Marrakesh here we come! But I have a lamb allergy!
- JL May 18, 2006 01:28 AM
We'll be in Marrakesh for 4 nights very soon. Where do you guys recommend for good Moroccan food? High end place, low end dive - it's all good, as long as it's authentic, yummy, and has dishes without lamb in it (unfortunately, I'm allergic to the taste of it). I can smell lamb without any problems, but eating it is another completely different matter...
All price ranges are possible.
Thanks in advance!
One of my top ten, too. Arm-twisted the friends I was traveling with into ordering the mechoui 24 hours in advance at a palace restaurant in the Medina. I was in heaven. But they're still teasing me about it; my nickname is now "carnivore." One of them said it was the most disgusting thing he'd ever seen laid out on a dining table. Yet again, chacun a son gout. My, you've brought back memories.
I love marrakech!
You should try to stay in a riyad where they will cook for you if you ask. The best food I had in Marrakech was always in private homes, and from the cooks at riyad's I stayed in/visited. It's also really nice to go back to the riyad in the afternoon and dip your feet in the wading pool (it they have one) and sit on your roof terrace with drinks and olives and nuts.
I always pick up a bottle of gin at the duty free so as not to have to schlep over to the French part of town to get liquor.
Don't worry about your lamb allergy, there's tons of great stuff you can eat. They do an amazing grilled eggplant salad-puree type thing with roasted peppers, herbs and tomatoes in it; there's always lots of chicken and fish tagines available, huge plates of composed salads (which always have canned tuna in them, for some reason); there's always omlettes and frites to be had, croissants, pain au chocolat, sandwiches too. Plus, the street food is delicious and always surprising, I've eaten freshly made potato chips, there's always someone selling hard-boiled eggs, roasted nuts, delicious pastries and olives and fantastic fresh juices all over the place.
I never got ill there, either. Maybe just a little bit of rumbly tummy.
Definitely eat in the Djemma-el-fna one night.
Two major recommendations - at the top of every foodies list should be the food stalls that set up in the main square in the Djemaa el Fna. They're all ridicuolously cheap and it's such an experience. Afterwards, grab tea at one of the rooftop cafes.
In the new town area, along Blvd. Mohammed V, is El Fassia. It's run by a women's collective and the staff is entirely female. They make amazing traditional Moroccan fare - you'll be able to eat chicken and other items here. (I've linked to a Fodor's review below.) I remember a truly fantastic pigeon b'stilla (squab to us Yanks) and outstanding coucous royale (entirely veggie) here. The staff speaks decent English, though French will certainly get you around better.
I just returned from Marrakech. We ate at Djemaa Al Fna of course. We also ate at Stylia and Yacout, neither of which I can recommend. I heard good things about El Marrakchi but couldn't get in. Foundouk was also cool, and there was a Thai-Moroccan restaurant (I cant remember the name but apparently its the only Thai place in Marrakech) that was also a wonderful ambience and good place for drinks and snakcs (probably dinner too, but we didn't do that).
BY FAR the best place we dined was Casa Lalla. Make a reservation immediately and work everything else around it. The chef/owner, Richard Neat, is something of a Michelin-starred whiz kid chef who now runs this riad with his French wife, Sophie. Every night they do a chef's tasting menu for 40 euro a head (not including drinks, you can bring your own wine) and it was a total revalation for me. Kind of modern-moroccan and continental fusion. Blew us away.
Stylia was basically fine, nothing outstanding, but the reason I couldnt recommend it is 1) the bastilla had so many tiny bones, it was totally inedible (and that's one of my favorite dishes of all time) and 2) my husband got really sick for 2 days after dinner there. However, the lavish surroundings are pretty amazing - though I am sure there are many, many places that impressive with better food.