The restaurant scene in Essaouira is one of the best in Morocco. The town’s location on the coast means seafood feasts, while restaurants in the surrounding countryside provide a sample of regional cuisine including cheese, wine and local specialities. While the fish market remains under construction and landmark restaurants like Elizyr and port-front Chez Sam have recently closed, new additions and classics remain. In this blog post we share our top dining options in Essaouira.
Beach-front Ocean Vagabond is not only a restaurant, but an ideal spot to spend an afternoon in Essaouira. The menu here is not cheap, but the location more than makes up for it. Western-style fare is served with views of the beach; it’s a great destination for a seafood feast. The ambiance is bohemian, in line with the laid-back town of Essaouira. The restaurant is located at the end of the beachfront, about 25 minutes walk from the Essaouira medina.
Rather hidden in the medina, it’s worth the hunt to find this little culinary gem. This fine dining establishment is the go-to place for mouth-watering seafood dishes. French chef Serge Peuzin creates each dish with passion and creativity, with the likes of pumpkin risotto and seabass carpaccio all served in an intimate setting. Not to be missed!
Easy to find and with a Moroccan menu – albeit a rather pricy one – the ambiance here is bohemian and the vibe chilled. There’s regular live music as well as unique décor; think Berber baskets lining the walls and ceilings, chandeliers made from teapots, and old sewing tables upcycled to dining tables, while retro seating lines the patio area. This is a great place to spend a cooler afternoon in Essaouira, sipping tea and enjoying the atmosphere.
When you’ve had enough tajine and couscous, head to Silvestro for authentic Italian cuisine in the heart of the medina. Always busy, and although the service is quite slow, the second floor restaurant serves up great pasta – the carbonara is creamy and delicious while the eggplant parmigiana is mouth-watering. At night, the pizzas are a great option for families, while the ground sardine tajine is filling and rather inexpensive. The restaurant serves Moroccan and Italian wines for the complete experience.
Perhaps one of the best restaurants in Essaouira, Ottolenghi-inspired UMIA serves up fresh dishes and innovative cuisine. The duck pastilla provides an interesting take on a traditional Fassi dish, while the lotte served over steamed vegetables is a healthy option. Be sure to save room for dessert, as the chocolate pudding with salted caramel sauce is quite simply divine! The décor is fresh, and while there are no views, the menu more than makes up for it. Stop by for dinner when the ambiance is rather romantic.
Just 30 minutes from Essaouira, French winemaker Charles Melia has developed the Val d’Argan winery, an ideal lunch spot. Upon arrival, guests are invited to tour the impressive facilities where three ranges of red, white and rosé wines are produced in addition to Moroccan gris (a blend between a rosé and white). In the summer months, don’t forget your bathing suit or swim trunks for a bit of post-lunch swimming under the trees in the vineyard.
The rural setting, locally referred to as ‘beldi’, where the cheese is prepared on site is an idyllic place to have lunch. The three-course meal is served under the pergola covered in bougainvillea, or under the arcades of the traditional buildings. Be sure to save room for the cheese platter served as dessert, which includes goat’s cheese and sheep’s cheese, and new creations made from camel’s milk.