eating in Morocco
I just got back from Morocco. I loved the country and culture, but a little dissapointed with our food experiences. We were in Marrakech, Essaouira, and Casablanca. Where are the good eats? I definitely want to go back to Morocco but next time will try to be less touristy.
Here are the only three memorable meals from a 1 week trip:
Stylia, Marrakech -- very good, however I imagine this type of well seasoned Moroccan food is available for less than $100 / couple, but this was the one excellent traditional Moroccan meal we had.
Seaport, Essaouira. -- for luch. ok, they grill the fresh seafood of your choice right at the port. Delicious and clean, but eating grilled food gives me a headache. for dinner-- The kind people at Cafe Firdaous (Essaouira) searched all over town after the pharmacies had closed to get me a fizzy tablet that would help. Fortunately their food was homey, comfoting and worth the very inexpensive prices, but nothing to write home about. (sorry)
La Ma Bretagne -- Lonely Planet says it's known as the best restaurant in Africa, well I'm sorry to say the continent is missing out. Pretty good seafood, done Boston/English style:(dill, cabbage, cucumber) and "continetal;" (European-American style) risotto, mashed potatoes with pesto. We had dried up joh dory with the risotto and really nice sole with clams with the mashed potatoes. To start we had an excellent sardine appetizer with dill and cabbage for around 9 dollars. Also a terrible "chef recommended" shrimp appetizer with four shrimp and a mixed salad for about 27 dollars. The fact that the chef recommended you to be ripped off says something to me about the restaurant.
Of course no hard feelings, just need some recommendations! And I must recommend our riad, Riad Charai in Marrakech. Excellent, excellent.
Also just got back, and posted this further down the page. We had an amazing trip and amazing food consistently, sorry yours didn't live up to expectations.
La Maison Bleue in Fes is excellent if pricey.
Same for Le Tobsil in Marrakech - both were great meals, in great settings, with nice live musicians and excellent service.
We went to the hotel restaurant at the Hivernage hotel just outside the medina in Marrakech and had a meal that blew me away (I was expecting standard hotel food) - this is a modern Moroccan hotel, and the food is a mix of Moroccan and French (see a trend here?). The highlight was the Marrakech specialty - beef tangia - cooked in a clay vase for 10 hours and spiced wonderfully.
A place called Le Patio in Essaouira is fabulous French/Moroccan seafood, and very cool funky Moroccan decor. A little cafe called La Decouverte run by a French couple also offers excellent and inexpensive French/Moroccan (a seafood bstilla there was outstanding). You cant go wrong with the stands by the port selling fresh seafood that you pick and they grill up for you with lime on the side.
i just got back from spending a month in morocco as well....going back again tomorrow to casablanca!!! i couldnt get enough.
had plenty of amazing food experiences...most of them not at fine dining establishments though.
the BEST orange juice on earth. stop at any of the juice stands set up all over the country for fresh squeezed juices. the best!!!
if you happen to walk by a stand selling svinges (sorry for my spelling) they are a moroccan donut that are out of this world.
i enjoyed my experience in at the square in marrakech but the men who work there are awful! i tried to wander around and choose carefully before i sat down and they were practically forcing me to choose their stall. grabbing and all. did not enjoy this experience.
el fassia in marrakech was very lovely. had a nice chicken tagine there. i would have liked to try casa lalla but didnt call far enough in advance.
marrakechi...in marrakech was very good. had the chicken tagine with caramelized onions and toasted almonds.
the port in essaouria had divine fresh fish! you show up, pick what fish you want, they grill it, and bring it to your table with fresh salad, bread, and soda. yummmm. bargain ahead of time for your price or you will be screwed at the end.
the little gelato shop just off the port in essaouria had amazing gelato as well.
el jadida has great freshly caught sardines grilled... same in essaouria. perfection.
fes. i really enjoy the little cafes up near bab boujloud . especially rachids. very cheap moroccan salad, kefta tagine, and tea to finish.
also if you ask around...have someone direct you to a bissara stand. they arent easy to find. but welllllllll worth it. one of the best things ive eaten in morocco. a bowl of fava bean soup topped with smashed garlic, a huge spoon of amazing extra virgin olive oil, and you season it with cumin, and chili to your liking. amazing and only about 10 cents.
if you are driving. stop at some of the random little towns with cafes full of men sitting outside. the grills outside with tons of smoke make some of the best kefta brochettes. you walk up to the butcher, pick the cut of meat you want, and he grinds it right in front of you, mixes it with spices, herbs, and onions...and another guy grills it right then. also with grilled tomatoes and onions. yum. you can get a giant plate for $3. enough for 3 or 4 people.
i ate at a great lebanese place of all choices in casablanca. in ain diab (near the ocean) la mer. great fattouch, lebne, etc. a nice change since i had been eating moroccan cuisine for almost an entire month!
Just got back from Morocco (Casablanca, Marrakech) and Algeria. We were only in Casablanca transitionally, but dined at Al Mounia in the New Medina and had an excellent traditional Moroccan dinner, served in a lovely garden/terasse dominated by a huge tree hung with vines and small lights, and a beautfully tiled entryway to the interior area. We started with an assortment of Moroccan salads (carrots with orange juice, silky eggplant puree, chopped tomatos and cucumbers, semi-hot peppers in olive oil, and more) and mixed brochettes (lamb, chicken, merguez). For entrees, we had a couscous with chicken, chickpeas, carmelized onions, and raisins (incredibly good) and a lamb tagine with preserved lemons and olives (ditto!). The Moroccan style bread was perfect for sopping up the sauce. Desert was a selection of Moroccan pastries with that addictive mint tea. We also had a bottle of local wine (on our trip, we found that in general the roses were the best choice - but I wouldn't go to Morocco for the wine!) and a large bottle of mineral water. Portions were substantial. Total cost for everything for the two of us was about 750 MAD (roughly $90). Service was fine.
I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone spending time in Casablanca who is interested in dining on classic Moroccan cuisine in a lovely setting.