Anywhere I visit, one of the first things that enters my mind is usually whether the local cuisine will be any good. Marrakech certainly didn’t disappoint. It offered a flavour road trip, with traditional sweet and savoury tagine and cous cous options to try. Many of the restaurants and cafe’s offered a Mediterranean twist to their menu, if you weren’t feeling the local options 100% of the time. We ate at as many different places as we could, to try to get a real sense of what was on offer.
Our first stop was a lunch time visit to (apologies if the spelling is incorrect) Cafe Fes Bab Fetouh, which is literally just off the North East side of the Djemaa El Fna square. Something you’ll realise when searching for places to eat in Marrakech, they always look so much nicer from the inside. It just so happened that 95% of the places we ate at had a rooftop balcony. The menu here was traditional, simple and tasty. Another handy tip with this place is that we used it as a point of reference for navigating our way in and out of the souks.
For dinner on the Monday, we visited a real gem of a place called Cafe Kif Kif. Which is also the only place we ate at twice. Cafe Kif Kif is in a fantastic location, just outside of Djemaa El Fna with an incredible view of the Koutoubia Mosque. Inside, the decor is traditional with rugs and African art adorning the walls. The food here was really good quality, for a nice price too. The second time we returned we had chicken tagine, which came with prunes and roasted almonds.
After realising Marrakech had some amazing places to eat, we did a little research on where we should visit next. When it came to lunch on Tuesday, we were prepared. After a relaxing walk around La Jardin Secret, which I’ll feature in the follow-up post, we headed to the near by Atay Cafe. This cafe had 3 floors to choose from. Obviously, we opted for the rooftop.
The views from this cafe were stunning. It gave a view over the Medina, with a welcome breeze and quiet escape. The location was incredible, now for the food. We chose the beef tagine, which was cooked to perfection. This was washed down with some freshly squeezed orange juice.
Dinner that night was eagerly anticipated, having booked a table at the popular Nomad restaurant. Nomad is the featured picture for this post! This place was amazing, relaxed, breezy, modern yet a real sense of traditional values oozed through the service. This is a little more expensive than some other restaurants, but well worth it. The highlight of the meal for me was the chocolate and date sponge cake. If you visit Nomad you have to try it!
Nomad is very polar with tourists, we enjoyed a natter with a couple of friendly British holiday makers on the table next to us, one of them took our advice and went for the date cake! We stayed there for the sunset, it all turned very pretty.
Now we were really getting the hang of things, almost immediately after returning from dinner on Tuesday, we were researching the lunch location for Wednesday. Cafe Des Espices would be our lunch spot of choice. This one was a cracking location, overlooking a busy square.
Another nice point to make is that Cafe Des Espices has water mist spraying in intervals to cool you down in the hot sun. Just the thing you need to help tackle a tagine! Most of the decent restaurants in Marrakech have straw sun hats with the name of the place sewn in to them. Thought i’d model one..
On to dinner. Now I must admit my travelling companion Imi did the majority of the foodie research, but this next one was a great shout by me. Looking like a normal building from street level, a steep flight of stairs takes you into a seemingly normal looking restaurant. Up another two flights and onto the rooftop is where Cafe Guerrab steals the show.
It was breathtaking. An amazing view of the Djemaa El Fna, a mosque towering above the landscape on each side and all to ourselves. We went for a set menu, 3 courses. For me, this was the best beef tagine of the trip. The flavours of the sauce and the sweetness of the sultanas really made this dish stand out from the crowd. We stayed at Cafe Guerrab late into the evening, long enough to hear the last call to prayer of the day. What an experience. Each of the mosque’s striking into tuneful prayer within minutes of each other. It was almost as if they were competing to go one better than the next.
The last full day of the trip. We had to pull something special out of the bag to top what we’d experienced so far. That is exactly what we did. Lunchtime came around, after a morning of haggling in the souks. The location we chose was a little elusive, managing to get us a tangled in the narrow streets before we eventually found it. Behind the red clay walls of the alley lay Le Jardin. A beautifully presented wall garden in the center of a Riad. The food was as good as the decor. I opted for something other than tagine and it didn’t disappoint.
There was a real sense of calm and tranquility. Birds chirped and played in the cool breeze within the high riad walls. There was even some reptilian life, as we were joined by this delightful little guy. We first noticed we had company when he bumped into Imi’s foot on his way round the restaurant floor.
The last supper. The creme de la creme. This meal has to be up there with my top three dining experiences ever. Restaurant Pepe Nero is where we enjoyed our last evening in Marrakech. What a find. Admittedly, it’s not in the most tourist friendly part of the Medina, a ten minute walk East of the Djemaa El Fna. But once you arrive, you’re made to feel like royalty. We didn’t have a reservation, but luckily they accommodated us with open arms. Unfortunately I do not have any photographic evidence of how amazing this place was internally. A crystal blue pool ran through the first room, with lime trees standing guard around an elegant mosaic fountain in the main dining room. Next to our table was a wall fountain, cascading into a tiled pool of blue and green, creating a memorizing reflection on the wall.
Location; (Externally 6/10) Internally 10/10 Menu 11/10
We both went for the roast duck with orange glaze and sauteed potatoes for main, following a starter of Norwegian salmon cake for me. I can’t quite recall what Imi had specifically, but it involved aubergines and looked delicious. Desert was hands down the best lemon pie I’ve ever eaten. Such a tart, refreshing flavour with a beautifully crisp pastry base. Imi went for an incredibly rich chocolate sponge pudding, which I helped polish off. This was also the only time in Marrakech we had alcohol. I think obtaining the licence to sell it comes with a nice price.
Friday was sadly our last day, so for lunch that day we returned to the nearest of the cafe’s to our riad. Cafe Kif Kif. We both went for the chicken tagine, which came highly recommended from Imi after our first visit back on Monday evening.
If you love food and have a thirst for new flavours and cuisines, Marrakech is definitely worth putting on your destination checklist. I was hesitant prior to the trip, hoping I’d like the tagines, kebabs and cous cous. I loved them all. With each cafe/restaurant giving a simple dish their own unique take. Every tasty dish deserves a refreshing drink to wash it down. Something that screams stereotypical Marrakech is fresh orange juice. It’s everywhere and rightly so. Most restaurants and cafe’s serve it up for anywhere between 12-20 dh, but you can pick up a glass from a stall on the Djemaa El Fna for only 4 dh.
Download an offline version of the Medina area on google maps before you head out. You’ll find it extremely useful when navigating through the souks to get to all these places.
If you have enjoyed this post, please leave a like and a comment with any questions! For more pics from the trip, visit my Instagram! ↓↓↓
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
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