Eating in Marrakech – A Guide On What Food To Try

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Hadshi bneen!

This is the Moroccan word you’ll be be using often in Marrakech, once you’ve experienced the food. Which means “this is delicious.”

Marrakech, which in some translation means the Land of God. Though the name of the place is subject to multiple interpretation, one can’t argue that the food is heavenly.

Being the fourth largest city in Morocco, this popular and often crowded tourist spot seeks to thrill. It offers its visitors an unforgettable food experience they’ll bring back home.

What To Expect From Eating In Marrakech

 

Morrocan food is ancient. Going back a thousand years. Influenced by Arab, Berber, Turkish and French culture. It’s a literal melting pot of mouth watering dishes waiting to be discovered by the hungry traveler.

You’ll find savory to sweet foods to cater to every taste. From the well known and easy on the palate, to the more exotic foods that you have to challenge yourself to eat.

Couscous and tagine are very common in Morocco, and there’s a variety of ways to prepare it. It’s a great way to experience meat like lamb, chicken and even pigeon if you’re into the exotic stuff.

And to endure the heat, one can always quench their thirst with Morocco’s favourite drink, which is green tea. Marrakech is famous for its green tea. Locals drink it almost all the time, served hot with lots of mint and sugar.

You’ll even find it complimentary in some restaurants when you order their food.

Tasting Marrakech’s food is like experiencing something from the past. With influence from the Berber dynasty.

And then there’s the exotic mix of spices. You’ll smell them wafting through the souks in the Medina.

They really do love their spices, and a common one you’ll find is Ras el hanout. It’s a dozen combination of spices used in North African cuisine. Something you should definitely get on your list of to buy items. It’s something they use to cook almost everything.

The preparation of the food is also delightable. As unlike western meals, the making of the food doesn’t involve frying.  And it’s frequently cooked with olive oil.

You’ll also find fresh bread being made daily. As it’s a staple of Moroccan food. The bake shops even let people bake their own bread as some homes don’t have an oven. That’s how much they love their bread!

Marrakech Food Culture

Marrakech cuisine has a food culture where you eat together on the same plate called Al Baraka. Which is a term of salutation and used when sharing a meal.

You can just enjoy the deliciousness of the food and get immersed in the culture. Learn how it ties into the spiritual creativity of the Moroccan people. Moroccan tradition is big on sharing and it reflects on how they eat their food.

Delicious Foods To Try In Marrakech

Eating in Marrakech offers experience from hot and down to earth stalls, to upscale restaurants with elegant ambience and amazing views. And there are all sorts of dishes to try.

Being a predominantly Muslim country, there are halal foods everywhere. And if you’re a foodie, be prepared to have the best gastronomical experience of your life.

Have A Sumptuous Moroccan Breakfast

The most important meal of the day, and you’re wondering where to experience a traditional Moroccan breakfast? Try a beldi breakfast. It’s the local version of the more well known pita bread, and is absolutely great especially with honey or just olive oil.

You can eat it just as it is, or have fillings like tuna, chicken or other scrumptious meaty goodness you can sink your teeth in.

However, if you don’t subscribe to a heavy breakfast, there are alternatives. A bean soup called Bessara which is sometimes made with chickpeas might be more right up your alley.

A popular spot for breakfast in Marrakech would be at Snack Othmane, where locals and tourists alike congregate for their daily breakfast.

Discover Traditional Moroccan Food

Where would a traveler be without experiencing the local food? Whether you’re adventurous when it comes to food. Or you’d like a safer option, Marrakech’s traditional food would give you tasty options galore.

Walking through the various debs in the markets, you can’t help but take a whiff of the food being made daily.

Whether it’s the smell of fresh bread in the oven, or the cooking of a Berber traditional cuisine. You can’t help but be tempted to taste everything in sight.

The couscous and tagine are part of the berber culture and is a traditional food in Morocco. Before you arrive, people would definitely recommend you try it out in Marrakech. They wouldn’t be wrong and you should definitely experience it at least once.

The tajines with the various meat, fish, chicken, or lamb is cooked in a clay pot. Whereas with couscous, the layer of wheat is topped with vegetables and meat. Try it with a bowl buttermilk and you’ll be in food heaven.

If you like bread, you’re in for a treat. The bread you’ll find in Morocco is different from traditional slices of bread. It’s made to soak up all the juices of their delicious stew. And there’s no better way to eat bread than with a plate of tangia.

So what is tangia? It’s a famous local stew, marinated with ghee, saffron, pepper, cumin and other spices. It’s then cooked over hot coal over several hours.

You can find vendors selling it all over the market. The name is used for the pot and the dish itself, which is made from various types of meat.

It is something of a favorite especially among unmarried men. Originally made with camel meat in bygone times, it’s often called the bachelor’s stew. This is for its simplicity and as a quick tasty meal for those who don’t have a wife to cook at home.

You can even take a pot of tangia and bring it to a hammam. Where they will cook your tangia in the hot sands below the bath house. Perfect to eat after a warm bath.

