Before my visit to Morocco, everyone told me about all of the incredible shopping and craftsmanship that I would love. But no one told me how good the food was going to be. Whether it was the pancake breakfasts with incredible Moroccan orange juice, the endless pit stops for sweet mint tea and Moroccan pastries or the hearty, delicious dinners, with some helpful hints from Maroc Mama, Marrakech has something for us all. Here’s a rundown of some of the best cafes and eateries I came across in my travels whether it’s a four-course meal you’re after or simply a bite to eat.
The original Café Clock can be found in a small alleyway of the medina of Fes, but the group has since expanded to open a spot in Marrakech, close to the Saadian Tombs. The beautifully shaded terrace and the friendly staff attract tourists and locals alike, and the all-day menu means you can stop in for a quick mint tea or go for lunch and stay until dinner. The camel burger is their speciality, and while it is good, the home-made fruit juices and lemonades are the real win for me here. Café Clock also runs workshops and evening talks on various aspects of Moroccan culture which are a great way of meeting people and learning more about the city.
The green-tile terrace of Le Jardin is an oasis of calm in the hubbub of the Marrakech Medina, with chirping canaries and a couple of tortoises among those who call this café home. The rooftop barbeque serves delicious skewers of chicken, lamb and sardines while the desserts here are also worth an afternoon stop by. In spite of being in the centre of old-world Marrakech, Le Jardin has a distinctly modern feel, something confirmed by the fact that you can order yourself a cold Casablanca beer here for a reasonable price.
A more grown-up sister of Le Jardin, Nomad takes its inspirations from traditional Moroccan flavours and dishes but is free of the usual tagine pots and earthenware bowls. Try the vegetarian take on a traditional pastilla or the calamari and fennel main course served with harissa and ginger sauce. Nomad is a much-sought-after spot, however, even on a weeknight, so it may be worth calling ahead and booking to avoid disappointment.
While Café Arabe is a restaurant, for me it’s really more of a spot for having a relaxing drink or a snack. The bar is well-stocked, the beer is cold and the roof terrace is a delight. The building itself is a traditional riad, with the central courtyard now forming the main dining area: the décor is opulent and plush but the atmosphere still lets you chill out and let the evening drift by. Food-wise, Café Arabe serves Italian cuisine, but my next restaurant choice is really the only place you need to go to experience Italian dining in Marrakech.
Located in a sumptuous and elegant riad, Pepe Nero is head and shoulders above the other (many) Italian restaurants in Marrakech. The restaurant, in fact offers two menus, one Moroccan, the other Italian. The guests can pick between them and the result is a mouth-watering array of flavours with some top class service. The service and surroundings here were so fantastic, I was honestly sad to have to leave. The pasta here was naturally fabulous but make sure to save room for dessert and order from the Moroccan menu, the pastries are to die for.
Many tourists don’t even make it out of the old medina into the new part of Marrakech, but if you want to see how most locals actually live (and of course eat) this is really where you should go. Take a walk to Al Bahriya and the junction of Avenue Moulay Rachid and Rue Mauritanie and you’ll likely come across a spot that’s filled with locals. Al Bahriya is a well-known fish restaurant, with the catch of the day displayed and guests choosing their fish of choice. Pricing is done by weight here so try and go with friends or your host family to get a mixture of flavours. The Guéliz neighbourhood also has a far more relaxed feel than the Medina, so it’s the perfect place for anyone feeling a little overwhelmed by the souks.
Déjeuner à Marrakech may have a modest exterior, but don’t let that fool you: this was definitely one of the best meals I had in Marrakech and the bar had already been set pretty high. The modest, modern interior is a change from the traditional Moroccan opulence and the food here is really something: the tomato and mozzarella served with basil ice-cream was a delight, the staff are really friendly and it’s the sort of place you could sit with a cake and a book by yourself without a care in the world.
Le Bakchich Cafe, un petit resto décalé et branché caché dans les ruelles de la médina de Marrakech. Sa carte propose des plats marocains revisités. Découvert au mois de mars, nous avions très envie d'y retourner. Qu'à cela ne tienne, ce soir nous avons savouré un très bon couscous ! #instadaily #medina #marrakech #morocco #maroc #igersmaroc #igersfrance #bakchichcafe #resto #restodusoir #travelpic #aroundtheworld #tdm #traveldiaryofdietician #travelgram #traveller #travellover #foodporn #instagood #instamoment #yummy #instafood
Bakchich is definitely a tourist spot, but the bright interior and handy location just a stone’s throw from Djema el Fna make it a popular spot. The prices are decent and the food is good with Moroccan salads and tagines making up the bulk of the menu, but come for breakfast and try the Moroccan breakfast they offer instead. The fun, friendly vibe here makes this a great spot to meet people and the breakfast pancakes with the ubiquitous mint tea are a must.
Part book shop, part expat hang out spot, Café du Livre has it all, from weekly table quizzes, international sports match screenings and film nights: the café’s American owner has created a space that is loved by Anglophone expats and locals alike and the lively atmosphere makes it a great space to head if you are planning a longer stay in Marrakech or if you are looking to meet people.
The laid back, modern interior of Kechmara is a world away from so many of the cafes you come across in Marrakech and there is a real feeling here that less truly is more. This, combined with an extensive and tasty all-day food menu gives this café-bar a real New York vibe, heightened even further by the slick roof terrace and live jazz music that plays on busy nights. Kechmara is one of the few on this list that serves alcohol, but what stood out to me the most on this menu was something even rarer in Morocco that several expats have been known to crave – bacon!
If you are curious to learn more about Moroccan and Marrakech cuisine, Maroc Mama runs food tours to some of the city’s hidden gems for dining.
Share this article