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Foodguide: What to eat in Marrakesh

With a city so famous for spices and flavour, it would be incredibly disappointing if the food in Marrakesh was below par. Thankfully, that is nowhere near being the truth. There are countless examples of amazing Moroccan food on offer in the capital – and we’ve piled them all together for you to peruse. From classic dishes to Moroccan street food, we’ve outlined the best places to eat in Marrakesh.


Tajine

One of the most famous foods to come out of Morocco, a tajine isn’t just a meal, it’s also the name for the conical cooking pot it’s prepared in. And when it comes to ordering a tajine, it’s not simply about pointing at it on the menu – every tajine is different. It’s a little like paella in that way. You can get a vegetarian tajine, one with chicken, and even one with lamb. Despite the variety of meats (or lack of) you can get in tajines, most possess a similar make-up of spices, with most incorporating ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron. All of which are locally sourced.

With so many variants of this incredible meal on offer throughout the city, the only way to really figure out which one you like the most is by trying them all. If you start to feel a little guilty, just consider it research.

Best place to try: Terrasse Bakchich, a tiny diner by the Makkakesh Museum with a hidden rooftop terrace.
Don’t miss: The speciality tajines - there are more than a dozen to try. Choose from rabbit, meatball, fish or vegetarian.

The Best of the Rest

Far from being the only delicious dish on offer in the Moroccan capital, we’ve rounded up a few other local specialties that you need to try. Now, we definitely don’t think we’re introducing to you this next dish, but we’d never forgive ourselves without mentioning couscous. Much like the aforementioned tajine, couscous dishes in Marrakesh include a variety of paired ingredients and can differ from restaurant to restaurant – so make sure you try a few. 

One for the vegetarians here – harira is an incredibly flavoursome soup made from tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils. Usually the first thing to be eaten whenever the city’s Muslims break their fast during Ramadan, it’s a favourite with tourists and locals alike. You can also get a meat version of harira when you want an extra dose of protein. For breakfast, bissara is another soup that’s commonly eaten - made from dried fava beans and topped with a swirl of olive oil and a sprinkling of cumin.

Best place to try: The Zwin Zwin Cafe, on top of the Zwin Zwin boutique hotel. Its menu is very vegetarian-friendly and offers traditional Moroccan as well as contemporary fare.
Don’t miss: The panoramic views of the Atlas Mountains and Koutoubia which are best enjoyed with, well, everything!

Street Food

When it comes to Moroccan street food, Marrakesh is an absolute hub of tasty treats. There are lots of great places to pick up some cheap street eats around the city, including the main square of Jemaa el-Fnaa and all the entrances found around the old town’s famous souks. But what should you try?

It seems like an obvious answer, but it’s nonetheless a worthwhile one – kebabs. Mix and match a few skewers and find your favourite. If you’re asking us to pick one, we’d plump for the tender lamb. Speaking of, lamb tanjia is another street food staple. Lamb shoulder toasted in a Moroccan clay pot; it melts in your mouth. Seafood lovers can rejoice in the fish chermoula, made with fresh sardines and spicy chermoula. Brochettes are a meat dish taken straight from the barbecue and put in between some local bread. And finally, be sure to get your hands on some maakouda, which are essentially little Moroccan potato rostis.

Best place to try: Monsieur Fromage at the Souk Talaa. Famous in the area,  just ask for him by name to get directions.
Don’t miss: The lamb kidney skewers. They’re only cooked between 10am and noon, so when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Market Life

With a plethora of meals recommended for your taste buds to get to grips with, we thought we’d also fill you in on another of Marrakech’s crowning jewels – its markets. Yes, we already know they’re the place to be for all your spices and trinkets, but the markets are also incredibly fruitful for some delicious snacks and sweets.

One of the most prevalent images you’ll spot when traversing the city’s souks are the endless array of olives on offer. Cured olives are an ever-present on most Moroccan dinner tables, so it’s unsurprising to see so many variants on offer.  Choose from green olives, a Marrakesh specialty of matured black olives, pink olives and even harissa marinated olives. And if you want to stay on the pickled train a little longer, be sure to try the local gherkins and preserved lemons. Also, on offer around the souks are a number of exotic fruits, a wide selection of dates and an abundance of honey-glazed sweet treats.

Best place to try: Souk Ablouh and Méchoui Alley. Every shop is family owned and cooking is in a hole in the ground.
Don’t miss: Roasted sheep head. A special treat with a smokey flavour, the truly adventurous can dig for the eyeballs.

The Drinks Menu

Looking for a perfect drink pairing? During the day as you snack your way around the city, we’d recommend a freshly squeezed orange juice. Morocco is famed for its orange groves and baskets upon baskets of them are crushed and squeezed on the spot. And when you sit down to dinner, you can’t look past an authentic mint tea. Be wary though, the locals do indulge in a sugar cube or four – so you might want to inform them of such if you’re ordering by the pot.

Best place to try: Cafe Des Epices, an oasis of calm in the bustle of the medina. The wide menu options have something for every tastebud.
Don’t miss: The terrace views - you can take in the mountains as you eat your dessert, or just sit back with the best mint tea in Marrakesh.


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