Hello again condimentqueen,
The wife and I just returned from Morocco. Altogether we were left wanting by some of the food. That said, there were some gems in these two cities.
But before i begin a word or warning ...we tend to travel cheap leaning towards "authentic" experiences rather than expensive ones... just our choice.
Essouira - Lovely place - albeit windy.
1. Hole in the walls with women (always) cooking pancakes out front. Just go in and sit down. They serve them with honey and mint tea - great pick me up.
2. Seafood open air restaruants - just outside the medina near the marina. They sell seafood meals at about £6 per head for 6 courses (Salad, Prawns, Squid, Redfish, Bream, Dover, Crab) and a drink. The only way we could pick between the many restaurants selling almost identical meals at identical prices was to see who was willing to show us the gills of the fish. A great night but i might eat at lunch rather than dinner as the fish comes off the boats in the morning - still we had no problems.
3. A great little (max 10 people) open plan cafe on one of the main drags, but not the main drag, (near some kebab shops) of the medina - other travellers are likely to be inside as well. We ordered 1/2 chicken, bread and salad - the chicken came with a brilliant yellow, preserved lemon and olive sauce. Really fresh and quality - £3 each.
We would buy Tangine pots here but not much else.Go to the fish market in the Medina to do this.
1. If you are serious about cooking then go to www.soukcuisine.com and book a cookery course on your first day in Marrakesh. Gemma is brilliant and you get a good feel of what the cuisine has to offer. She put us on to Tangina's which are 12hr cooked lamb served in the Medina at night. She also tells you where to buy (and how much to pay for spices) - about £30 pp and worth every penny.
2. Cafe des espice - is the only place we found with great coffee (Gemma knows it
)3. We ate at the Medina every night we were there - lots of choices but we settled for moving around between different stalls that sold different meals eg Soup, then Tangina, then dessert, then OJ.
4. The Tangina is sold at the Medina Restaurants which have the Lambs head on display - looks intimidating but actually quite fun.
We have done a lot of travel and have not yet found a people as friendly or accommodating as the Moroccans. Enjoy. One last thing it is likely to be COLD when you are there - beanies, jackets and scarves are definitely worth bringing.
I just wanted to say thank you! The pancakes in Essouira went down a treat. We also found a great place Laayoun in the medina which did the most flavoursome tagines (everywhere else was a bit sub par and dull). In Marrakech we went to Cafe des epices AND their extremely gorgeous new restaurant Terasses des Epices which is towards the edge of the souk. Didnt manage the Tagina on the night we ate in the square but I suspect we may go back sometime so am happy to save it until then.
Thank you so much for the recommendations!!