Street Vendors, Marrakesh

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 Reviews

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    Stall #42: Rachida: Fried shrimps on Djemaa El Fna

    by SWFC_Fan Written Mar 3, 2007

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    #42 Rachida, Djemaa El Fna
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    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.

    One of the stalls that I visited during my trip in February 2007 was #42: Rachida (each stall has its own number and name).

    On this occasion I was beckoned in by the waiter who insisted on showing me the range of food available at Rachida. He took me by the hand and led me along a line of raw meat (sausages, whole chickens, lamb and beef kebabs), fish, shrimps, calamari, couscous, eggplant and plates of salad. I told him that I'd have a look around and come back later, but he offered me a complimentary glass of mint tea (or "Moroccan Whisky" as he referred to it!) while I studied the menu - and I relented and agreed to eat there.

    I took a seat on one of the empty benches (quite a rarity at Djemaa El Fna where you usually have to battle for elbow room with neighbouring diners!) and received my glass of mint tea along with a paper place mat, a piece of round bread and a tomato dip.

    Favorite Dish: I ordered a plate of fried shrimps and a bottle of Fanta orange. After a few minutes, I received a plate half filled with fried shrimps...and half filled with calamari. I picked at the calmari, but ate very little of it. The shrimps, on the other hand, were very tasty and I soon emptied that half of my plate. The waiter saw that I wasn't eating the calamari and apologised for assuming that I wanted it. He then ordered one of the cooks to serve me another handful of shrimps, which arrived a few minutes later.

    After polishing off my additional shrimps, Rachid brought me another glass of mint tea. I sat back and watched the spectacle around me - hundreds of food stalls selling cheap, tasty food, thousands of people (locals and tourists alike) mingling, the sound of drums being played and the smell of meat being cooked. Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna really is one of the things that you must do to *experience* Marrakech!

    The total cost of my meal (shrimps, calamari, bread, tomato dip, bottle of Fanta orange and 2 glasses of refreshing mint tea) was just 40 Dhs (approx. 2.50 GBP)!!

    Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna is one of the best ways to really experience Marrakech and to meet its people! Many of the food stalls offer similar food, but each has its own character - be sure to drop by #42 Rachida to try the delicious fried shrimps! Highly recommended!!

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    Stall #81: Chez Abdessalam: Kebabs at Djemaa El Fna

    by SWFC_Fan Written Mar 3, 2007

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    #81 Chez Abdessalam, Djemaa El Fna
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    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.

    The first stall that attracted my custom was #81 Chez Abdessalam (each stall has a number and a name). I took a seat at one of the benches, shoulder to shoulder with other diners (eating at Djemaa El Fna is not for the claustrophobic!), and received a complimentary bread roll, a tomato dip and a paper place mat. The guidebooks recommend that you use your bread as an alternative to cutlery as most people who fall sick from eating at the stalls do so because of utentils that are rinsed and reused.

    The menu at Chez Abdessalam includes soups, salad, fish, mixed seafood, sausages, couscous, eggplant, lamb, chicken and beef kebabs.

    Favorite Dish: My meal at Chez Abdessalam was as follows:

    - Complimentary bread (a round piece of bread, ideal for soaking up sauces and dips). This was standard at all the stalls I visited;

    - A tomato based dip with a hint of aniseed to it;

    - A plate of olives;

    - A plate of French fries. Very nice - thin and salty;

    - Mixed kebabs: 6 kebabs on long skewers (2 each with chicken, beef and lamb - with red and green peppers and onions), 3 small sausages (of unknown meat, but very well cooked!) and a piece of lamb. All the meat was extremely well cooked and for the most part was good quality. The chicken kebabs were nicer than the beef or lamb ones, but all were pretty good!

    - A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Ice cold and very refreshing.

    - A complimentary glass of mint tea, served with the mint leaf still in the glass. Very tasty and surprisingly refreshing!

    The total cost of my meal was just 50 Dhs (approx. 3 GBP).

    Superb value food and a unique atmosphere! Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna is an absolute must! You could do worse than #81: Chez Abdessalam! Highly recommended!!

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    Street Vendors: Dinner at Djemaa el Fna

    by DanielF Updated Aug 24, 2006

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    When the night falls, all the story-tellers, acrobats and snake charmers disappear from Djema el Fnaa and give way to the food stalls which will soon fill the air swith smoke and grilled meat and spices scents.

    Favorite Dish: If you do not feel confident about your stomach being resistant to the street food in Marrakesh (which is the case for many Westerners), the best option is to watch the scene from one of the many cafe terraces that overlook the square while sipping a thé à la menthe.

