Choosing where to eat in Marrakech is a daunting task. The choice is overwhelming. Doormen eagerly usher you into their restaurants, street vendors tempt you with their spicy delicacies and mopeds nearly knock you off your feet as you browse your options (yep, I learnt the hard way). But among the chaos there are heaps of incredible restaurants and bars hidden behind heavy wooden doors. Follow our essential guide to unveil the very best (scroll down for our map).
Light bites and lunches
1 La Famille(££)
This oh-so trendy vegetarian cafe serves all-organic food in a gorgeous garden setting. It’s family-owned and hailed for its friendly atmosphere and stylish interiors. Don’t expect a huge choice of food but do expect a daily changing menu of fresh salads and Mediterranean-inspired dishes – homemade pasta, fruit-topped pizzas (?!) – all made with seasonal produce. It’s a popular little place, so make sure you book ahead.
Where: 34 Derb Jdid, closed Sundays Stay: Riad Noga: A seven-room riad with three roof terraces and beautiful courtyards (6-min walk).
If you’re after a quick bite on a busy schedule, this cosy little cafe should curb your cravings. Don’t let the fast-food label put you off though – this is takeout food done to perfection. You might see enchiladas, falafael wraps, paninis or kebabs chalked up on the board. There are a few tables if you prefer to eat in (though beware it gets busy and there’s no air con), but most take their food away and enjoy it while exploring.
Where: 17 Rue Kennaria, closed Thursdays & Fridays Stay: Riyad El Cadi: A 15-room riad spread across seven houses, with stunning artwork, a hammam and a plunge pool (5-min walk).
3 Atay Café(£)
Ideal for those after something a little more under-the-radar. First impressions of this restaurant might not take your breath away (a few tables scattered around a woven carpet) but head upstairs to find three boho-style roof terraces with cushioned seats, hanging lanterns and some of the best views of the medina. Expect authentic Moroccan food – tagines, salads, soups and plenty of meat options.
Where: 62 Rue Amsefah, open daily Stay: Dar Zaman: A secluded and intimate hideaway with just four great-value rooms and a peaceful ambiance (8-min walk).
4 Max and Jan (££)
This is actually an ultra-trendy concept store, but it’s got an equally hip restaurant on the tiered roof terrace. Tables shaded by brightly coloured parasols are set on multicoloured tiled floors – what might normally clash just looks wonderfully chic here. The cuisine is branded as ‘soul food’ – a mixture of tagines, seafood and meaty mains.
Where: 14 Rue Amsefah, open daily Stay: Le Farnatchi: Set in the oldest part of the medina, this palatial 10-room riad has super-chic interiors and a tempting spa (5-min walk).
NOTE: For cultural reasons, not all restaurants in Marrakech serve alcohol. Scroll down to the next section for a selection of licensed restaurants.
This popular restaurant is already insta-famous, and for good reason: the roof terrace has sumptuous medina views. Food is trendy Moroccan; expect heaps of veggie options – don’t miss the courgette fritters and veggie pastilla – amazing desserts, innovate ice creams (like almond, honey and argan oil) and healthy juices.
Where: 1 Derb Aarjane, open daily Stay: Riad Enija: Ultra-stylish riad with 15 palatial rooms, exotic gardens, secret courtyards and a pool (3-min walk).
2 Le Jardin (££)
The setting of is magical: an atmospheric courtyard packed with potted plants and lit by candles at night. The colour scheme is brilliant green, to match the lush garden setting, and modern paintings decorate the walls (designer Norya Ahron’s artworks are on sale in the shop at the entrance). Food is typical Moroccan – I highly recommend the mezze of zingy salads to start. It’s not knockout cuisine, but you’re here for the setting (and we hear they sometimes offer a cheeky Mojito!).
Where: 32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, open daily Stay: Riad Jaaneman: A five-room riad with a lush courtyard, eclectic furniture and lovely vintage pieces – plus a roof terrace, of course (6-min walk).
3 La Table de la Kasbah (££)
Hailed as one of the best in Marrakech, this charming eatery serves typical Moroccan fare done to perfection. Dining takes place in a moody, stylish dining room or on the roof terrace overlooking Moulay El Yazid Mosque and the medina. No alcohol is served, but we’ve heard rumours of a BYO policy.
Where: 14 Derb Hajra, closed Mondays Stay: El Fenn: It’s not right next to the restaurant but it’s totally worth the extra walk. Expect very chic, very boutique rooms and seriously stylish interiors. (17-min walk).
If you fancy a break from eating tagines (there’s no shame in that), try this bohemian. Elegant tiled walls frame a courtyard of lemon trees and a trickling fountain filled with rose petals. Dishes are Tuscan-themed, though there are Moroccan classics on the menu too (plus you might be treated to a Limoncello digestif if you’re lucky!).
Where: 40 Rue Dyour Saboun, open daily Stay: Riad Al Jazira: A boho hideaway with 15 rooms, a chilled vibe, a collonnaded swimming pool and very reasonable prices (6-min walk).
Dinner and drinks
1Le Foundouk (£££)
Choose between Moroccan and international fare at this classy restaurant and pick from a tempting selection of cocktails (plus wines and spirits too). It’s extremely attractive inside, with dainty chandeliers and leather chairs, and there’s an impressive roof terrace – CNN hailed it as ‘one of the best in the world’. Book ahead to ensure you get a seat alfresco.
Where: 55 Souk Hal Fassi, closed Wednesdays Stay: Riad Capaldi: Attentive staff and heaps of space for relaxing make this seven-room riad a treat to stay in (1-min walk).
2 Barometre (££)
This restaurant and cocktail bar claims the top spot on Trip Advisor – quite an accolade. It’s located in the new town, but totally worth leaving the medina for. Inside, it’s like a Shoreditch brewery, with exposed metal pipes and all manner of potions. They also serve fusion tapas and modern Mediterranean dishes to accompany – carpaccio, fois gras, seafood risotto.
Where: Rue Moulay Ali – Guéliz, closed Sundays Stay: Riad Kniza: It’s a short taxi ride away, but this 200 year-old mansion has been transformed into a lavish 11-room riad with heaps of space and top notch service (25-min walk or 10-min taxi ride).
Another on the edge of the medina, but this place serves sushi and alcohol too. There’s more of an international vibe – don’t come for a traditional Moroccan experience. Regular live entertainment takes place, and, of course, there’s a wonderful roof terrace where you might glimpse storks nesting in the square’s towers.
Where: 47 Place des Ferblantiers, open daily Stay: Riad Dar More: Paris meets Morocco at this five-room riad with candlelit interiors and incredible prices (7-min walk).
4Comptoir Darna (£££)
Get set for glitz at this all-singing, all-dancing with sexy rouge interiors and flickering candles. Menus feature Moroccan and international fare, and the jam-packed live entertainment programme features belly dancers, DJs and even acrobats at weekends. Eat great food, drink great cocktails, smoke some shisha then dance the night away.
Where: Avenue Echouhada, open daily Stay: Riad L’Orangeraie: A gorgeous seven-room riad bang in the centre of town, with impeccable service, arty rooms and a refreshing pool (23-min walk or 7-min taxi ride).