One of the great things in one’s place to try out is the culinary. It gives the sense of authenticity of a new place. Damar and I always take our time to taste the local food and adjust it with our taste bud. As we are from Indonesia and most of the food are rich in seasonings, Moroccan food are not at all hard to swallow. To be frankly speaking, its traditional local food is one of the things we remember the most.
There are things you should know before deciding to eat something in Marrakech. People can have very different opinions of the food in Morocco based on circumstance and the surroundings. Also, keep in mind that many of the best food in Marrakech, aren’t what you would think served in a “restaurants”.
These are our personal experience of food that we actually ate there along with the price and how we would rate it.
1.Terrace Cafe around Bab Doukkala
Good thing about Marrakech is that there are plenty of rooftops place to enjoy. We went to this place in our first day right after arriving. We ended up in this place due to hunger and somebody could not bear it anymore (read:me). This place was quite hidden from outside yet it had menu in the showcase with price so we knew what to expect.
It is chicken with vegetables with mild saffron spices sauce that tasted slightly like curry. It’s basically a mild curry. Damar expected more from this one (Price: 80 dirham, verdict: 6 of 10)
It is called Kefta tagine which is minced meatballs with tomato sauce and eggs that were cracked right in the tagine itself. This one was pretty good. I like it more than Damar’s. (Price: 70 dirham, verdict: 7.5 of 10)
2. Random Street food in Bab Doukkala
Our hostel keeper suggested to get food in Bab Doukkala area, because it’s not touristy hence worth the value. But then again, the risk is language barrier and scam. In this case, just use your instinct and be confident.
Fried fishes in Bab Doukkala street. Some bloggers I read do not recommend to get fishes or seafood because of its quality. Marrakech is land locked so it takes some effort to get seafood there. However, because we were curious, hungry and have certain budget, we bought anyway. It smelled so great. These street vendors were standing next to each other and only locals ate there.
If you really want to get it, take a small peek to the oils. If it’s very black, just walk away and do not risk it. I myself did not think about it to anticipate. The taste is like fried fish, nothing special, but I like fishes so my verdict might be bias. It was even better with the drip of lemon juice. Fresh! For the value, it is super cheap. You will get a full paper sack with different type of fishes and fried aubergine. (Price: 20 dirham, verdict: 6.5 out of 10)
Shish Kebab in a tiny hidden stall in Bab Doukkala street. We were lucky that it turned out good, the seller was nice honest man which love what he’s doing (seems like). The bread is round bread (typical moroccan bread – khobz) filled with seasoned minced meat grilled in a metal stick, amazing fresh homemade tomato sauce, and chilli sauce. (Price: 10 dirham, verdict: 7.5 out of 10)
3. Pastry from local Pattiserie or more like Boulangerie
Pastry was okay, quite sweet for my taste. However, it is safer to get to one of the ‘real’ place than carts in the square. The cookies and sweets look divine in the cart, but you will never know the ingredients quality (Price: 2 dirham/each, verdict: 5.5 out of 10).
4. A restaurant in Ouarzazate (chosen by the tour)
I had couscous and Damar had mix grilled plate. It was definitely overpriced than the value which we kind of expected it. The couscous was in plate with vegetables and very tender beef/lamb with saffron seasoning (Price: 80 dirham, verdict: 7 out of 10).
5. Dinner in the desert (prepared by the tour)
We had another tagine, a bit similar with what Damar had in the first day but tasted better and richer in the filling. So I guess, it is worth to know where to eat this meal to avoid any disappointment. I bet it could be super good.
(Price: Included in the tour, verdict: 7 out of 10)
6. Breakfast (prepared by the tour)
Breakfast in Morocco is simple and easy. Pancake usually was the go to and also some pastry. That is what we had during this breakfast. No complain, to get plates were already one thing to be grateful for considering limited sources in the middle of the desert.
7. Lunch (chosen by the tour)
This time I also went for grilled meat. Again, Damar ordered chicken and I ordered the minced meat. It is almost like burger patty except it is much smaller.
(Price: 80, verdict: 6 out of 10)
8. Mechoui Alley
Mechoui or Moroccan roasted lamb is a whole lamb roasted in deep pits with smoldering araar wood for 3-4 hours. There is a popular alley with 3 or 4 tiny restaurants that sell this amazing lamb. The seasonings I tasted in this lamb was mainly cumin and salt, yet it was very very good. The meat was incredibly tender. The best food I had I must say. We ate them with moroccan bread (khobz) and had moroccan tea as the drink. It was so greasy, we could not help to get orange juice in Jemaa El-Fna to get some get fresh intake afterwards.
The next day I woke up with headache, the lamb and oil successfully increased my blood pressure 😀 but it is totally worth trying. For the people who do not eat lamb because of the fishiness of the taste, do not worry because this meat is very long in the process that all the lamb taste are gone.
(Price: 75 dirham, verdict: 8 out of 10)
9. Roti d’or
This restaurant is trendy, modern, cozy, affordable, and good quality. I would rate 5 starts for this place. Damar really enjoyed his grilled chicken. I ordered the chicken patty which I could taste the homemade-ness. Both came in bunch with many side vegetables, bread, french fries and different type of sauce. I heard they have an amazing vegan burger!
The grilled chicken Damar really enjoyed, it’s his favourite of all food we tried in Marrakech (Price: 40, verdict: 9 out of 10).
The chicken patty (Price: 40, verdict: 7.5 out of 10)
10. Snails soup in Jemaa El-Fna
When I first saw this, I knew I got to try for the sake of experience. It was chewy and tasted earthy. In the ingredients, I could taste a bit of ginger and pepper, while apparently it is flavoured by 15 different spices. Pluck the snails from their shells first with a toothpick and then slurp the soup. Moroccans believe the broth is good for digestion and fever.
(Price: 5, verdict: 5 out of 10)
11. Stalls in Jemaa El-Fna
It has an exciting atmosphere and something to experience. The key is to look for the ones that have many Moroccan (families) eating. Some bloggers suggested to stick with grilled food, this place is not for tagine or couscous if you do not want to get disappointed. I think the government does a good job in organising this main square. It has hand washing stations and standard stalls-seating. Prepare to not get crazy in the stalls. The vendors will completely drag you and push you to their stalls. Be firm, smile and say ‘maybe tomorrow’ or ‘I just ate, I am full’, then they will ‘kind of’ understand.
We went to the grilled food place in stall 31 and we were not disappointed. We ate with locals and felt blended 🙂 They threw papers as a placemat. For me, the special part is the sauce. It is fresh tomato that I do not know what they put in it, it’s just so good and fresh. Also the moroccan bread (khobz) to scoop up the sauce and the side dish. Note that the sauce and bread was not included in the price. And you could see the olives in the picture below, they just served it without us ordering, also some different type of grilled veggies. Don’t think that it is a complimentary. They will add up in the end.
I ordered the sausage (Price: 30 dirham, verdict: 8 out of 10)
Damar ordered, as usual, grilled chicken skewers (Price: 40 dirham, verdict: 7 out of 10)
Good to know some french… Chicken: Poulet, Beef: du boeuf
Places that I really wanted to try but did not get the chance was
CAFE CLOCK which is famous with its camel burger and date smoothies
CAFE NOMAD which is famous with its lamb burger and vegetarian menu
Other Morocco series