Almost as soon as we had dropped off our bags in our beautiful riad we found ourselves stepping back out into the chaos of Marrakech’s Medina. Cars tried to jostle their way through the dusty streets, donkeys pulling carts alongside them and mopeds speeding by loudly tooting their horns. We darted out, joining the people (and cats) zigzagging between the traffic. Our bellies were rumbling and we were on a mission to find some Moroccan food.
Not a total surprise, I’m sure, that the first thing I do in a different country is hunt out the local food. But Morocco is a place where the cuisine is such a huge part of the culture – well I like to tell myself this anyway so that I have an excuse for all the eating! With five days in this magical and mythical city we attempted to eat our way around the whole of Marrakech, from sipping mint tea in rooftop cafes, sampling street food in the bustling markets, and fine dining in luxurious hotels.
These are some of our best spots to eat in Marrakech and all of them are just as lip-smacking as the next:
♥ Le Jardin
Wanting to dive straight into the thick of it as soon as we arrived, we made our way through the winding alleyways of the souks, trying not to get lost, until we came across Le Jardin. Hidden behind a little doorway that we had to duck to get through, the courtyard inside is filled with tall banana trees, flowering plants, trickling water features and a friendly tortoise.
With an extremely tranquil and calming atmosphere, it’s an oasis from the madness just outside. The perfect place to stop for a light lunch and to try our first traditional Moroccan dishes, such as kofta.
♥ Gastro MK
This was without a doubt our favourite place for dinner during our trip. Beautiful, luxurious and extremely romantic, and that’s without even mentioning the mouth-watering five course tasting menu that we got to enjoy. We donned our best frocks, sampled cocktails and canapes on the rooftop, worked our way through plate after plate of mouth-watering contemporary Moroccan food while sitting around the twinkling pool, and got treated to an anniversary dessert on top of all the other courses. We loved this place so much that I wrote an entire post about it.
♥ Food Stalls in Jemaa el-Fna
Every evening the food markets come alive in the main square offering up all sorts of dishes from snails and lamb heads to soups and salads. It’s loud and intense and you need to be prepared for an onslaught as every single stall holder attempts to lure you in with the sound of their sizzling foods along with some extremely cheesy London jokes and failed cockney accents.
Despite the mayhem this was one of our best meals in Marrakech. The atmosphere and the whole experience made it so enjoyable – not understanding any of the menu and just pointing to other people’s dishes to order (we ended up with a harira soup, bread roll and merguez sausages), sitting with locals while we ate and people watching in the buzzing square around us. So simple, so cheap but ridiculously fun.
Tip: Wander around all the stalls before picking which one to eat at and find somewhere that is busy with locals as you know the food will be good. We ate at Stall 32 which had come recommended and was constantly busy. They didn’t even need to try to tempt people into eating there as they were already so popular!
♥ In your riad
Sometimes you just need a break from all the chaos outside the walls of your accommodation so staying inside and dining in a riad is the perfect spot for a peaceful meal. We loved waking up every morning in our luxurious haven at Riad Assakina, taking a seat in the courtyard and having a relaxing breakfast next to the pool. In the afternoon we would return after a day of exploring to be greeted with mint tea and cake.
We also ate dinner here one night and because most of the riads are so small and intimate, it felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves.
♥ Roti D’Or
On the off chance you may need a little break from Moroccan food (but you shouldn’t because it’s all so delicious), Roti D’Or is the place to go. It’s a tiny little café close to the centre of the Medina serving up quick and cheap quesadillas, burgers and shawarmas (wraps).
♥ La Sultana
Even if you’re not hungry I’d still recommend eating here just so you can get a glimpse of the amazingness of this hotel. Honestly, the place is just gorgeous and I couldn’t ever see myself venturing outside its doors if we stayed here.
We were served lunch on the roof and the staff were all so friendly – I was even given a mini chair for my bag! Although the setting was extremely luxurious it wasn’t at all pretentious and the variety of Moroccan and European dishes would suit anyone.
♥ Comptoir Darna
We ate here on our last night in Marrakech and had such a fun evening full of fruity cocktails and scrumptious food. But the atmosphere is what really makes this place fabulous with lively belly dancers to entertain you while you eat and traditional musicians in the bar upstairs to end the night off with some dancing of your own.
Tip: It’s in the new part of town and is a hit with both tourists and locals alike so it does get extremely busy. Make sure you book a table in advance and go no earlier than 9pm as the entertainment doesn’t start till late.
♥ Orange juice stalls in Jemaa El-Fna
Wandering around all day in the Moroccan sunshine can be exhausting, especially when you’re covered pretty much from head to toe in clothes. Even when we visited in October, the hot sun still shone down on us and had us gasping for a refreshing drink by mid-morning. A brief stop off at the orange juice stalls that fill Jemaa El-Fna during the day was the perfect respite from the heat.
Here are some other places we heard great things about but didn’t get a chance to try (any excuse for a return trip):
Latitude31 ♥ Maison Arabe ♥ Cafe des Epices ♥ Cafe Clock ♥ Nomad
Do you love trying the local cuisine as much as I do? Where is your favourite place to eat in Marrakech? Let me know in the comments below or at: