Restaurants in Marrakech
A melting pot of cultures, to say that Moroccan cuisine is eclectic and exciting is an understatement and anyone eating out in Marrakech will learn this fairly quickly. An exotic mix of Arab, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and African influences, dining in Marrakech is an unforgettable experience.
Spices are a major part of Moroccan cuisine with cumin, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, pepper, coriander and saffron being the most commonly used. One cannot eat out in Marrakech without sampling a Tagine, a traditional lamb or chicken stew, which has been slowly braised in a clay pot resulting in delicately tender meat and an intensely aromatic flavour. Some of the most popular dishes include harira soup, couscous, jaouhara (fried phyllo pastry with cream) and bastilla (phyllo-pastry pie with pigeon, egg and almonds).
Visitors can sample street-side barbeques or splash out at upmarket restaurants throughout the city, where palatial-style eateries can be found as well as top-class French, Asian and Italian restaurants. For a truly authentic experience, head to the Medina at sunset and watch as over 100 kitchens and stalls specialising in different dishes are set up in Djemaa el-Fna Square to become one of the world's largest open-air eateries.
For Italian cuisine, visitors should try out Cantanzaro which serves a range of the most popular dishes. For classic Moroccan food in a stylishly renovated riad, Dar Moha. For daytime, café-style fare, Cafés du Livre and de Epices are excellent starting points, each with their own, unique atmosphere.
One of Marrakech's most popular eateries with foreigners, this simply furnished Italian restaurant and pizzeria has a wood-burning oven in an open kitchen, filling the air with delicious Italian aromas. Order a Royal pizza, topped with ground beef, prawns, mushrooms and ham; or try pasta in a creamy tomato and vodka sauce, and feel truly aristocratic as a bow-tied waiter caters to your every wish. Save room for the excellent tiramisu, or perhaps the home-style apple crumble? Cantanzano is open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner (12pm to 2.30pm, and from 7.15pm to 11pm); reservations are recommended and they do serve alcohol.
Address: 42 Tarik Bnou Ziyad
Telephone: +212 5244 33731
Cafe du Livre
This bookstore-cum-restaurant offers velvet chairs and comfortable loungers; a few strategically placed armchairs entice readers to sit down with coffee and cake, accompanied by free wifi for those who need to stay connected. An open kitchen serves salads, soups, sandwiches and burgers, or mushroom risotto and freshly baked cakes. Indulge in brunch-style breakfasts or an afternoon high tea with complimentary brownies. The tapas plates of hummus, tapenade, aubergine d'caviar and pâté are also good. Open Monday to Saturday, 9:30am to 9pm. Café du livre also serves alcohol.
Address: 44 Rue Tarik ibn Ziad
Telephone: +212 5244 46921
This restored riad is a wonderful venue for a romantic dinner. The back garden is the best place to eat, its walls decorated in Majorelle Garden blue and encircling a central swimming pool. Candle-lit tables and rose petals accompany a set menu of nouvelle Moroccan cuisine; familiar meals with a fresh twist. Try the beef tagine with figs and walnuts, cooked with cinnamon and argan oil. Lively yet subtle Gnaoua and Andalusian music completes the ambient scene. Open Tuesday to Sunday 12pm to 3pm, 7:30pm to 11pm. Visitors should make reservations and alcohol is served.
Address: 81 Rue Dar el Bacha
Telephone: +212 5243 86400
Cafe des Epices
Café des Épices is great for people-watching and the owner obligingly dishes out tasty sandwiches, salads, pastries along with helpful information. Spiced teas and coffees round it all off tastefully on the rooftop terrace at sunset, whil the first floor's chill-out lounge has become a popular spot for local youngsters. The atmosphere is new world, with music to match. Open daily, 8am to 8pm.
Address: Place Rahba Qedima, Medina
Telephone: +212 5243 91770