walked to a carpet shop (I had no intention of buying a carpet) where we ate the delicious lamb accompanied by glasses of mint tea (A variation on lamb and mint sauce!) while the various carpets were unfurled in front of us.
After we'd eaten the lamb, we left- without buying a carpet!!
It was worth hiring a guide for these types of experience, I'm sure that I wouldn't have thought of buying a hunk of roast lamb and taking it to eat in a carpet shop, and I probably wouldn't have tried a sheeps testicle.
Favorite Dish: Roast lamb, hot, tender and delicious!
The cumin/salt mix was a very tasty accompaniment!
I'm now enjoying this at home as an alternative to mint sauce / rosemary and garlic etc! (brings back memories of my holiday!)
Sheeps testicle!! (an unexpected 'treat')- and a great conversation opener/stopper!!!
Was pleased to read/ view on TV, Anthony Bourdains experience of eating this delicacy!
I'm not sure of the cost, my guide paid.
As I'd wandered around the foodstalls of Djemma el Fnaa, I'd spotted stalls with displays of sheeps heads, complete with teeth!
After my experience of eating a sheeps testicle! (see Lamb take away tip) I was ready to be adventurous, but I would draw the line at eating sheeps eyes if they were ever offered to me!!
After much walking around these stalls, trying to work out how the dishes were served- (the menus were in Arabic) I'd seen saucers of meat pieces, served with a gravy topping, and vats of stews, I felt confident enough to join the locals at one stall. (Following the oft repeated travellers addage- eat where the locals eat for good food!)
Well it was a dining experience!
I pointed to a tagine, which appeared to be meat and preserved lemons. I was handed a large piece of bread and a filled bowl . It was very tasty, if a bit greasy!
As soon as I'd finished, my bowl was taken from me and refilled!
One of the stallholders indicated a piece of meat to my server, which he added to my dish. I wasn't sure if I'd been given a 'special' bit, On finding a piece with lots of tubes, I tried to ask which part of the animal this was.My anatomy lessons failed me!.I'm a Nurse, not a Vet!
I think the man thought I wasn't happy with this piece, and flicked it into a bin!
I enjoyed this dining experience, it was a bit different! I was left to enjoy the meal by myself in the company of local couples, families and single men.
Cheap too! I paid 16dh (£1) for 2 large portions of a hot tagine and bread!
Favorite Dish: The lamb tagine was the only dish I tried. It was hot and tasty, but a bit greasy.
I was partly expecting an upset stomach afterwards, but I was fine. I think all the mint tea I was consuming counteracted any digestive problems!
Although I'd put this in my custom guide, pre departure, on my first night in Djemma el Fnaa, I'd forgotten about it. I was soon pursuaded to take a seat at one of the food stalls, where I was made to feel quite welcome.
I wasn't sure what to order, so just pointed to dishes my fellow diners were eating. I had a pleasant (and cheap) meal of bread, 2 spicy sauce dips, lentil soup, and lamb brochettes with a small salad, all for about 20dh.
It wasn't until I was leaving, after my meal, and one of the boys pointed to the sign, so I'd remember where to come back to, that I realised I'd found Aichas!
Favorite Dish: I ate here a few times, and enjoyed all the dishes.
Besides the meal above I also tried vegetable tajine, vegetable cous cous, potato cakes, and small spicy sausages on various visits.
This is probably a good stall to head for on your first night, if it's your first time eating in Djemma el Fnaa, as the staff are used to tourists - ignore their calls of "lovely jubbly/ asda price etc" The food was good, and there were Moroccan families eating here too.
You can then venture to another stall the next night, or return here
A great way to get your vitamin C ! These orange juice stalls line the edge of Djemma el Fnaa.
The oranges, or a mix of orange and lemon or grapefruit are served neat, or mixed with water, with or without added sugar.
I'm afraid I didn't get to try an orange juice from these stalls, although I enjoyed a few glasses in cafes and at my hotel for breakfast.
The stalls were quite eye-catching though!
I kept meaning to buy from one of these carts, but at night it was too cold for me, and I was usually full of mint tea and spicy hunja!
Around Djemma El Fnaa, near the orange juice carts, you'll spot some stalls with copper cauldrens. These contain a local beverage known as hunja.
My curiosity got the better of me one night, and I joined the locals standing around the stalls, drinking glasses of this hot spicy beverage .
At the side of the stall are jars of the spices that make up the drink. Unfortunately I couldn't identify most of them, and no one could tell me what the recipe was (language barrier, not a trade secret!)
Accompanying the hunja, you are given a saucer with scoops of a spicy chocolate cake called tkaout - Mmmmmmm- Drink and cake for about 5dh!! Bargain!
If you're in Marrakesh in Winter, this is a must do, to warm you through!
Favorite Dish: Hunja and cake!!..thats all they sell!
The hunja reminded me a bit of Masala tea that I'd drunk in Kerala, but even hotter!
If anyone knows the recipe, I'd be very grateful to be let in on this secret-- Would be great for a bonfire night party, or to carry in a vaccuum flask on a winter walk!
Djema el Fnaa offers something different at every hour.. during the day it's delicious freshly-squeezed orange-juices, in the evening it's "hot" food - mainly brochettes and snails - sweets, too but we did not taste any.
I must say that I found the food really delicious - if maybe not very hygienic. Still, I have never heard of anyone who has been sick after eating there.
Favorite Dish: One evening we had brochettes, which I found really good - particularly the "liver" brochettes. We ate at stand number 26 (someone had recommended it to us). We paid less than 100 dirhams for two. Another evening we had some quite tasty snails at stand number 5 which were even cheaper.
