We ate here three times and each time it was relaxing and inviting and the service very professional. Both the Moroccan and Italian menus were extraordinary.
The restaurant is in a gorgeous Moroccan building with a very romantic atmosphere that contributed to making our wedding anniversary so memorable. I very much recommend this restaurant.
17 derb Cherkaoui, Marrakech
+212 (0)524 389067
Morocco as a country is the most culturally rich place I've ever visited and more specifically Marrakech. Both Ryan Air and Easy Jet fly direct from many UK airports and flights are very reasonably priced.
I'd recommend staying a week or more here and checking in to one of the many Riad's within the Medina. By doing this you will almost immerse yourself in Moroccan culture and way of life; it never ceases to amaze me. I'd start by exploring your neighbourhood and meeting some of the locals. Hello (Salam), Goodbye (Beslama), Please (Afak) and Thank You (Shukran) will always go a long way as many people only speak the local dialect, not English or French. Ask the owner or manager of your Riad where the local Hammam baths are; they are well worth a visit! Some may offer a massage for en extra few Dirham.
Before starting to haggle in the Souks it may be worth talking to other tourists and staff at the Riad about prices to expect to pay for goods. Shopkeepers will always try to take you for a ride - don't give in too easily - if the price is too high for you, walk away, they'll soon run after you. Be sure to spend plenty of time in the Souks, especially in the evening as everything lights up - it almost seems magical. Don't forget to enjoy a freshly prepared meal in the stalls at Djemaa el Fna and to take in the various forms of street entertainment. Djemaa el Fna transforms into a vibrant hub at night for both local people and tourists.
As for things to do, I personally recommend visiting the El Badi Palace and the Saadien Tombs - all for a bit of local history. The Majorelle Gardens are also well worth a visit, I'd go in the morning when it's slightly quieter. There is a cafe there, but prices are rather steep, so take water and a snack. If you have the time to explore outside of Marrakech, take a Taxi (approx 1 hr) to the waterfalls at Ourika Valley. Wear sensible shoes and hire a guide when you get there.
As for Cafes, Restaurants and Bar's here are my top 3: Cafe Bourgainvillea - situated within the souks, perfect for afternoon tea and very reasonably priced. Cafe Arabe, is a restaurant just a bit further on and serves delicious food. After your meal, sit up on the rooftop terrace and enjoy views across the city. Expect to pay prices similar to those in the UK. African Chic, is cocktail and lounge bar in the Gueliz - the new part of the city. Most evenings they have a great live band playing, it's perfect to enjoy a classy evening.
All that's left to say is to enjoy it. You won't forget the Marrakech experience in a hurry!!
Cafe Bourgainvillea: 33 Rue de Moussaine, Medina, Marrakech
Cafe Arabe: 184 Rue de Moussaine, Medina, Marrakech
African Chic: 6 Rue Oum Errabia, Gueliz, Marrakech (0524) 431 424 www.african-chic.com/
My friend and I booked the Suite Royale (after hours of comparing riads) for $175 night (May/June) and it was amazing. Insanely so. Huge - five or so rooms including a bathroom with a lounge and fireplace, a grand piano room, a relaxation room, a balcony overlooking the pool, 15 foot ceilings and collection-worthy furniture.
Plus, the riad is in a great location, the staff were friendly and helpful, and the decor was stunning.
Restaurant and bar suggestions:
- Al Fassia for dinner. Absolutely go. But the secret is out, so book your reservations in advance via the internet. We received an excellent wine recommendation (and drank it the rest of the trip). The food was the best we had all week. Lastly: great atmosphere and people-watching. The human scenery was half the fun.
- Le Foundouk for dinner. The inside is very nice, but it's nothing compared to the rooftop deck, which would be worth a trip even if the food wasn't so good. Getting there is a little scary but that's part of the fun.
- La Mamounia for a drink. You will have to give-up your firstborn to pay for it, but lounging outside is such a nice break from the Marrakesh chaos that it's worth it.
- Maison Arabe for a drink at Le Club. It has that Rick's North African vibe. Piano player, upscale clientele, mixologist who takes his drinks seriously. A good way to start the evening.
Morocco trip report (Marrakesh, Essaouira, Atlas Mountains) at: www.travelmusings.net/morocco/
29 Arset Aouzal, Bab Doukkala, 40000 Marrakech, Maroc
00 212 524 38 54 51
Google map: tinyurl.com/3xvu4nr
55 Souk Hal Fassi, Kat Bennahid, 00212 (0)524378190
MH 9bis route de l'Ourika, 40000 Marrakech
TEL: +212 524 38 38 39
Avenue Bab Jdid, 40040, Marrakech
1, Derb Assehbé, Bab Doukkala
(+212) 5 24 38 70 10
This restaurant is run by a women's cooperative and we were quite curious to try it. Not a cheap restaurant and located out of the Medina so with a supplementary cost of the taxi, but it deserves the visit. We had dinner with a reservation and the food quality was excellent. The menu is a la carte - a thing unusual for a Moroccan restaurant in Marrakech, so you can choose how much you want to eat. The dishes are beautifully prepared and distinctive. The pastilla of pigeon was wonderful and the lamb tagine was excellent too.
This restaurant send a guide to your riad or hotel to walk you round there. You would never be able to find it otherwise.
The inside of the building is astonishing with huge high ceilings in very ornate mosaic style. All the waiters wear traditional costume and when we were there there was a large open log fire burning.
All in all an environment never to be forgotten.
The food was very good and was beautifully served.
Stylish restaurant with a great mix of Moroccan and European design. A friend of mine booked it for us and we ate on the roof terrace which has great views over Marrakech. There are two menus: one typically Moroccan and the other more fusion International/Moroccan. I had a Moroccan tajine which was extremely tasty.
Reservation is recommended. It's not cheap but it's a romantic place and is also good for small groups.
55 Souk Hal Fassi
Tel: +212 (0)24 378190
One of the few restaurants in the medina that serves alcohol. The food was nice but to be honest the food in many of the places surrounding Djemma El Fna was equally nice and cheaper.
14 Derb J'did near Place Des Ferblantiers in Mellah area in the south of the medina.
A taste of Japan in Marrakech.
Authentic Moroccan restaurant this is not. Some of the best Japanese food outside of Japan it most certainly is. As a great lover of all things gastronomic, with a soft-spot for fine Japanese cuisine, Tatchibana offered better Japanese food than I have eaten in London, Paris or New York, and what is more, the price tag is more attractive as well. Recently opened in an area of the Marrakech Medina that has not lost its charming madness to the tourist trade, this Japanese restaurant offers the tranquility of a Japanese garden, and savours of the highest quality Japanese cuisine. The chef, a Japanese native who now lives in Marrakech with his wife looks about 15 but prepares his dishes like a sage. This is a must see, not to be missed experience, even if your cultural senses are confused by a small haven of Asia in North Africa.
Les Premices is a great, cheap restaurant with an excellent location over looking the Djema el fna square. It has excellent service, food, and cocktails, and is the perfect place to watch the square come alive.
Overlooking the Djema el fna.
Buffet-style restaurant serving range of traditional Moroccan dishes. High quality, excellent choice, elegant dining room. In the evenings, you pay £10 and get a 3-course buffet meal, with as many repeat tastings as you like. Excellent for those that want to try a range of Moroccan foods.
In front of the Koutoubia, opposite the Place de Foucault.
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