With an enviable situation overlooking the Djemaa 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 MAD 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 MAD, and particularly liked the pineapple and the nougat flavours.
Next 2009 tip: the Café de l'Etoile
2016 review The review below was written after our 2009 visit to Marrakech. Two years later, in 2011, the Café Argana was destroyed by a terrorist bomb, killing 17 people and injuring 25 more - most were tourists. Al Qaeda were blamed but denied responsibility.
In 2016 when we returned to Marrakesh it was to find the Café Argana completely rebuilt and very much open for business, although the airport-style security gates are a reminder of the past. We didn't have a meal here on this visit, but came twice for cold drinks on its roof terrace (which by the way is now fully accessible as a lift has been installed). On both occasions I enjoyed "citronade", what the French call citron pressée - really sharp and refreshing. Chris had the same on our second visit, but on the first an equally good orange juice. Prices were fair, given the location and the views of the activity in the Djemaa el Fna below.
2009 review 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 MAD. These were delicious and not as sweet as I had imagined they might be.
Next 2009 tip: mint tea
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!
Next 2009 tip: a warning about courtyard basins
Great food here,
There is a downstairs part and also a room and balcony upstairs.
The balcony overlooks the night market which is great, at night it is very atmospheric :)
Well worth eating here :)
Favorite Dish The Tajines
The cafe first rose to fame in Peter Mayne's A Year in Marrakech. The writer spent many afternoons sitting in the cafe watching the festivities in the Djemaa el Fna, It was the focus of his early days in the city. It later became a popular place for tourists, offering some of the best views in the city, especially at sunset as the square changes into one big open air restaurant. The food, which I didn't eat, is apparently terrible. Your best bet is to go up there at least an hour before sunset and drink lots of mint tea.
Fancy a 25 euro sandwich? Well it does come with a small serving of fries.
Lunch at the Mamounia hotel is not the cheapest eat you'll find in Morocco, but it is in an exclusive, historic and beautiful location. Winston Churchill once stayed at this hotel, and President Putin's daughter got married here in 2013. It's a place for the rich and famous, those who don't care about the price of a sandwich, or those who will expense it.
As it was Christmas day, and because it was so pleasant to sit inside the hotel, we paid out about 50 euros for a sandwich, fries, mint tea, freshly squeezed orange juice and a fruit tart. They did bring my son a plate of strawberries fresh from their own gardens, and there were free nuts too, but it's still hard to justify the cost. The drinks were quite reasonably priced, though, so sitting down for a mint tea would probably be the best option if you aren't loaded. Plus the food took a very, very long time for what amounted to toasted sliced bread with cheese.
Just a note: it's totally fine to enter the hotel even if you aren't resident there. They will probably assume you are staying there when they bring you the bill and ask for your room number, but just give them cash or credit card instead.
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!
After dinner on our second night we needed some sweets and found this place which has a great cafe in back where families can sit down and enjoy themselves if you decide to eat here as we did.
Favorite Dish Chocolate cake was great.
Le Charlot was a lovely cafe/restaurant on Mohammed V Avenue. We had a latte whilst people watching. Prices are very cheap for food and drink in Marrakech and the price of a latte here was about £1.
This cafe has only been recently opened and the decor is based on Charlie Chaplin.
Favorite Dish The cakes and desserts looked lovely but we had just had lunch.
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.
This big shop sells biscuits, cake and icecream in the front.
Check out all the lovely cakes on offer, and decide which one you want. Then, elbow your way through the crowd to the quite back of the shop and sit down in the Salon de The. (There is more seating upstairs!) Order your drink and cake, or have an icecream, and relax.
My favourite time for a visit is in the evening after dinner. Skip dessert at the restaurant and come here! Both the shop and salon are nice and quiet then and service is super-fast.
Prices are great considering the good quality of the food: cakes for 15 - 20 dh, coffee for 6 - 10 dh. They serve moroccan coffee or Illy espresso. Icecream sorbets for around 30 dh.
Favorite Dish A noss-noss (half coffee, half hot milk) with a piece of cake - any of the gateaux!
This little gem is located at the Place Rahba Lakdima, at the center of the souks. The place is very european, with a perfect view on the square, where daily life goes on as usual. Enjoy a mint tea or fresh orange juice by watching the life on the square.
This place is runned by enthousiast young people.
The menu is limited and only for lunch.
There's no dinner served.
The atmosphere is good and very relaxed.
Favorite Dish The tuna sandwich with a fresh orange juice. This place looks very good, and well equiped to serve this delicious food.
They also had something to eat for our kids, which are not such adventurous eaters.
Very well recommended for lunch or a drink.