Marrakech Food guide: what to eat & where

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.

– Marrakech Food Guide-

Before we delve into Morrocan cuisine, if you came looking for a Marrakech city guide or a read on what to do in Marrakech but ended up here, no worries. I did an extensive article on what there is to do in the red city of Morocco. Check out that article by clicking the button below. Now on with the food!

Mint Tea

Have Mint Tea anywhere, and as often as possible

Where: Anywhere, as often as possible
Starting with drinks in an article on where to eat in Marrakech might sound strange. But mint tea is not only at the heart of Moroccan cuisine, its at the heart of its culture. According to etiquette every Moroccan person needs to greet visitors, even unexpected ones, with freshly prepared mint tea. Preferably prepared right in front of them. This is why every family, house, hotel, riad, guesthouse, restaurant and bar always has a few bushes of mint growing in its backyard.

Upon arrival at your accommodation you will most likely be welcomed with mint tea but it makes good practice to have mint tea as often as the locals do, which is basically at any occasions possible. It’s one of the easiest ways to stay hydrated in the sun-scorched Morocco and taking the time to have a drink with friends is always a good idea.

Fresh Orange Juice

Fresh orange juice is sold at Djemaa El-Fna for as little as 4 MAD (EUR 0.35/ $0.50)

Where: Djemaa El-Fna, all day
The everlasting sun in Morocco provides the perfect climate to grow citrus fruits explaining the popularity of fresh orange juice. Cold, refreshing, healthy and cheap. They sell orange juice at the Djemaa El-Fna for as little as 4 MAD which is pressed right in front of your eyes.

Grilled Sardines

Le Jardin is the best place in Marrakesh to sample freshly grilled sardines, they also serve mean avocado shakes

Where: Le Jardin, for lunch
The huge 2000 kilometers long ocean coast explains why fish is also an important part of this Saharan country. Grilled sardines were originally a poor man’s dish but over the centuries they became a dish eaten at special occassions. The best sardines can be found in the coastal Essaouira, where they swing the fish right out of the ocean and onto your plate, but in Marrakesh Le Jardin does the best version. Simply seasoned with just pepper and salt and served with preserved lemon an grilled vegetables. If you like hip places that have retained an authentic decor, this is where to eat in Marrakech.


Where: Jardin Majorelle, dinner – Rue Riad Zitoune
A Tajina is different from a Tajine for it way of preparation. A Tajina is a tall clay pot in which meat, vegetables and stonefruit (typically apricot) simmer for many hours on a low fire. For convenience Marrakech restaurants serve the dish on a tajine base. Tajina is traditionally a male-only dish. Caravaners used to carry the pots into the desert on long trade expeditions. The tall closed pots were easy to carry and ensured the dish stayed warm for many hours.

Jardin Majorelle (Rue Riad Zitoune) shares its name with the Yves Saint Laurent gardens in Nouvelle Ville but is, in reality, a great little eatery in the old Medina. Jardin Majorelle serves a great traditional Tajina. Nice charming place and good value for money.


Restaurant Jama serves all the dishes in this article and they are all good, tajine dishes are no exception. If there is one place you MUST visit in Marrakesh it is Jama.

Where: Restaurant Jama, Dinner Rue Riad Zitoune

Tajine is the name of the iconic conic shaped clay pot but any dish prepared in it is called tajine as well. It is probably the best known dish from Morocco and enjoyed all over the world. Potatoes, Onions, beans, carrots and courgette are put in a tajine, with or without meat. The tajine sits on a low fire for a few hours. Served with a fresh mint salad and often couscous.

The best place to enjoy a good tajine is my favourite restaurant in Marrakesh: Restaurant Jama. Tucked away in the Rue Riad Zitoune (at your right when walking from Djemaa El-Fna after about 10 minutes) is this beautiful little restaurant. Dinner is served in an atmospheric little courtyard garden, the food is great and it is just incredible value-for-money. They serve off-the-menu beer on request. 


Zaalouk is sometimes referred to as Moroccan Ratatouille, even though the dish is not all that similar flavor wise the comparison holds.

Where: Le Jardine Marjorelle, Le Jarin, Restaurant Jama, lunch or dinner

Zaalouk is a eggplant based dip served as a side dish with some bread or mixed into a salad. Roasted eggplant are mixed in with garlic, tomatoes, olives and a heavy spice blend. Order Zaalouk on the side at any of the recommended places in this article.


Although the traditional ‘pastille’ is a particular kind of sweet crumble cookie, a variety of pastilles is the common way it is offered (and obviously best, whats better than having one kind of cookies?… exactly.

Where: Atay Café, after dinner

If the heaps of sugar in your mint tea weren’t already giving it away sampling pastilles will: Moroccans love their sweets. Sweet crumbly cookies are usually eaten after dinner but are served throughout the day so I am not judging if you go for it before and after every meal;). All restaurants around the Djemaa El-Fna serve mixed pastille sets but these tend to not be so great. Try Atay Cafe for really tasty crumbly goodness.

Other typical dishes: harira and couscous

Couscous with pumpkin is always a save pick anywhere in Morocco

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 –

Riad Mahrbabikoum

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.


Kaktus Hostel

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.



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