The economic capital of Morocco
is famous for its rich, ancient and contemporary architecture, along with its exotic cultural scene. The Moorish Medina, as it’s also known, is the ultimate place to experience authentic Moroccan cuisine with a modern touch. This curated list is an updated version of the previous article
listing Marrakech’s 10 most recommended local cultural restaurants.
An 18th century luxurious hotel built by Haj Mohamed Bouskri, located in the heart of Marrakech, Riad Kniza is considered one of the best authentic Moroccan restaurants in town. Riad Kniza offers a special menu program where guests can taste the finest of Moroccan cuisine, including a gourmet selection of Moroccan salads; an assortment of exquisite Moroccan tajines and desserts; and local coffee or the well-known Moroccan mint tea. Apart from the delightful dining experience, Riad Kniza‘s guests have the chance to take part in cooking workshops, where the head chef instructs guests in the secrets of exotic Moroccan cooking.
African culture is located right in the middle of the town at African Chic. African Chic’s lounge offers a mix of international signature cocktails, and its Zebra Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy the best of global dishes, varying from Asian flavours such as the poulet Thai or the boeuf a la japonaise, to the crème caramel falcon dessert from Brazil. There is even French cuisine in the form of the coeur de filet de boeuf. African Chic’s colourful African décor creates a truly welcoming atmosphere for guests not only to enjoy a delicious meal but also to watch live Latin music entertainment.
From a joint dining and bar area, to bamboo and palm tree gardens and nomadic tents, Bô-Zin is the place to be. With its classic and modern décor creating a tranquil environment, guests can enjoy a menu filled with a selection of dishes with international touches, such as the lobster salad with Thai mayonnaise; the black cod caramelised in miso and served with jasmine rice; or the tajine cod with charmoula spices, all accompanied by local desserts and wines. Whether indoors or outdoors, or in a private dining area, this is a place where guests can enjoy a meal in an elegant space by the light of the fire. Bô-Zin guests can also enjoy every meal with live music directed by Bô-Zin’s in-house DJ.
Café Clock has two different locations, one in Fez and the other in Marrakech. The contemporary location of Marrakech’s Café Clock offers a casual atmosphere with its terrace, where guests can enjoy a rich breakfast combination of either scrambled eggs with roasted tomato or pancakes with caramelised banana. Café Clock has main lunch and dinner courses, such as toasted couscous bouhaloo or the exquisite specialty camel burger, along with local desserts and mint tea. Apart from its unique menu, the venue also hosts special programming during the week for its guests, such as the Wednesday music jams, Thursday traditional Moroccan storytellers, and a variety of other cultural events.
Café Clock, Derb Chtouka +1 212 5243 78367
Offering an elegant Moroccan atmosphere where guests are welcomed by traditional Moroccan musicians, Comptoir Darna was founded by Marcel Chiche and aims to create a magical place where the riches of Marrakech meet. A popular place among high-profile celebrities, businessmen and professionals, guests here delight in a charming lunch or dinner, together with an entertaining bellydance performance. Comptoir Darna’s authentic Moroccan menu consists of a variety of traditional tajines such as the tajine of kefta, berber or the famous mechoui. Also available are famous Moroccan couscous recipes, such as the royal couscous or the couscous tfaya with chicken, along with local and international desserts.
Comptoir Darna, Avenue Echouhada +1 212 5244 37702
Dar El Salam
Meaning ‘the house of peace’, and founded in the 17th century, Dar El Salam is the oldest lounge in Marrakech, and houses classic and lavish Moroccan décor that has attracted visitors from every corner of the globe. It was in Dar El Salam that the famous Alfred Hitchcock film ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ was filmed in 1956. When it comes to the menu, Dar El Salam offers its guests the ultimate authentic Moroccan traditional cuisine, with specialties such as tajines, couscous and the Moroccan version of seafood pastilla, as well as the unique accompaniment of Marrakech pastries. As guests enjoy their meal, Dar El Salma also features cultural shows, where dancers perform live Moroccan dance.
Dar El Salam, 170 Riad Zitoun Kedim +1 212 5244 4352
Referred to as the jewel of Medina, Gastro MK is located in the luxurious Maison MK Hotel and Spa. Gastro MK offers the finest of French and Moroccan culinary fusion via a menu created by Head Chef Omar El Ouahssoussi, and allows guests the choice of five-course meals, along with Moroccan afternoon tea. The restaurant also serves French pastries and snacks around the clock. For a more private and intimate experience, Gastro MK offers an exclusive and special ‘Jamie does Marrakech’ menu program, where participates can experience authentic local market shopping, then witness the making of a feast, and savour it as a two-course traditional Moroccan meal.
Gastro MK at Maison MK, 14 Derb Lafkih Sbaai, Quartier LUKsour +1 212 5243 76173
With its open terrace overlooking the old Medina and the historical Saadian Tombs site, Kasbah Café and Restaurant is a unique place, dedicated to offering its guests a taste of both the global and local culinary experience. The Andalusian art and décor is a highlight of the experience. Kasbah Café is open at any given time of the day and is the place for guests to enjoy the company of family and friends while taking a moment to sit for a quick lunch or a casual dinner. Guests have the option to choose from the international menu, the daily Moroccan special, or the vegetarian and vegan menu. Kasbah Café thoughtfully caters to its guests by providing menu selections in four languages.
Kasbah Café and Restaurant, N’ 47 Boutouli, Kasbah +1 212 5243 82625
Bringing French cuisine to the heart of the medina, Le Jardin blends the elegance of French food with Moroccan cuisine. Located in a 17th century abandoned building across the street from the Riad Laarous and Dar el Bacha, it was designed by Anne Favrie and Kamal Laftimi, who mixed 1960s décor with traditional Moroccan designs. The mixture of these two styles creates a remarkable cultural oasis. Le Jardin offers a relaxing environment, and a menu where guests can choose between a traditional French or Moroccan meal, accompanied by either a French espresso or the famous Moroccan mint tea. All of this, as well as charming black and white films, make Le Jardin the place to be.
Le Jardin, 32, Souk El Jeld, Sidi Abdelaziz +1 212 5243 78295
At Pepe Nero, Chef Khalid Robazza Essafa is dedicated to bringing the best of Italian-Moroccan cuisine to Marrakech residents. The atmosphere within Pene Nero is formal, and guests can experience not only the lavish and classic ancient Marrakech décor, but also the signature Pepe Nero Le Ville Rough menu. The Italian section, created by Chef Essafa, offers guests recipes such as linguine della casa del pescatore or risotto carnaroli allo zafferano, while the Moroccan part of the menu is a curated collection of Moroccan recipes such as the mechoui d’agneau or the tajine d’agneau makfoul, both fantastic examples of lamb-based dishes. Pepe Nero also boasts a list of delectable quality imported Italian and locally produced Moroccan wines.