If you can't decipher the menu boards, (Most are in Arabic and/or French) The food is displayed, so just point to what you fancy!
This display is at Aichas Number 1, but other stalls have similar displays, all painstakingly arranged each evening!
(Please see my Djemma el Fnaa Things to do tips - p5 for more information)
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed freshly cooked brochettes, tagines, cous cous, harissa soup, potato cakes, and the sauces with bread to dip in.
The very first night, right after landing on African soil and leaving our luggage in our Riad we wondered few blocks to the Djemaa el-Fna Square. After walking 3 times around the food stalls and trying to figure out what is what, and how should we approach our supper we gave up and ate at stall # 117 or 114 or was it ....113??? No, 142... Who knows.....
The food was great. We had some local fish, as a matter of fact about 3 kinds of local fish, we also had plenty of vegetables, cold bottled water, and God knows what else on our plates and silverware that everybody knows is not washed but just wiped with a white packing paper.
Favorite Dish: I was looking for any signs of a stomach sickness but did not found any so I guess I can say .... I enjoyed everything I ate that night.
Ive eaten amongst the stalls several times and not had any side effects nor heard of any - despite my Moroccan acquaintances refusals to eat there choosing nearby also budget appealing Cafe Toubkal - but thats another tip story!
As for the stalls here in the main square - its all part of the action and fun of experiencing being in the centre of Marrakech - these stalls/outdoor restaurants start getting busy from about 5pm through till about 1130 pm - unless its Ramadan and the place can be busier till much later.
Ive heard of recommendations vying to stall Number 1 - which i have tried a couple of times - i dont really think it makes a lot of difference - you can roam around and look for a stall that catches your eye for selection, price and menu. Each stall tends to have piles of fresh looking and colourfully appealing meats and vegetables waiting to be cooked for your dinner!
Ive usually had the fried aubergine (repeat portions at times as i love aubergine and though sometimes its done over oily its pretty good!) with brochettes. ie cubed meat cooked on skewers or sticks.
Be mindful that if they place bread and condiments at your table
setting such as olives and sauces and so on they come with a charge as well.
Ive generally had no problems eating salads at restaurants around Morocco - especially the regular menu items Salade Nicoise or Salade Morocaine which are delicious salads - Ive generally tended to stay away from uncooked veges here in this environment. (though i do frequently drink the freshly squeezed orange juice but its always with question in the back of my head whether this is the time that i end up with ........)
Favorite Dish: Fried aubergine, beef brochettes.
There are many food stalls in Djemaa el Fna, and every visitor should try to eat there at least once. It is part of the Marrakech experience. The food is cheap - usually DH30 for a main dish, such as tajine or couscous- but not especially good. The vendors tend to use the cheapest possible ingredients and as little meat as possible. I had a pastilla (pigeon pie) here, which had no more than a teaspoonful of pigeon in it. It was nearly all pastry. Nevertheless it was a fun place to sit.
When in Marrakech, eating at the food stalls on Djemaa El Fna square is an absolute must!
Hundreds of stalls set up in the square each evening, offering a selection of tasty meals at ridiculously cheap prices. Competition is fierce and each stall will try to entice you to eat there with promises of the best food in town! The touts have clearly been working on their sales pitch - I was met with shouts of "Marks and Spencers quality food", "our food is sound as a pound/lovely jubbly" and "cheaper than Asda prices".
In truth, I was a little apprehensive about eating food from street vendors. Each stall displays its raw meat out in the open, with flies buzzing around. So, the first time I ventured down to Djemaa El Fna I decided I'd just eat my meal....and then see if I was ill the next morning! I'm happy to report that I ate at the food stalls at Djemaa El Fna on several occasions and never suffered any illness at all.
On my final night in Marrakech, during a visit to the city in February 2007, I ate at #93: Chez Bienvenue (each stall has a unique number and name).
Similar to the stalls that I had eaten at earlier on in my stay, the food on offer here consisted of whole chickens, beef, lamb and chicken kebabs, meat steaks, merguez sausages, shrimps, calamari, French fries, couscous, eggplant and salads. The set up was identical to that of countless other stalls on the square, with dozens of diners sat shoulder to shoulder on benches around the stall.
I sat next to two brothers from Birmingham, one of whom had just finished eating a plate of sheep brains prior to my arrival.
Favorite Dish: The hygienic standards at the food stalls in the Djemaa El Fna always looked a bit questionable to me. This was highlighted during the course of my meal at Chez Bienvenue, when a large pile of mince meat fell from the stall onto the concrete below. The owner picked it up and dusted it down, while the tourists looked knowingly at each other as to what he was about to do with it. Sure enough, the meat was placed back on the stall awaiting its consumption by an unsuspecting customer!
My meal at Chez Bienvenue consisted of:
- The ubiquitous complimentary piece of round bread and a plate of diced tomatoes and onions;
- Fried shrimps: a large plate of tasty shrimps served with a slice of lemon;
- Chicken kebabs: 6 skewers of tender, well cooked chicken
- A bottle of Coca Cola;
- A glass of sweet mint tea.
The total cost of my meal was just 75 Dhs (approx. 4.50 GBP).
As I've said in my other tips about the various food stalls at Djemaa El Fna, eating at these no frills stalls and mingling with the locals is probably my overriding memory of my stay in Marrakech and the best way to experience the city and its people!
Cheap, tasty shrimps and kebabs in an amazing setting! Highly recommended!!