Finding Kosher Meals In Marrakech

If you’re looking for Kosher meals, there is the Dar Irma restaurant which is operated by a Jewish family. It caters to those who want a taste of home, or for those who simply want delicious kosher meals. The recipes are family recipes and adheres to the Kashrut. The setting is elegant, with delicious keftas, lamb chops and tajine. You can find the restaurant near the Jardin Majorelle, which is also nearby the Blue Radisson Hotel.

Vegan Foods In Marrakech

Being a place famous for its tagines and exotic meats. You would think that Marrakech doesn’t cater to vegetarians. But you couldn’t be more wrong. There are restaurants that are vegetarian friendly, and even some of the basic Moroccan dishes are technically vegetarian.

If you need a quick fix for a meal, just go with the commonly found pita bread. Which you can find almost everywhere. Eat them with olive oil and have a side of dried dates or some fresh fruits.

Below are some of the restaurants in Marrakech that cater to vegetarians.

Green Vegetarian Restaurant

The name says it all, you can find delicious Gluten-free free vegetarian burgers here. And this being Morocco you can be sure they’re seasoned with the best spices. The restaurant also offers free WiFi.

Earth Cafe

The restaurant serves juicy big portions of their meals. And they also serve vegetarian burgers as well. You can quench your thirst with their orange and ginger drinks. Or orange and carrot which is a favorite of many.

The rice noodles here are great with vegetables. Or for something light and different, have a go at the pastries filled with dates. Absolutely delicious. Meals and drinks typically cost 7 usd per person here

Finding Seafood In A Desert City

Marrakech’s location is not exactly close to the sea. And some people say that you can rarely find fresh seafood in stalls or restaurants.

Although there are exceptions. Krita is a stall for cheap and fresh seafood daily. It’s worth knowing that they claim that if the seafood is not fresh, the stall will not open.

So you don’t have to wait to visit jolly ol London to have great tasting fish and chips, as the one in Krita always attracts a crowd. And it’s a good thing you can have one to go. Don’t forget to also try the calamari as it is crunchy goodness.

If you want something more upscale like lobster. but don’t want it to be expensive , try Al Bahriya seafood restaurant. The lobsters there are some of the best in town.

Drinking Alcohol In Marrakech Restaurants

Even though it’s a Muslim country, some restaurants do serve alcohol. Although not widely advertised. It is available in bars and supermarkets like Carrefour. Plenty of bars and restaurants serve alcohol. But you should never drink in public places outside on the streets, and please respect the rules and culture.

Cheap Foods At The Djemaa el-Fna

Restaurants offer tasty options for a meal out of a menu. But if you want to really immerse yourself with the local culture, you have to try out the food from the street stalls. It’s where you can taste deliciousness with a fair price.

To really experience local cuisine you have to head to the back alleys and the markets to eat like the locals do. Delicacies and out of this world dishes can be found in the back alleys. And it’s absolutely La deed! (means delicious)

So where do you go to find a sea of street vendors to choose from? The biggest one in Marrakech would be the Djemaa el-Fna’s food stalls. It’s a huge outdoor food market.

You can just go easy and try kebabs. Kebabs are at its best here grilled to perfection. There are also seafood stalls but since Marrakech is not exactly close to the sea, freshness will vary from stall to stall.

If you have a stronger stomach, you can try something not for the faint of heart. If you ever had lamb chops, you can go further by having other parts of the animal.

From sheep intestines, brains, tongue or even the head, nothing is wasted. It’s surely a sight to see even if you won’t indulge yourself.

Camel meat and snail soup are some of the other exotic dishes you should try that are probably not common back home.

Pies. Delicious and filling and conjures up a whole lot of memories of sweet apples, and creamy glass of milk. In Marrakech, the pie people eat is called B’stilla, it’s more thin than the usual pie but has multiple layers.

The meat used in the filling is originally pigeon meat, but nowadays other typical fillings are used so you can enjoy it the way you like it.

Once you had your fill of meats and the interesting ways it’s prepared, you might want a change of pace.

How about something sweet? Date cookies are available in the market, these are fresh dates grown locally and taste really good with sugar icing on the outside.

Another crunchy and sweet treat to try is the Chebakia. These tasteful looking treats look like flower shaped cookies. And are flavored with honey or plain syrup. Absolutely a must try.

If you want something that is more familiar, you can find burritos and tacos in Marrakech. So if you get tired of a plate of chicken tajine or a bowl of couscous, you can find something that taste closer to home. Try Roti D’or which is near the main square of the souk. Also try the chicken shawarma while you’re there as it’s delicious.

Food Safety In Marrakech

Some people might worry about food safety. But if you’re willing to be a bit adventurous, there are about 50 stalls selling all sorts of local fare every night.

Some tourists might be a bit reluctant on the safety of the foods at the market. Although there is no guarantee of anything, since people do get food poisoning even when eating at hotel restaurants. It’s good to know that the foods are generally safe. As each vendor is licensed to operate and sell food. Plus some of them have been selling food for generations.

