Eating in Marrakech is an act of constant exploration. On every corner of the medina you can find street vendors stuffing msemmen flatbreads with onions and spices, cafes perched high above the street serving mint tea to stunning sunsets, and rambling historic residences transformed into the city’s finest restaurants. Even as visitors dig into the city’s twisting corridors to find its rarest dishes, Marrakech opens up ever wider, with more and more chefs proudly sharing their culinary heritage and bountiful local ingredients.
Marrakech’s cuisine developed at a crossroads of cultures. Tagines, found in nearly every Moroccan restaurant, descend from native Amazigh cooking traditions. Arabians brought spices, Spaniards brought olive oil, Jewish Moors contributed preserving techniques, and the French protectorate introduced cafes. Built on powerful ingredients like preserved lemons and smen (fermented, almost cheesy butter), dishes often feature paradoxical, sweet-savory combinations, like slow-cooked lamb with honey-soaked prunes and crunchy fried almonds, or phyllo pastry stuffed with chicken, onions, eggs, sugar, and ground almonds.
Historically, the city’s richest culinary traditions haven’t been easy for visitors to find. Moroccan restaurants became accustomed to serving tourists a repetitive handful of tagines and couscous dishes, while locals dined at home with family. But a new generation of Moroccan chefs are reversing that narrative, offering lesser-known foods from home, modern interpretations of classic dishes, and seasonal produce like green peas in spring, quince in fall, and pomegranates in winter. Diners are also exploring beyond the brash lights and noises of the tourist-packed Jemaa el Fna market, seeking out dishes like rfissa (chicken with lentils), beef with artichokes, or mechoui (roast sheep) all across town.
From mechoui stands so good they named a street after them to Italian pasta inside a beautiful Art eco villa to a professional training center for female cooks, here are the essential meals worth seeking out in Marrakech.
Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 100 dirham (Less than $10 USD)
$$ = 100 – 250 dirham ($10 – $26 USD)
$$$ = 250 dirham ($26 USD and up)
Light and airy, Plus61 bills itself as a casual Australian restaurant, but the program is firmly rooted in Morocco, incorporating as much local produce as possible. Recent hits on the rotating menu have included a roast sirloin sandwich with eggplant relish, roasted onions, and chile, and a roasted cauliflower salad with almonds, minty chickpeas, and pomegranates. Meanwhile, the full bar offers unique cocktails (and mocktails) that change seasonally alongside the food menu. [$$]
Look no further than Amandine for some of the best pastries in Marrakech. The patisserie sells both French and Moroccan pastries and cookies, and there’s a full drink menu if you’d like to sit and stay awhile. Order a plate of mixed Moroccan cookies, particularly the sweet briouat (fried, honey-soaked phyllo pastry stuffed with almond flour, orange blossom water, and sugar), and pair it with a French pastry such as the religieuse a choux filled with caramel cream and topped with more caramel drizzle. The cafe also offers to-go boxes, which make the perfect souvenir or gift. [$]
La Trattoria is one of Marrakech’s oldest international restaurants, located in one of the few remaining Art Deco villas in the city. The restaurant includes a bar, full dining room, and courtyard (where tables are arranged around a large, stunning pool), but throughout the restaurant, vintage Western style mixes with traditional Moroccan details. Guests enjoy classic Italian dishes, especially seafood spaghetti and fish, but whatever you choose, don’t skip the tiramisu for dessert. [$$]
Despite Morocco’s high taxes on alcohol, you can still find excellent bars in Marrakech. Barometre serves especially imaginative mixed drinks in elaborate custom glassware, as well as beer and wine. The bar also offers a full, multicourse food menu to go along with the drinks, but don’t expect to find any tagines. Fresh, modern dishes include risotto-like mhamsa with clams, crab salad with prawn cream, and duck-leg confit.Barometre is perfect for couples or a night out with friends. Just be prepared for a check inflated by taxes. [$$ – $$$]
This restaurant serves up not only a good meal, but a philanthropic mission too. The organization works to improve the lives of local women by training them in cooking and restaurant skills like hosting and food safety, in addition to providing advice on interviewing and lessons in French and English. The menu changes daily, and dishes disappear throughout the day as they are sold out. The restaurant is only open for lunch; reservations are suggested, especially on Fridays, when the traditional couscous never fails to draw a crowd. [$]
