There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in the Marrakech medina. From curb-side stalls selling bread and orange juice to open air restaurants serving the finest Moroccan food to upmarket cocktail bars, Marrakech medina has options for all tastes and budgets. I spent a lot of time aimlessly wandering the streets and sampling some of the best local food and drink. Check out my favourite spotsMarra in Marrakech’s historic district.
Café des Epices
Getting lost in the heart of the Marrakech souqs can be thirsty work. Café des Epices is ideally positioned on the Rahba Kedima Square which is hard to miss due to its proximity to some of the main alleys running through the central souqs. Climb up the spiral staircase to its roof terrace and try to bag a space which looks out onto the square itself. Order a drink and people watch as tourists amble around the “Spice Square” and locals argue over prices at the stalls. There is a good selection of Moroccan and Western food at decent prices. I recommend an iced mint tea and a pistachio brownie!
Stall 114, Djemaa el-Fna
Avoid the stress of fighting your way through the wall of overly eager guys hustling you to sit down at their near-identical stalls in Djemaa el-Fna and head straight to Stall 114, on the southern end of the square. While it’s better to come to the stalls for the atmosphere rather than food quality/cheap prices, 114’s dishes taste great and won’t break the bank. For less than 100 dirhams you can get anything from tagine to couscous to skewered grilled meat as well as all the bread and mint tea you can handle. The super-friendly staff belt out “That’s The Way I Like It” by KC and the Sunshine Band every time a tourist stops to browse the menu and there is a real party atmosphere here. Great for people watching too! This is my absolute favourite place in the square.
Amazing smoothie stand
Shhh, I will tell you guys a secret but you must promise to not tell anyone else. Just a few minutes walk from Djemaa el-Fna is an unremarkable looking stand, nevertheless swamped with locals. The owners fill glass mugs from pitchers of different juices at breakneck speed and pass them into the outstretched hands of the punters. The result is the most amazing smoothie you will ever taste, hands down. Don’t even ask me what juices make the cut – bananas, strawberries and avocado are definitely in but it’s pretty hard to keep up with these guys! Seriously, this will change your life. Oh and the best thing? It costs 5 dirhams. Did you hear me? 5 DIRHAMS. That’s like not even £0.50p/$0.70c. I want to go back just for this!
Hidden among the alleyways of the medina, Souk Café comes highly recommended and it doesn’t disappoint. Climb up the narrow steps to the shaded roof terrace and relax with a beer in the comfortable cushioned seats opposite the entrance. The menu has all the usual Moroccan food but the tagine kefta I ordered was absolutely delicious and the set menus are pretty good value. This is a great place to chill for a couple of hours and listen to the prayer calls bellowing out from the minarets over the rooftops behind you.
Traditional food stalls
While eating at the Djemaa el-Fna food stalls is one of the great Marrakech experiences, sampling the real street food among the locals is right up there too. While ambling through the souks, you will spot small kitchens and carts dotted around the medina, with smoke rising from the grilled meat cooked over hot charcoals. Don’t be afraid, pull up a chair at one of the nearby tables and point to whatever takes your fancy. This is as real as it gets. One of the popular spots is the Ben Youssef Food Stalls, just around the corner from the mosque and the Museum of Marrakech.
Just across the Pl Ben Youssef from the Museum of Marrakech and down a small lane, Chez Abdelhay is a tiny hole-in-the-wall kitchen with a few tables and chairs in just outside. Face the street and watch as locals zoom by on their scooters and tourists haggle with traders. Order the grilled meat and tuck into fresh bread and salad. There were no other tourists in sight and I had the place to myself. The food was fantastic and the whole lunch cost only 60 dirhams! I definitely recommend a pit stop here after exploring the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa and the museum.
Le Salama – Happy Hour cocktails
Just round the corner from Djemaa el-Fna is the happiest place in town! This might have something to do with the all-day Happy Hour that Le Salama offers to its customers. While there is also a very nice restaurant at the premises, its all about climbing all the way up to the top floor for great views of Marrakech and those lovely cocktails. There is a good selection on offer and for about 80 dirhams you will get two of your favourite tipples. The only downer is that both drinks have to be the same but (tip alert): no one said you can’t swap with your friends! There is also traditional music and belly dancing on certain nights and it’s open late! What’s not to like?
What are your favourites in the Marrakech medina? Let me know!