Food Tours To Try

The debs of Marrakech and the alleyways can seem like an adventure to explore on your own. But you might prefer the sureness of a guide to lead you on this adventure instead. There are a few tours that you might consider when you’re visiting Marrakech.

Private Group Tours

Whether you have a large group or simply need some exclusivity in your tours, you can’t go wrong with a private tour. Run by Amanda from Marocmama, who is living in Morocco and have years of experience in the culture and awarded numerous travel acclaim.

She provides tours for first time visitors to experience the wonders of Marrakech food. Both husband and wife duo team will give you a good insight into the exotic food culture in Marrakech. You can find their tours here https://marrakechfoodtours.com/private-tour

A Magical Dinner In The Desert

Marrakech is an amazing place and it’s not just the food. It’s the whole experience of being immersed in the surroundings which seem surreal.

Once you’ve seen the best of Morocco, why not spend the last night with a romantic dinner out in the desert. Or perhaps even the whole family can enjoy a cool evening breeze eating a superb meal. This two hour experience will even take you from your hotel to the Agafay desert and back to your hotel again.

Experience a magical night by clicking here

https://m.viator.com/tours/Marrakech/Magical-dinner-in-Marrakech-desert/d5408-19111P44

Food Walking Tour

Walking the streets of Djemaa El Fna is an adventure in itself. Hearing the loud bustling sounds of people selling their goods, people conversing with each other and with tourists.

Just going about their daily lives for another day in the market. If you’re the do it yourself type, you probably just need your GPS. Or just a map and you’re all set.

But if you prefer a guided tour, to fully understand and not miss out on the full experience of a night market in Marrakech.

Or you just want to avoid the possibility of running into snake handlers. Forcing you to pay to take the snake away from your shoulders. Which they themselves put in the first place. And maybe you think your haggling skills are not up to par with the locals, then a food walking tour is the answer.

This walking food tour will take you through the streets of Djemaa El Fna by a food expert on a three and half hour trip.

You’ll discover spices like Ras el Hanout, watch how to expertly haggle with the merchants, sample local delicacies which you may or may not indulge depending on how brave you are.

Finish it off with an amazing dinner among the colourful sights and sounds of the Djemaa El Fna. The tour is limited to 12 people so you can have the best experience without feeling overwhelmed.

https://m.viator.com/tours/Marrakech/Experience-Marrakech-Food-and-Market-Tour-of-Djemaa-El-Fna-Including-Traditional-Dinner/d5408-6057FOODTOUR

Bike Tour

If a faster paced tour is more to your liking, then a bike tour may be up to your speed. There’s nothing quite like the fun of zipping through the city streets and the back alleys and learning it’s history.

Plus you get to taste amazing food as well. With a friendly and knowledgeable guide to help you navigate. This tour is great if you’re into great food and like the idea of touring safely on a bike around the city.

Even non regular riders will enjoy it as it is slow paced, and you get to enjoy great meals at a few stops.

Take the tour here

https://m.viator.com/tours/Marrakech/Marrakech-Food-Tasting-Tour-By-Bike/d5408-9144P6

Get Your Hands Dirty With A Cooking Class And Market Tour

For some, eating an authentic local version of a cuisine is enough to give them the wonderful experience they need.

But for others, the only way to experience a local cuisine is by making it. Only then will you appreciate the effort it takes to prepare the dish.

With this tour, you’ll shop for the ingredients in the local souk, and learn a few Arabic phrases while you’re at it.

After that, learn to cook tagine and couscous with an experienced cook, where afterwards you’ll get to dine on your meal in a traditional Moroccan riad. Have a great day learning to cook a new dish and having a great meal with this tour.

Check out this tour at

https://m.viator.com/tours/Marrakech/Experience-Morocco-Visit-a-Souq-and-Cook-a-Tagine-in-Marrakech/d5408-6057TAGINE

Pressed For Time Or On A Layover

Not everyone has the time to truly experience the food in Marrakech. You might just be at the Menara Airport for a layover, work or other situation where a great food experience is not really an option.

If that’s the case, there are eateries at the airport. Although not a lot of options and the food can be rather pricey.

There are a few bake shops selling confectionery and pastries while you wait for your next flight.

Some of the usual fare can be had here like burgers, pizza, Croque Monsieur or a baguette. Although the food is a hit and a miss. So only eat here if you can’t wait for the meal served in your airline.

If you prefer alternatives, there are restaurants in nearby hotels which are close to the airport.

Although it’s a seven to ten minutes by car. The hotels are Kenzi Farah Hotel, Ryad Mogador Menara Hotel & Spa, and Amani Hotel Appart ( has airport shuttle service upon request)

As you can see, the airport can disappointingly have limited food options especially if you want to try out the local food. So if you ever have the chance, stop over Marrakech next time to really experience the food and the culture.

Conclusion

Marrakech has something to offer for everyone when it comes to food. From curious eaters  to those who want try something exotic. Bringing home memories of a satisfying meal.

So if you’re planning a trip to Marrakech. Plan to do a lot of food hunting. Your taste buds are in for a wild ride. And your hungry tummy will thank you for it.

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