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  • Street Vendors: Good shop for a quick snack

    by chihiro75 Written May 20, 2006

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    tagines cooking outside the shop
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    There's a small shop that sells chiche kebab and small individual tagines (see pix) near the Riad des Arts, which was quite OK for a snack. I think it was 5 dinars for whatever (one stick of chiche kebab, or one tagine, with bread and tomato "salsa" type salad on the side), I have no idea whether this is normal or tourist price. Nothing great and not shining clean, but fresh and safe and the people although not wreathed in smiles are OK. If you're staying in the neighborhood in a Riad, it's a nice change from either the bad and expensive terrace restaurants of Djama El Fna or the food in the Riads. Practically only local people eat there (rather uncomfortable, perched on narrow high chairs at a counter) and tourists usually seem to buy chiche kebab sandwiches. It's better to eat there though and get a tagine.

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    Food stalls: Where Marrakesh comes to life by night

    by sunlovey Updated May 15, 2006

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    Vendors setting up
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    If you want to eat cheap, authentic, and beneath the stars, the food stalls are the way to go. However, how you decide on which one to partake of is up to you, there are SO MANY and they're all oh so friendly as they try and persuade you to have a seat at their little eatery. We chose one that was extremely crowded as we assumed this was a good sign.

    They squeezed us in on one of the long, skinny tables with bench seating between two other dining parties. Then asked us what we'd like in French, and when I say they, I mean multiple people, all surrounding us apparently dying to take our order. ;-) Unfortunately my vision is not as good as I'd like and I was having a difficult time reading the posted menu, perhaps the delicious smoke pouring forth from the grills added to my inability. I simply said "poulet, poisson, legumes, salade?" And within SECONDS they were bringing us a thousand little dishes of Moroccan salads, couscous, bread, dips for the bread, etc. etc. And shortly thereafter that, skewers of chicken and fish and beef (for Tim). The food just kept coming.

    The people sitting next to us finished eating and we watched them negotiate their bill (yes, bargaining here too) and then a nice lone French guy sat in their place and we watched him get greeted/affronted by a swarm of waiters. ;-)

    It was A LOT of fun, chaos and good food in the most unique atmosphere ever. Kind of felt like a picnic with a bunch of strangers.

    Favorite Dish: I love love love all the little salads and bread and dips they give you!

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  • Djemma el Fna: its been said a thousand times...

    by lucyt Written Mar 2, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ...but it is still true: the Djemma is the best place to eat.
    With the coming of dusk the square is populated by a fresh sea of faces as countless cooking fires start and throw their smoke to the sky. For less than a fiver a head you can eat well and people watch at your leisure.
    One word of warning: it is better to eat early in the evening as a lack of running water means that glasses and cutlery are washed in the same water all evening.

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    Street Vendors: Hunja at Hassan's

    by tini58de Written Jan 29, 2006

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    Favorite Dish: Hunja is a hot - and I mean hot! tea made out of ginseng with cloves, ginger and cinnamon and probably a handful of other spices. Delicious, especially on a cold evening! It is usually served together with some sort of chocolate cake, which was not quite my kind of taste, but an adventure nevertheless!

    Don't miss hunja while you are in Marrakesh! We enjoyed it at Hassan's stall Nr. 70 at the Djemaa el Fna!

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  • Street Vendors: Wonderful restaurant atmosphere!

    by annie412 Written Sep 29, 2005

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    The fantasitc
    1 more image

    So the travel books advised us not to eat in the square! However we did, and several times. The food is lovely, you watch it being cooked and the outside atmosphere is great!

    You are given bread to start with tomatos and herbs then you put in your order, different kebabs, couscous or vegetables. I had chicken and salad most times.

    Children do approach you selling tissues and jewellery etc. If you do not want the items ou must be firm with them, the stall holders discourage them. However unfortunatekly many tourists say "no" ten times and then "yes!" If you do want the items are saying may no more than about 5 Dr for tissues.

    I would advise you to be careful on the amount of salad you eat, hygenie is not the same as ours and stall holders tend not to wash their hands between touching the meat and the salad, I found that if I ate too much salad I got an upst stomach...

    The lovely thing is the stall holders remember you and chat with you, they will also give you free mint tea which tastes lovely.

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    Street Vendors: Jema al-Fna Square

    by tord Written May 21, 2005

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    And everything less than a pound.

    As the sun goes down so the tables and stalls come out and the whole square is turned into a huge open air cafe. Everything is available from kebabs to seafood to sheeps heads, large and small. It's cheap, cheap, cheap,noisy, bustling and great fun. The waiters fuss over everyone and dragged us up to have ur photo taken with them behind the stall when we had finished eating.

    Favorite Dish: We tried a bit of everything! Prawns, mixed fish, moroccan salad, an aubergine dish, lamb kebabs and of course the moroccan flat bread.
    There's no alcohol for sale as the square is situated in the medina, but who needs alcohol when you can get a high from the setting.

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    At the Jemaa-el-fna: A must

    by belgianchocolate Updated Apr 11, 2005

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    Ok , Marrakesh is infected by tourists.
    But eating at the Jemaa-el-fna square is a must
    in the evening. An experience. It turns in into
    this giant open air restaurant. Locals and
    tourists eat side by side.

    You can tell which one is the tourist stall , and
    which one is were the locals eat. The locals like
    eating for instance sheep heads. Something
    most tourists find not so appealing.

    We just went for our intuition....
    I love Moroccan cuisine and I had a salad
    some grilled sausages , a pastilla with chicken ,
    coca-cola....bread....all for about 5 euro.
    It tasted really good..


    Ignore the pushy vendors and take your time
    to look around. Shake hands , smile. :-)
    Think about it. The bill will always be a little
    more then you had in mind. They also charge
    you some taxes , the olives , the extra bread...etc etc.
    Still good value for money.

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    Street Vendors: enjoy an evening meal on Djemaa al Fna

    by jacobzoethout Updated Feb 19, 2005
    food stall, djemaa al fna

    The best choice for a meal in Marrakesh is to take a seat at one of the food stalls on Djemaa Al Fna in the evening and just enjoy the many salads, the kebab and everything. It's better than the more expensive restaurants.

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    Street Vendors: More about Jemaa-al-Fnaa dining

    by travelmad478 Written Jan 11, 2004

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    It seemed like a good idea to look around for the stalls occupied with a lot of elderly Moroccan men. I figured these guys would know who had the best food. That strategy worked pretty well.

    Nearly all of Jemaa-al-Fnaa's food stalls have little stools to sit at. You sit in a row with other diners, pointing at what you want to eat. Watch out that you don't get loaded up with food you didn't ask for--although even if you do, it won't cost you too much. You pay at the end--no tips necessary. In general, the prices are extremely low. I ate fried fish, grilled vegetables, kebabs, lentil soup, and tea (at four different stalls) for under USD 8.

    Here's our intrepid dining team awaiting our first course!

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    Street Vendors: Dinner at Jemaa al-Fnaa Square--do not miss this!

    by travelmad478 Written Jan 11, 2004

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    Eating at the square is an absolute must. Just walk into the center and start looking around--there are dozens of stalls, some serving just one or two dishes and some that appear to be complete restaurants with every conceivable food on display. Wandering around to pick your first stop, you'll get swarmed by stall owners trying to convince you that their food is the one you want--but take your time to decide! There are kebab stalls, fish stalls (that's what we chose first--try a piece!), tea stalls, sweet stalls, lentil soup and bean stew stalls, and my favorite: snail stalls. (I didn't try those, but if you want to, you've got about eight to choose from.) We stopped at about five different places and ate fantastic fried fish with grilled vegetables at the one pictured here. The food was excellent, very cheap, and safe. Not one of our party had a moment's stomach trouble.

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    Street Vendors: Orange juice and dry fruits stalls

    by diageva Written Jan 10, 2004

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    Orange stalls

    All during the day you will find many orange and dry fruits stalls at Place Djemma F'na. The orange juice is wonderful BUT PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE :
    DO NOT ASK FOR AN ORANGE JUICE ...

    ASK FOR AN ORANGE JUICE "WITHOUT WATER", they will make you the juice at the moment and ask you to see that he is not adding any water ... THAT IS HOW YOU CAN HAVE ORANGE JUICE ...

    I did have many wonderful orange juice, but I didn't said anything about water ... and the second day I notice an ice at may juice ... THE CONSECUENCE WHERE ... 14 HOURS AT THE WC ... having very bad moments ...

    When I was recovered I asked again for an orange juice without water and ... I didn't get ill anymore ... SO PLEASE .... !!!!!

    SirRichard told me ... but I forgot and that made me get ill for a hole day

    Favorite Dish: Orange juice (without water) ... 2,5 dirham (= 0.25 euros)

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    Street Vendors: Place Djemma F'na

    by diageva Written Jan 10, 2004

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    Food stalls at Place Djemma F'na

    In winter is over four in the afternoon when you can begin to see big coloums of smoke comming from Place Djemma F'na. Many food stall begin to serve food just behind the orange juice and dry fruits stalls that you can see all over the day. There you can see fried fish, meat, snails, vegetables ... you only have to look around and choose what it desires to you to eat that night. The stalls are not crowed so ... you will find it a very wonderful and unforgetable night.

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