Where to eat on Marrakech holidays

Thursday, 23 February 2012 4:24 PM

Sample the sights, smells and tastes of Marrakech

Sample the sights, smells and tastes of Marrakech

There are many highlights of Morocco holidays, especially if you plan to head to Marrakech for a getaway. The former imperial city is one of the largest in the country and is a cosmopolitan spot combining elements of old and new, as well as a wealth of cultural experiences and tastes.

If you want to sample the local cuisine you'll find a great many restaurants to call in at, but it can be difficult to know which are the best eateries to visit. For a truly authentic Moroccan dish, it pays to know where to go, so read on.

Once you've arrived in the city, you can admire the lovely old warm-coloured buildings and smell the fragrant spices that fill the air around the marketplace as you make your way to your chosen Marrakech accommodation.

After getting established at your base for the stay, you're likely to realise you're in need of sustenance, so head out into the city to find somewhere to grab a bite.

There are plenty of places to choose from, whether you want to eat in the fortified old town or in the more modern part of the city.

Take a look round the UNESCO-listed Jemaa el Fna square and just behind here you'll find Chez Chegrouni, a restaurant worth heading to for rustic Moroccan fare. There's no need to book here and you can take a seat downstairs at the terrace or on the first floor, from where you can admire the views over the bustling square.

Dishes are ordered by writing choices on a paper napkin and you can sample some tasty couscous or harira soup, which is a sort of lamb and prune tagine.

Meanwhile, for an authentic meal with few tourists, take a taxi ride a few minutes outside the Medina to Libzar restaurant, which is neutrally decorated and has a laidback vibe. Here you can enjoy mezze appetisers and briouates, tagines of fish, chicken or lamb and an array of desserts all in front of a roaring open fire.

For a mid-priced meal at a renowned establishment, journey to the restaurant of Al Fassia in Gueliz. Run entirely by women, the eatery serves up dishes like pigeon bstilla and mechoui - leg of lamb. You can be seated formally or lounge on a cushion-strewn banquette if you'd prefer.

If you can afford to splash the cash and want to experience some fine dining during your villa holiday in Morocco you should visit the renowned eatery, Crystal. Owned by the Michelin-starred Pourcel twin chefs, the establishment boasts a grand dining room and exceptional dishes, many of which are very inventive. On the menu you'll find choices like pasta and snails, as well as ravioli served with prawns and spinach. Attached to the restaurant is the Pacha nightclub, which you can visit and dance until dawn.

Another great spot to stop at during your break is the Literary Cafe, which you'll find in the oldest house in the Medina. You can admire the artworks here or attend an evening concert while sampling some tasty Moroccan pastries and sipping mint tea.

To add a little more luxury to your stay, it's a great idea to undergo some Hamman treatments while in Marrakech. These usually involve passing through a series of heated rooms to open your pores before being cleansed and massaged. The two-hour session often ends with a rose petal bath or a stone treatment, leaving you fully restored and ready to explore.