Marrakesh's culinary scene has improved considerably with a flurry of new restaurants opening in both the medina and Ville Nouvelle. That said, as traditionally Marrakshis don't eat out often, most medina restaurants are aimed squarely at the tourist market and meals can be hit-and-miss. In middle-class Gueliz, there's more of a local dining vibe with both Moroccan and international restaurants.
The street-food scene is thriving in Marrakesh, so don't be afraid to jump on in. Hard-working souq workers with no time for a long lazy lunch head to a snak (kiosk) to feast on peppery merguez (spicy sausage), teyhan (stuffed spleen) and brochettes (kebabs). Join the queue at the one thronged with locals for the freshest, tastiest food.
At lunch time in the Ville Nouvelle, local office workers head to the string of restaurants along Rue Mohammed Bakkal for barbecued meats, caramelised tajines and offal.
The dadas (chefs) who work in the medina's riads are the unsung heroes of Marrakesh's culinary scene. Many riads open up their courtyard or rooftop restaurant to nonguests so you can sample different dadas' takes on Moroccan specialities. In nearly all cases, you have to book ahead because of both limited seating and so the dadas can plan the menu in advance.
Street Food Smarts
Enjoy street food and stay healthy with the following tips:
- Make a beeline for busy stores Marrakshis are sticklers for freshness and know which places consistently deliver.
- Look over the ingredients Check the food on display, especially if ordering meat or seafood.
- Clean your hands before eating Much of what we call ‘food poisoning’ is actually illness caused by bacteria transferred from hand to mouth while eating.
- Use bread to scoop up food This is how Moroccans eat, and it makes sense. Utensils are usually only briefly rinsed in cold water so not your best bet hygiene-wise.