Top tips for dining in Marrakech

When it comes to restaurants, I’m always up for trying something new.  But often the restaurant scene here in Marrakech fails to live up to my expectations.  Either it’s a repeat of what already exists, it’s too expensive, service is horrible or it just doesn’t live up to the hype.  And sometimes it’s all of that!

Thankfully I have a few that I return to on a regular basis.  While I typically eat Moroccan food, the best of which is prepared in the riads, from time to time I need a burger.  Or just even a change of scenery.  So to prevent any restaurant disappointment, I’m happy to share my favourite establishments in Marrakech.

Le Jardin

Set in an old, traditional riad in the medina, Le Jardin is always a hit.  The service amazing, the ambiance brilliant and the food delicious.  The team here is so friendly and goes out of their way to accommodate.  Combine this with the trendy decor and interesting spaces, a blend of cozy and open, throughout the restaurant to create a relaxing atmosphere.  In winter I tend to head up to the rooftop terrace to soak up the sun, or next to a fireplace.  It’s the perfect retreat when you’ve had enough of the souks.

32, souk El jeld
Sidi Abdelaziz
Marrakech Médina
http://www.lejardin.ma/

Le Loft

A trendy restaurant in the Gueliz district of Marrakech with a French menu.  As the owner pointed out recently, I’ve probably tried everything on the menu *embarrass smile*.   It’s just one of those places that you know will deliver.  The food, the service and the patio.  Oh the patio, a little oasis.  Outside, yet hidden, the way it has to be here in Marrakech.  Whether it’s for after-work drinks, dinner or a boozy lunch, I always head for the patio.  Casablanca beer, a nice selection of Moroccan wines, great starters and fabulous mains.  During lunch they have a menu at starter+main or main+dessert menu for just 110 Dhs/$15.

18 Rue de la Liberte
Gueliz, Marrakech
+212 524 34216
524434216

16 Cafe

While I originally avoided this cafe, thinking it was too pretentious for me, I have a new love of this cafe located in the Marrakech Plaza.  Great people watching, combined with good coffee and great sandwiches, salads, breakfast and juices make this a favourite spot any time of the day.  I’m a fan of the chicken burger, calamari and any of the salads.

Marrakech Plaza
Corner of Avenue Hassan II and Mohamed V

Catanzaro 

A Marrakech institution, the Italian food is always delicious.  Popular with both locals and the expat community, reservations are mandatory.  Especially if you’ve had enough tajines, couscous etc.  The prices here are reasonable, the food delicious, the service attentive.  It’s no wonder it’s so popular!

42 rue Tarik Ibn Ziyad
Gueliz, Marrakech
+212 524 433 731

Marrakech: tips from an insider

I often get asked what to see and do in Marrakech.  So I’ve compiled a list of things to see both in the new city and the medina.

Spend a morning at Jardin Majorelle, admiring the gorgeous architecture and gardens, and Love posters.  If you’re interested in culture, the Museum of Berber Arts, located inside the house where YSL lived, is well worth a visit.  I especially loved the the collection of local costumes and jewels.

Then had to Kaowa for lunch and a shopping spree at Rue 33 Majorelle.  The gallery here has some great exhibits as well and is perfect even just for a coffee.

Art lovers should check out BCK Gallery, Galerie 127 and David Bloch Gallery in Gueliz.  Then head to Le Loft for lunch and drinks on the fabulous patio.

**Update January 2015 – Kechmara on Rue de la Liberte is also a great place for lunch in a trendy ambiance and changing art exhibits.

Back in the medina, the hard to find but well worth the visit, Maison de la Photographie houses a stunning collection of old black and white photography.  The museum is located in one of the oldest and most authentic areas of the medias, making it fun to view the collection of photos from 1900s and stepping outside to see the daily lives of locals that really hasn’t changed much from the photos.

Le Jardin is one of my favorite restaurants, and a wonderful place to escape the madness of the medina. The menu is a fusion of western-style dishes and Moroccan food.  And the cafe nouss nouss is delish!

For more off the beaten path, but ultra trendy, head to Riad Yima, the cafe/art gallery owned by Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj.  His works are fun and very affordable.

Watch the sunset from the rooftop terrace at Cafe de France, as the sound of the call to prayer fills the medina.  Then head down to the food stalls for dinner.

** Update January 2015 – If you’re put off by eating in Jemaa el Fna because you don’t know where to eat, or afraid of the entertainers in the square, join us for a Tasting Marrakech food and cultural tour.

Head to the local hammam for an unbelievably relaxing experience.  The local hammam on Rue Zitoune Jdid in Kenaria is fabulous.  Open to men in the morning and women evening afternoon/evening, this is a great place to experience a local ritual.

But the best tip I can give is that the Marrakech medina is a site in itself.  Wander, explore, sip coffee and watch the world go by.

Planning a trip to Morocco? Contact me for excursions or private tours.  I’m only too happy to refer to one of my colleagues!