Al Fassia, helmed by Saïda Chaab and her family, has been run entirely by women since it opened in 1987, as much a rarity then as it is now. For nearly as long, the restaurant has been hailed as the place to eat in the city. Start with the pastilla, a baked phyllo pie stuffed with chicken or pigeon meat, onions slow-cooked with creamy eggs, almonds, and powdered sugar.Then dig into one of the more unusual tagines, like chicken with caramelized pumpkin or beef with almonds, shallots, and rice. Al Fassia has a location in Agdal, but the one in Gueliz boasts a better ambience and more consistent quality from the kitchen. [$$$]
Head chef and owner Assia Kabous stands out in the culinary scene of Morocco, not only as a woman in a largely male industry but also for her ability to transport intimate Moroccan home cooking to a refined setting. While you can find the typical Moroccan tagines, the kitchen also serves dishes that rarely grace restaurant menus, like tride (chicken and lentils on a bed of springy, layered msemmen bread), chaariya medfouna (spiced chicken buried in steamed vermicelli noodles), and djaj m’qualli (roasted chicken refried for an extra-crisp surface). [$$]
Gueliz was created during the French protectorate in Morocco as a home for the international community outside of the medina. Today it’s filled with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants like this French bistro. Le Petit Cornichon offers a rotating set menu, posting updates weekly to its Instagram account. Options usually include two or three starters, mains, and desserts, but guests can also order a la carte. Do note the restaurant allows smoking inside, which can be a major put-off for some diners. [$$ – $$$]
Housed in a traditional riad-style building, Dar Moha sits beside the palace Dar el Bacha, once the home of the pasha of Marrakech. The historic neighborhood makes chef Moha Fedal’s modern approach to Moroccan cuisine extra surprising. While his creative work may not satisfy purists, Fedal incorporates Andalusian influences to produce something special. Don’t skip the salad course, composed of 14 rotating salads made with raw and cooked seasonal ingredients. Combined with a few warm appetizers, the salads are enough to constitute a light meal, but if you’d like a heartier main, the sea bass and prawns in chermoula are delicious. [$$ – $$$]
After visiting the stunning Dar el Bacha Museum of Confluences, entering this on-site cafe is like taking a step back into the 1920s. Casablanca is full of Art Deco design, but examples are less common in Marrakech, and the style is rarely combined with palatial Moroccan residential architecture — all making Bacha more intriguing to explore. The coffee bar and restaurant is a must for caffeine lovers, given its extensive list of over 200 varieties of coffee, including some rare types. Pair your choice of joe with the signature orange blossom churros with melted chocolate. [$$]
While most of Marrakech’s riads operate as bed and breakfasts, Ksar Essaoussan supplies only the edible portion of that equation. The petit a la carte dinner menu will satisfy anyone with an average appetite, but ambitious eaters may want to tuck into the prix fixe. The seven-course experience includes hefty portions of two types of b’stilla pies (a meat version and a dessert version), two seasonal tagines, and couscous. Unlike many medina restaurants, Ksar Essaoussan also has wine to enjoy with your meal. The entrance can be difficult to find, but when you book a reservation, the restaurant will send out a helpful staff member to escort you to the front door. [$$ – $$$]
There aren’t many restaurants near Jemma el Fna that offer more than a basic sandwich or shawarma, but Fine Mama is different. Along with traditional Moroccan dishes, such as tagines, and a fantastic breakfast and brunch spread, the kitchen serves internationally inspired vegan and vegetarian selections, including a delicious Buddha bowl composed of falafel, fresh vegetables, lentils, and beetroot hummus. Pair anything with the restaurant’s selection of juices. [$ – $$]
There are many nighttime stalls in Jemaa el Fna, the main, bustling square of the city. The area was once popular among Moroccans, but today you’ll mainly find tourists eating there. Despite tourist traps all around, stall No. 14 is worth seeking out. The stand serves a menu of fish and seafood, always sourced fresh each day and always fried. Calamari, sole, sardines, and shrimp make regular appearances alongside eggplant salad, spiced fresh tomatoes, and french fries. Prepare to elbow your way through the crowd to secure your seat, but you’ll certainly get a feel for the pulse of the night market. Just look for a sign reading “stall #14” anytime after 5 p.m. [$]
