If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught a glimpse of my most recent trip to Marrakech. If there is anything to be said about me outside of the world of personal finance, it’s that I travel. A lot. And with that, I get the opportunity to visit places, evaluate them, and tell you what’s good and what’s meh. Today, let’s talk about food in Medina.
I’ve sent myself to Marrakech for a few days and in between the cultural endeavors, I spent (alongside with 5 companions) my time eating. Moroccan cuisine is interesting and varied. My aim was to get a good fill on the traditional and modern dishes and also to spend some time on the rooftops – that’s by far the nicest way to take a good look of the Medina as the streets below are a pure chaos and a constant quest for survival. In this article, I’ll take you through all the restaurants I have eaten at during the short trip in chronological order.
Le Trou Au Mur
This restaurant with a rooftop terrace offers a selection of traditional and modernized Moroccan dishes as well as some international selection. The standouts for us were the 7 salads – a fantastic sharing starter (and vegan friendly) which showcases the use of spices and sweet flavours beautifully. The meze platter is also excellent, alas a little more international – the selction included generally ‘middle eastern’ options such as falafel, hummus and aubergine dips. Aside from that we all had our fair share of tajine.
Price wise, this restaurant scores average for European pocket and expensive for the locals. Our cost per person averaged to approx. £12 including non-alcoholic drinks – we shared starters and had individual mains.
The service was excellent.
Well worth a visit.
Venue: 4.5/5 Food: 4.5/5 Service: 4.5/5
Le Ferme Medine
This restaurant located near to our second Riad (the main reason we chose it after a grueling day in the souks) and offers a selection of the typical tourist-friendly Moroccan foods – from soups to tajine. Pleasant enough, the level of cooking is good enough but not outstanding. Our party ended up ordering pretty much everything that was on the menu since there were 6 of us and all having different foods, and it was a pleasant enough experience. Pastilla and Berber Tajine were the two best dishes by group consensus.
The restaurant is set over a number of levels in a building with a courtyard, and we started our meal on the ground floor (outdoor, but they had heating so this was fine). Halfway through our meal a thunderstorm broke out with the roof over our heads starting to leak so we ended up being moved to another part of the premises. Not a big deal, but worth noting if the weather looks like it’s about to break on your visit. All in all, with pleasant service this is a nice but not exceptional place.
Our bill averaged just under £10 per person. We also received a compensatory dessert over getting wet during our evening there.
Venue: 4/5 Food: 3.5/5 Service: 4/5
Le Table de la Kasbah
This restaurant also offers a rooftop terrace, with a view of the Kasbah Masque minaret. Similarly to the first restaurant, this one offers traditional and modernized Moroccan foods selection. The standout dish to the party was the chicken tajine – lemon and olive chicken which all of the omnivores in the group loved. I am happy to report that the Berber tajine (vegan, a selection of tajine-cooked root vegetables with couscous on the side) was also excellent. The selection of salads which we had as starters was slightly different to the first restaurant – as can be imagined every location we went to does them a little differently. The food flavors, ambience and level of service were excellent. A nice perk of this one was that the table nibble happened to be tapenade, and a really good one.
Price wise, this restaurant was comparable with the first one and we averaged at just over £12 per person including non-alcoholic drinks.
This restaurant was the only one amongst the all we visited that appears to cook their tajine in the actual individual tajines, but I can’t put my money on that being the case.
Venue: 4/5 Food: 4.5/5 Service: 4.5/5
Moroccan – Italian restaurant set within a lovely courtyard, it caters to more western tastes than the previously listed establishments. Visually the restaurant is very pleasing and fits very well with fresh, med inspired aesthetic. The food was pleasant, alas not outstanding.
It is however a good option if you want a stark contrast after having spent the day in the streets of the Medina. The ambiance is soothing and the vibe in general is relaxed, but not sloppy.
The service was good and the pace relaxed but not too slow – perfect for a bunch of knackered tourists who want to be fed and released for bed by 10pm.
Our costs came up to approx. £14 per person – this is justified by surroundings more than the food.
Venue: 5/5 Food: 3/5 Service: 4/5
The famed restaurant within the souks offers a multi-level terrace, great view over the rooftops of the Medina and a straw hat if you didn’t bring your own. It caters towards European tastes with the foods adjusted for spice and flavor to levels of a slightly bland hipster. Don’t get me wrong – the food is tasty but compared to other restaurants the flavours are unfortunately disappointing.
The service is good, the vibe is that of fashion meets money meets those wanting to be seen. The rooftop view is interesting if you manage to get a seat at the top deck (we did).
Out per head average including non-alcoholic drinks was at just over £15.
Venue: 5/5 Food: 2.5/5 Service: 3/5
Located on top of a riad, this small rooftop café offers lovely views over the city and is perfect to watch the sunset from.
The vibe is relaxed and friendly with food on offer being reasonably tasty, alas slightly expensive for a café cuisine. We ended up having an early dinner for two on our last day there, with the aubergine starter being a winner. The meze platter was pretty average and to my surprise it comprised of various dips already spread on flatbread. My soup was a little bland, my boyfriend’s tajine was apparently better, but since it was chicken, I did not try it.
We ended up accessing the café through the riad’s back door after a random man decided that he will take us there and not ask us for money in exchange. We had a very weird conversation with him in a sketchy back road about how he did not want our money because he’s not that sort of a person, with us wondering if we were about to get robbed. We were not robbed, arrived unharmed and skipped the front door queue – he did indeed not ask for a tip. Quite the way to end our trip!
The cost for us both, including water and a coke zero was just under MAD300/£29.
Venue: 4.5/5 Food: 2/5 Service: 3/5
Things worth knowing about dining in Marrakech
The Jaama El Fna food stalls are one big tourist trap. They are fun and loud and give the impression of the city’s food scene that is supposed to appeal to the tourists and it certainly does. But if you look carefully, you might not want to eat there.
Majority of the restaurants within Medina are aimed at tourists, not locals. And truly, you will see locals only when they are at work there, most of the clientele is made up of foreigners. This is also the case with restaurants listed in my article. The best place to experience a level of home cooking will be in your riad – most of them will cook a meal to your order. It takes over 1h to prepare a tajine as a minimum, so bear that in mind when placing orders. We did dine in one of our riads twice and were asked to place the orders well in advance.
There is a very decent selection of vegan foods and very poor selection of seafood – most restaurants focus on vegetables and meat.
There is also a significant price disparity – street vendors outside of Jaama El Fna square can be dirt cheap with cookies selling for as little as 1MAD, and locals will buy food from them. Everything tourist-aimed is significantly more expensive, but not more expensive than lower end prices in Europe.