Eating Out in Marrakech

Eating Out in Marrakech

In our pursuit of discovering the quintessential Marrakech dish that I could recreate during our stay (similar to what I did in London), we explored numerous dining establishments, ranging from cafes to upscale restaurants. Here’s our ‘Dining Experience in Marrakech’ guide, the first of many to come, featuring our top restaurant picks:

Dar Yacout:

Our initial impression of Dar Yacout is that it’s more about the entire experience than just the food. Its opulence and grandeur make it a must-visit for anyone in Marrakech. Let our narrated slideshow convey that story. As for the cuisine, the salad starters left a strong impression. The highlights were the eggplant, red pepper, and zucchini salad and the delightful sweet tomato and rose confit. However, the hot bouts or turnovers filled with meats and cheeses were the standout. The chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemons was among the best we’ve ever had, with tender chicken and a zesty lemon sauce. Although featuring succulent lamb, the lamb with artichokes and peas had artichokes and peas that were slightly overcooked for our taste. The massive keneffa was a treat for desserts, consisting of layers of filo pastry, custard, cinnamon, and almonds, providing a delightful blend of crunch and sweetness. Mint tea and more sweets followed, with the delightful Kab El Ghzal or gazelle’s horns, crescent-shaped pastries filled with almonds, and the lovely scent of orange blossom, standing out as the best we tasted in Marrakech.

Le Foundouk:

Much like Dar Yacout, the arrival at Le Foundouk is a dramatic experience. A lantern-bearing man in a jellabiya greets your taxi and leads you to the restaurant. Once inside, you’re transported to an entirely different world than the dusty, chaotic street outside. It’s glamorous, beautifully lit, and incredibly sophisticated, capturing the unique charm of Marrakech’s dining establishments. The eclectic soundtrack, featuring artists like David Byrne and Radiohead, caters to an international crowd. Although we noticed fewer locals than our previous visit, the food was good. We began with a mixed plate of piping hot Brits and an assortment of tasty salads. A sweet and salty rabbit pastilla, served with “dry grapes” (raisins) and onions, left a lasting impression. The lamb tagine with artichokes and peas was excellent, with moist meat and flavorful artichokes and peas.

Al Fassia:

Elegance, vibrancy, and liveliness define Al Fassia, which stands out with its female chefs and waitstaff. However, it’s the food that truly takes center stage. Our meal started with a dozen delectable Moroccan salads, the familiar ones that we all savored. The harira soup, thick and hearty with chunks of lamb, was a delightful beginning. The pigeon pastilla we sampled was the best we’ve ever had, combining tasty meat and crispy pastry with the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The lamb tagine with confit tomatoes followed, offering melt-in-your-mouth lamb and a sweet, rich sauce that ranked the best we’ve tasted. The chicken tagine with olives and lemons featured a darker and heavier sauce than others we’ve tried, adding complexity to the flavor. All in all, it was an outstanding Moroccan feast.

Café Arabe:

Café Arabe’s popularity could be attributed to its mention in guidebooks or its alcohol availability, and there’s likely a connection between the two. While the food here wasn’t extraordinary, it’s a great choice for lunch if you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal, as there are few places in the souqs where you can have a drink without committing to a set-menu feast similar to Dar Yactout. The venue is stunning, with a ground-floor restaurant that balances casual and elegant, a chic Berber-inspired first-floor bar, and a breezy rooftop bar. The menu combines Moroccan and Italian dishes; we’re thankful they weren’t on the same plate. It’s worth a visit for a quick bite and a drink.

Terrasse Espices:

Signposted as a ‘bar,’ this rooftop terrace café, resembling a fabulous lounge bar, does not serve alcohol. Located right in the souqs, it’s a convenient spot for a lunch break amidst your shopping adventures. The décor is stylish, with banquet seating, Oriental tray tables, and billowing curtains providing privacy to individual seating areas. The views over the souq rooftops are fascinating. The young waitstaff, dressed in black trousers, t-shirts, and aprons, set a relaxed atmosphere with a chilled soundtrack. However, the food was average; the Mechwi du Chef was tasty but a bit tougher than some leather found in the souq below. The Tride au Pigeon had a delightful flavor, with super tasty pastry/pasta, but the pigeon itself was a bit scrawny and dry. Nonetheless, it’s a lovely spot for a quick lunch between shopping sprees.

Additional Options:

  • Marrakchi is the sole restaurant on the main square that serves alcohol and boasts one of the most atmospheric interiors in Marrakech. Although the food quality has declined, it’s still worth a visit for the ambiance, decent but not extraordinary fare, entertainment like belly dancers, and its convenient medina location. However, be prepared for pushy staff who may need to provide better service.
  • Tangia, near the metal-workers souq, is housed in a splendid building. An inside table is recommended for an evening meal, complete with live music. The food is good, though not exceptional. The tajine kefta aux tomates et oeufs (meatballs with tomato and egg) was tasty, and the lamb couscous with vegetables, while unevenly cooked, was decent. Oddly, they had limited alcoholic beverages during our visit, and service was slow. They asked if we wanted to add the service charge to our credit card, which we declined.
  • Le Grande Café de la Poste offers a refreshing change from traditional Moroccan cuisine, serving a combination of French and Mediterranean dishes. The menu features fantastic oysters, decent pasta, and steaks, all in a glamorous setting that combines a Parisian brasserie with Moroccan-colonial influences, complete with banquettes, potted palms, and ceiling fans. Even if you don’t want to indulge in French flavors, dropping by for a drink is worth it.