A visit to Marrakesh is always interesting, with an enchanting array of sights, sounds and, most importantly, tastes to delight the senses.
One of Morocco’s largest cities and an important spot for tourism in northern Africa, Marrakesh continues to expand its reach and influence. Yet it still maintains an exotic vibe and always provides a colorful experience.
Anyone looking to get outside his or her norm and experience something new—especially adventurous foodies—will fall in love with this city.
When you get ready to set out and explore all of the food Marrakesh has to offer, make sure to bring along the Marco Polo Marrakesh guide. Though small, this guide will help you plan your day’s adventures…between meals, of course.
What to Enjoy in Marrakesh
Spices play a large role in Moroccan food. While dishes aren’t always spicy, they do have plenty of flavor and flare. Expect to find dishes littered with cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, chili and saffron.
The area has plenty of unique fare to seek out. Tajines—dishes prepared in special pots and slow-cooked over hot ashes—can include chicken, fish, lamb or beef. These are then mixed with fruits, vegetables or spices.
A tajine specific to Marrakesh is tanjia marrakshia, which combines beef and spices to present one of the city’s most iconic meals.
Another must-try are the local briouats, savory pastries often filled with chicken or shrimp. These tasty treats also tend to include things like raisins, almonds, lemon or spices. The city’s lamb soup, called harira, is also popular, combining chickpeas and lentils with tomato paste and spices.
Tea is an important beverage throughout the city, standing out as a popular option over the hotel’s alcoholic drinks. In Marrakesh, it’s easy to find their green tea, which is typically served with mint leaves and sugar. More than just a drink, tea serves as a social component to Moroccan culture.
Don’t forget to hunt down dessert. Some sought-after options include dried fruit tartlets made with filo dough, cheesecake and sesame-covered fried pastries known as Chebakia.
Where to Dine
There are plenty of places to try Moroccan food when in Marrakesh. While you’ll also find restaurants serving Mediterranean food, Lebanese cuisine, French fare and other international delights, the traditional Moroccan eateries offer the best chance to sample local favorites.
Al Fassia, a restaurant that has been vital to the Marrakesh dining scene since the 1980s, presents classic Moroccan food, serving things like filo pastries, salads, seafood pastille, chicken tajine with almonds and shallots, couscous with vegetables and mixed kebabs.
Another great traditional spot is La Maison Arabe, where couscous and tajine feasts remain popular. The setting is especially wonderful here, with live music and an adjacent piano bar.
For a more romantic choice, dine at Dar Anika, which offers some more innovative Moroccan options. Their lamb shank with caramelized onions and the camel tajine are some more unique dishes on the menu.
Alternatives for Travel-Loving Foodies
You’ll be working up an appetite wandering the city. Marrakesh is home to the Musée Berbère, the Musée de Marrakech art museum and the vintage photography museum Maison de la Photographie. You may also spend time sifting through local artisan works, getting a henna tattoo or watching snake charmers.
But, even though there is plenty to do in town, there are some special spots for foodies too. Mechoui Alley offers a chance to purchase slow-roasted lamb slices from rows of vendors while the Amal Center offers cooking classes and a chance to dine at a spot where local women are training to work in the restaurant industry.
Travelers should also pay a visit to the stalls of Souq Ablueh. The marketplace allows visitors to get their own sealed crockpits of tajine or bachelor’s stew.
Don’t forget to consult your guide for even more foodie fun in Marrakesh.