Escape the medina into a calm oasis in this riad-turned-restaurant, which serves a mixture of Italian and Moroccan food. The middle of the courtyard is full of lemon trees, an homage to the restaurant’s name and a hint to diners that they should follow the citrus on the menu to dishes like lemon and mint ravioli. If you want to stick to the Moroccan side of the menu, look for options like chicken tagine with oranges and apricots. [$$]
N°28 Place Jamaâ Lefna, Souk El Kassabine
Marrakech 40000, Morocco
The unassuming Cafe Tiznit can be tricky to find. It’s hidden among the olive stands in the Souk El Kassabine: Take the street in between the olive vendors and roast sheep sellers of Mechoui Alley, head toward the souk, then make an immediate left to find the stairs leading up to the restaurant. Your efforts will be rewarded, if not with the friendliest service, then with a rabbit tagine. One of the most unique versions of the dish in the Red City, the tagine comes two ways, with raisins and onions or with potatoes and olives, but both are excellent. [$]
Don’t expect anything fancy — or silverware, for that matter — on this small street that has become synonymous with mechoui, whole sheep roasted in underground clay ovens beneath several houses on the row and sold from three shops. The sellers also offer tangia (sheep slow-cooked with garlic, saffron, and preserved lemons in a clay urn) and ras (roasted sheep’s head), and everything is sold by weight. Be sure to sprinkle the meat with the salt and cumin provided. [$ – $$]
Nomad has become a modern classic since opening in 2014. Spread over several floors, with multiple indoor and outdoor spaces, the restaurant offers a broad Mediterranean menu punctuated with Moroccan flavors. The sardine tart and vegetarianpastilla(pastry stuffed with goat cheese, tomato confit, and seasonal vegetables) present Moroccan flavors in a new light. Dishes like grilled lamb chops and flourless orange cardamom ginger cake are a welcome treat for gluten-free visitors as well. Nomad’s popularity may be its greatest drawback, though, since service can feel mechanical and reservations are absolutely necessary. [$ – $$]
Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan visitors to Marrakech should be sure to visit Henna Art Cafe, where the staff graciously cater to a wide variety of diets. Every item on the menu is clearly labeled for dietary restrictions, and guests should feel encouraged to ask for details if they have specific needs. After you finish your meal, head over to the 100 percent organic henna studio attached to the restaurant for some ink to commemorate your delicious, diet-conscious meal. [$]
One of the newer restaurants in the Marrakech dining scene, La Trou au Mur has quickly established itself as a standout. The menu includes both Moroccan dishes and international options, allowing diners to mix and match. Take advantage of the restaurant’s giant clay oven by ordering the fantastic mechoui (roast sheep) with one of the signature, custom sauces, like traditional preserved lemon sauce or barbecue sauce for a twist. [$$ – $$$]
Naranj is owned and operated by a Syrian-Lebanese couple who serve up excellent Middle Eastern flavors, beginning with their mezze plate. Choose from a range of sandwiches, like the musakhan (spiced chicken). Or order the fatet batinjan, eggplant mixed with ground beef, tomato sauce, and yogurt, layered on top of fried pita chips. The restaurant opens for both lunch and dinner, but evening reservations are highly recommended. [$ – $$]
As the city becomes home to a growing population of immigrants from several countries in West Africa, Blackchich is one of several restaurants reflecting Senegal’s culinary influence on Morocco. The medina restaurant’s mix of Senegalese and Moroccan dishes makes it a good option for lunch, dinner, or anytime you might like mafe yappou nague (beef in peanut sauce) served with rice and vegetables. The cafe also serves tartines topped with fresh ingredients like goat cheese, hummus, and a variety of vegetables. [$ – $$]
Hidden in a beautiful garden in the medina, La Famille serves refreshing vegetarian fare. The menu includes daily pasta and salad options, as well as pizza and dips, but dishes change constantly to follow seasonal produce (and the whims of the kitchen). Do make sure to save room for one of the rotating desserts, like fresh fruit tarts or the incredible chocolate cake. Though La Famille is only open for lunch, the wildly popular restaurant still usually requires a reservation. [$ – $$]