Marrakech is probably Morocco’s best known city. People flock here all year round to admire the ancient architecture and wander through the markets of its medina. Space is at a premium in this city, so many of its restaurants are perched on the tops of buildings or nestled in the courtyards of grand old riads. A visit to one of these feels like a blessed relief after a few hours’ walking in Marrakech’s perpetually bustling streets. Here, we list 10 of the best.
Bazaar Café sits on top of the straightforwardly named Riad Bazaar Café. The dining area is two thirds roof terrace, so from your table you’ll be able to see down into the pretty little courtyard around which the riad is arranged. Or, you could swivel 180 degrees and admire the skyline of Marrakech’s medina, the Koutoubia Mosque is visible to the south west. On the menu is a mix of Moroccan and Mediterranean fare. House specialities include lamb tagine and grilled sardines from nearby Essaouira, but there are plenty of options for vegetarians and even vegans.
Riad Bazaar Café, Rue Sidi el Yamani, Marrakech, Morocco, +212 5243-87283
The food at LATITUDE 31 really straddles the line between traditional and modern. All the dishes you would expect to be there are there, but each in a subtly jazzed up form. Take, for example, the chicken tagine with caramelized tomatoes, honey and thyme, or the beef fillet stuffed with nuts and drizzled with cep sauce. Sometimes, like on New Year’s Eve, there’ll be special one-off menus featuring creative, fine-dining-style delights, like mussels with saffron emulsion, scallops with lemongrass and vanilla, or foie gras with eggplant jam. The service is excellent and while there’s no view from its outdoor patio, the décor is superb: all palms trees and ornate tiles.
Situated in the courtyard of a recently restored riad, Le Jardin absolutely lives up to its name. Not only is it peaceful and full of trees and plants, it also has an abundance of fresh produce to offer. In the corner of the courtyard, fruits and vegetables are piled up in baskets like at a greengrocer’s. On the menu are the traditional tagines and stews, the lemon chicken tagine is particularly fine. It may sound clichéd, but when you’re sitting in Le Jardin it really is easy to forget you’re in the heart of a bustling medina.
Le Jardin, 32 Route Sidi, Marrakech, Morocco, +212 5243-78295
Tucked away down a relatively quiet but still architecturally grand side street of the medina, Roti D’or is a tiny pavement café with bags of personality. On the hand painted menu are towering burgers, well stuffed wraps and crispy French fries. Sound basic? Wait until you see the care and attention the chef puts into both the preparation of the food and the presentation. (Most of us have heard of latte art, but what about ketchup art?) With a hip vibe and smiley staff, this is a place visitors keep going back to.
Roti D’or, Rue Kennaria, Marrakech, Morocco, +212 627-131137