Morocco advice needed - veg/fish
- jdubboston Mar 11, 2007 10:49 AM
My husband & I are planning a trip to Morocco late this summer, and are trying to narrow down our options as for places to go. We have about 8-10 days, and are flying in & out of Casablanca from the US. We are definitely willing to travel around via plane, train or car while there, although would not like to do much frenetic running around. We are relatively young and adventurous, and so are planning to do as much 'outside' activity as possible (i.e. hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking etc). On top of it all, we LOVE FOOD! We are huge fans of finding the 'out of the way' more interesting places...
So, any food related tips? Biggest caveat here is that I am a vegetarian, although I do eat fish... I am also slightly lactose intolerant, so can't do meals that are extremely dairy-heavy. My husband will eat anything put in front of him. Suggestions? Words of wisdom - or of caution?
We have been throwing around flying to Marrakech & then heading into the Atlas Mountains, or maybe over to Essouira. Thoughts on those places?
Thanks in advance.
Yes, you should definitely go down to Marrakech -- Essouiara is fairly close, you can go in a taxi for pretty cheap, or the bus (I would recommend taxi). There are some great hikes in the Atlas, and a beautiful waterfall -- but something to remember is that it is quite hot in the late summer (are you coming Aug? Or Sept?) Casablanca's OK, but I really wouldn't spend much time there, for your first trip to Morocco, Marrakech and Essouiara are much more interesting choices.
I live in Morocco and eat very little meat -- most of the dishes are made with some meat stock or sauce, so be sure to ask the server. Also, even dishes that don't claim meat (like a vegetable tajine or the 7 vegetable couscous) comes with a big chunk of meat in the middle. You can always ask for it to be served w/o meat, or just eat around it. Fish dishes are really popular along the coast, especially in Essouiara -- there you can buy a fish and have it grilled at one of the many stands in the medina. Very few dishes use dairy, so you that shouldn't be a problem (although this means you'll miss out on some of my favorite drinks in Morocco -- banana juice and avocado juice!)
In Marrakech you should plan to eat at least one night at the Djamaa el-Fna, the big square where they set up food stands at night. there are plenty of yummy vegetarian options! During the day there are a bunch of dried fruits, nuts, and orange juice stands in the area. Oh, and make sure you eat malouai for breakfast -- it's like a super thick crepe (you'll see women making it at various stands and cafes), eat it with honey -- yum! Le Pavillon is also one of my favorite Marrakech restaurants -- it's in an interior courtyard and has great food. I don't really recommend any of the palace restaurants -- in my experience they are way overpriced and don't have the best food.
Have a great trip, I'm happy to answer any questions about Morocco!
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i second you going to marrakech and essaouira. essaouira sounds perfect for you food wise... the fish they catch there is amazing. so fresh and FULL of flavor. when you go to the docs make sure to haggle with them for the prices. their first price can be quite high! its also a charming town. be careful about when you go though...in june there is a music festival that attracts over 400,000 people so make sure to either book your hotel in advance or avoid going there during that time. http://www.festival-gnaoua.co.ma/ i went last summer...great time. but be prepared for huge crowds. its a small city to accomodate so many people. anyway, the fish is amazing .
marrakech has a lot of good places. if you want fine foods make a reservation at casa lalla. well in advance!!! also eat at the big square "djamaa el-fna". there's also tons of orange juice stands all around the country (especially here in the square) DON'T forget to drink some. amazing, BEST oj i ever had. also any fresh fruits are amazing there. if you love melon, try and look for some there in morocco. so fresh and full of flavor.
i also suggest you go to the old city of fes, chefchaouen, and a few other places if you have time to squeeze it all in. :) but fes, chefchaouen, and essaouira were my top places for sure!)
ive spent a lot of time in morocco (not live there though, like the poster above) and am going there next week again actually (my fiance lives there
if you have more questions im sure we both can help!
but food= essaouira, fes, marrakech! :) imho, of course.
Just FYI as a vegetarian, Moroccan cuisine includes a wide variety of salads - often a "salade varies" menu option will bring you an assortment of carrot, pepper, tomato, and other salads, fresh and delicious...and eat lots of pastries (try the Patisserie Hilton in Marrakech)!.
Marrakech is a wondrous and fascinating city - we long to return; Casablanca not so much - although a visit to the Hassan II mosque and a walk along the seawall is very refreshing in the hot Moroccan summer. We also had a delightful dinner al fresco at the Al Mounia restaurant in the new Medina section of Casablanca - a retro traditional-style restaurant with a lovely garden and excellent food.