One of the most cited reasons to visit Morocco is the food. Marrakech in particular is a foodies’ haven. As soon as you take one step out of the door of your hotel a heavy blend of spices penetrates your nostrils and convinces you it is time for the next meal. But with uncountable good restaurants in Marrakech it is easy to get lost in it all. For those unsure where to eat in Marrakech this food guide will help deciding on what to eat and where they serve the best versions of that dish. When in Marrakech I had lengthy conversations with Fabienne, who has been running food tours in the city for the past ten years. The following guide is a combination of his insights and my personal experiences.
Other typical dishes: harira and couscous
Where: anywhere, lunch or dinner
On top of these dishes, typical traditional foods eaten everywhere in Morocco are Harira and Couscous. Harira is a Moroccan tart soup and couscous is the well known grain variety, which is served as a side dish or as a main with pumpkin or lemon chicken. Both harira and couscous are considered such staples in Morocco that almost any eatery you encounter will know how to properly prepare it. If you are in doubt on what to pick at a questionable restaurant these are generally save picks. If the place your eating is really questionable, avoid chicken if possible. I ignored this standard travel advice once in the desert of Merzouga and regretted it for a full three days.
What about the dessert in the cover picture?
Glad you ask. The dessert in the cover picture is Moroccan yogurt with fruit, dried fruit and berries called Raib. The plain version is a special Ramadan dish and called Raib Beldi. I haven’t seen this dish on the menu anywhere in Marrakech but we made it during a cooking course/food tour combo organised by Marrakech Green Wheels. The only way I am certain you can taste it is by taking their tour.;)
– Where to sleep in Marrakech –
The best place to spend your nights in Marrakech is in a Riad. These old family-houses are mostly renovated and transformed into boutique-hotel style guesthouses. Many are as beautiful as most palaces around town and since they often do not offer more than 5 rooms the service and personal approach is unbeatable. The problem is to find a good Riad – as there are over 3000 in Marrakech….
We stayed at Riad Marhbabikoum, which means ‘welcome’ in Arabic, and we felt most welcome indeed! The rooms are beautiful, the rooftop-terrace a nice tranquil retreat from the noisy city and the staff is just impeccable. It is run by Khalil and Véronique but daily management is in the hands of Mohammed who will greet you at the doorstep with fresh mint-tea on arrival. The Riad is one of few Riads that hold the ‘Green Key’ sustainability label in Marrakech, meaning choosing for Marhbabikoum is choosing to support sustainable tourism. Even though the Riad is run in a responsible and sustainable way this does not hamper the level of comfort the little boutique guesthouse provides. A double costs €75,00 ($90.00) a night incl. breakfast.
If you are looking for budget-accommodation I recommend staying at Kaktus Hostel. Situated closely to Djemaa El Fna with a big rooftop terrace and offering basic dorms starting at 70 MAD (€6,00) incl. breakfast.