A Foodie’s Guide to Marrakech
POSTED BY Mavy | June 5, 2015
Label: Food Travel
With influences from Arabia, France and Andalusian Spain, Morocco’s delicious flavour combinations make it a foodie’s paradise - with Marrakech at the heart.
From preserved lemons stirred into rich tagines to pigeon pies dusted with cinnamon, it’s a city where you can let your taste buds indulge - from the street food to the set menus.
As a rule there’s no a la carte here, the food just arrives, so relax and explore the unique culinary delights.
Our guide to where to eat in Marrakech (and more importantly, what to eat), is a great place to start your foodie adventure.
Couscous here is traditionally rolled by hand and steamed over a stew of meat and vegetables. To serve, the meat is covered by a pyramid of couscous, with vegetables pressed into the sides and garnished with a sweet raisin preserve.
You’ll have no doubt seen, and may even own a tagine, the clay cooking pot with a conical lid that gives its name to the myriad of dishes that can be cooked within it. Here you’ll find them bubbling away everywhere, from the roadside to restaurants.
This soup of dried broad beans is traditionally served for breakfast, topped with olive oil, a sprinkling of cumin and served with bread, it’s a simple pleasure.
Fish is a big feature on most Moroccan menus, thanks to it’s long Atlantic coastline. In this dish the fillets are marinaded in a combination of herbs and spices before being grilled over hot coals.
A soup rich with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and lamb, this dish served to break the fast at sunset during Ramadan is finished off with a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped coriander. It’s also served with chebakkiya, a sweet pretzel.
Beef or lamb mince is mixed with herbs, garlic and spices and cooked in a tomato and onion sauce. Eggs are cracked and cooked just before the dish is served.
This smoked aubergine dip is often served at the start of the meal, along with a selection of vegetable salads.
B’stilla (Pigeon Pastilla)
A blend of pigeon meat, almonds, eggs, saffron, cinnamon and coriander sit within layers of paper-thin pastry dusted with cinnamon and sugar. This is Fassi cuisine (from Fez) at its best.
With no alcohol served in many cafe and restaurants, mint tea is the drink of choice - known as ‘Moroccan whisky’.
As well as Morocco’s more traditional dishes, their street food is world renowned - and the best place to find it is in Marrakech’s Djemaa el-Fna square.
Head here at dusk for the world’s biggest and most colourful al fresco dining experience.
You’ll find all of the specialities listed above, as well as grilled sardines, squid and kebabs alongside more unusual delicacies such as sweet cheek meat of sheep’s heads and snail broth.
Make sure you try Makouda, deep-fried potato balls served with a spicy harissa dip and the ‘real’ Moroccan treat of Lamb mechoui, your choice of cut slow roasted in hot ashes underground,
While you wouldn’t necessarily associate Morocco with fine dining, beyond the square in the narrow streets of the medina, you’ll find there are some great restaurants in Marrakech, with outstanding tasting menus to choose from.
A firm favourite with both locals and tourists is the five course set tasting menu at Gastro MK. Set within the Maison MK hotel they only serve 20 external guests a night, so booking is essential. Expect only subtle Moroccan influences from this modern, experimental menu, created by head chef Omar El Ouahssoussi.
For a tasting menu with a more traditionally Morroccan feel head to Le Restaurant at La Maison Arabe. Here the sounds of Marrakesh's finest Arabic classical musicians provide the perfect accompaniment to Berber cuisine and hearty complex dishes.
If you’d like to dine in an elegant setting, but prefer to order a la carte, try At Deco bistro Le Grand Café de la Poste.
One of the most popular things to do in Marrakech, is a visit to one of the many amazing food markets..
These bustling collections of stalls are packed with a varied and vivid selection of fruit and vegetables. Try the delicious pomegranates or sample some peeled prickly pear. Or chose from the section of white, yellow and green asparagus, once reserved purely for export.
You’ll find butchers’ stalls, usually specialising in lamb or beef, not both, and you can also pick up rich Merguez sausages. You may also see live chickens selected by customers and sold by weight, before being dispatched and defeathered. An interesting sight if you’re not too squeamish.
A wide variety of fish and shellfish is also for sale, with lines of sardines, anchovies and mackerel on display. As well as buying fresh, you can pick up Sardines, one of Morocco’s best known exports, spiced and baked or made into fish balls for an alternative variety of kefta tagine.
If you’re looking for treats to take home, Marrakech’s markets have some great preserved foods. The big specialities here are beautiful preserved lemons, which are often displayed in open enamel basins and delicious olives of every hue.
The great news is, if you’ve been inspired by Marrakech’s culinary delights, you really can take a taste of them home with you. Cooking classes are available at Maison MK, Maison Arabe and Cafe Clock. These will usually involve a trip to the market as well as a lesson is how to handle your chopping, pot and pans. A must to top off your foodie experience.