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Nomad restaurant in Marrakech
Photograph: Nomad

The 12 best restaurants in Marrakech

From gourmet fine dining to the city’s many bustling food stalls, these are the best restaurants in Marrakech. Eat well!

Paula Hardy
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Paula Hardy
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Marrakech is all about flavours. The Moroccan marvel is a city that floods the senses, an explosion of sights, smells and sounds that leave a marvellous impression. Eating often and eating well is part of the rhythm of life here, and visitors will find themselves swept up in wave after delicious wave of gorgeous food. The best restaurants in Marrakech are to be savoured.

After all, eating is one of the best things to do here. The buzz of the restaurants is compelling, making them among the finest attractions in a city full of the things. Less formal eaters will find plenty to excite, with food stalls around every corner serving everything from sugared doughnuts to stewed snails. Hungry in Marrakech? You’re in for a treat.

Best restaurants in Marrakech

The hottest spot in Gueliz right now is Cassandra Karinsky’s bright, modern Medi-Moroccan fusion restaurant +61. The chefs put ingredients sourced from the organic market down the road front and centre. The results are simple but punchy. And very moreish. Don’t miss the homemade ricotta with roasted red peppers, the spinach and wild herb tart or the fish of the day with celeriac and artichokes.

Price: Mid-range

The menu at James Wix’s retro Moroccan restaurant draws straight from grandma’s cookbook. Here you can sample traditional specialities such as berkoukesh (handmade pasta with a herb and tomato sauce), tride (shredded pancakes with lentils, chicken and saffron) and tihane (offal stuffed with spiced kefta, olives and lemons). Not so old is the contemporary, orientalist décor and the fabulous cocktails, best enjoyed on the roof terrace.

Price: High-end

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Probably the medina’s buzziest dining venue, Nomad’s towering rooftop is in constant high demand, so reserve ahead if you want to be sure of a seat at sunset. The décor is playful and stylish, with colourful woollen cushions and carpets nodding to the building’s previous life as a carpet shop. The menu has a Medi-Moroccan slant, with highlights including the likes of cumin-slathered calamari from Agadir, organic chicken marinated in sweet harissa and crunchy cauliflower and fennel salad.

Price: Mid-range

Likely the best home-cooked meal you’ll eat in Marrakech is served at the Amal Centre, a social cooperative that supports and trains disadvantaged women. The food includes unusual salads with lentils, cauliflower and leeks, a truly excellent fish tagine and a traditional Friday couscous. Prices are low, and there are crèche facilities, meaning the dining room is a happy mix of locals and savvy travellers.

Price: Bargain

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This smart Lebanese restaurant is done out in khamsa (hand-shaped amulets), stripy textiles and hand-cut lanterns and wouldn’t look out of place in downtown Beirut. The owners emigrated here by way of Vienna and consider it a matter of pride to showcase the best Lebanese cooking has to offer. The kibbeh and chicken salad are excellent, as is the fatet batinjan (aubergine covered in spicy mincemeat, yoghurt and pita chips). A decent selection of mezze and salads makes this a good option for vegetarians. Portions are large, so consider sharing.

Price: Mid-range

If you’re after a glimpse of the Marrakchi glitterati, book in for the lunch buffet or Sunday brunch at La Mamounia’s poolside Pavilion restaurant. Here the city’s great and good sit sipping glasses of gris (Moroccan rosé) and fanning themselves beneath parasols while other folks frolic in the pool. At 1,200Dh, it’s far from cheap, but the all-you-can-eat buffet includes a never-ending spread of salads, tagines, seafood, roast meats, dips, raw veg, savoury and sweet pastries, ice cream, fruit and dessert. Dress smart-casual, or you may be turned away at the gate.

Price: Blowout

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You’ll find this chic French bistro down a quiet street in Gueliz, the so-called ‘New Town’ built by the French in the ’20s. Le Petit Cornichon serves a reasonably priced three-course lunch menu featuring seasonal plates, while at dinner, there’s an à la carte menu of French classics, including steak with béarnaise sauce, fillet of bream in beurre blanc with courgettes and rack of lamb with green beans. From time to time, they also host set dinners with wine tastings – check their Facebook page for details.

Price: High-end

This fabulous traditional restaurant is set in a gorgeously decked-out riad deep in the north of the medina. It was one of the first addresses in these parts to offer a multi-course gastronomic Moroccan diffa (feast) for a set price and 20 years on it’s lost none of its shine. Take aperitifs on the panoramic roof terrace, then settle down for a waist-expanding meal in one of the lavishly decorated salons.

Price: High-end

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La Famille serves an inventive vegetarian menu in a shady medina garden. Take a seat at one of the lop-sided lemon-wood tables beneath the fronds of a banana tree and contemplate the dips, salads, flatbreads and quiches of the day. Everything here is light, fresh and rooted in classic local flavours. Take, for example, the couscous, served with sweet onions, mint, almonds and dried figs. The homemade desserts are also delicious and usually feature a seasonal fruit tart, while fresh juices and herb-infused water are served instead of alcohol.

Price: Bargain

Jemaa el-Fna stalls
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Jemaa el-Fna stalls

Easily the biggest, rowdiest, most popular restaurant in town, this epic open-air barbecue pops up each evening on the Jemaa el-Fna. From around 5 pm, 100 or so stallholders set up shop and cook up a gloriously pongy meat feast of kebabs, tagines, sheep’s brains and skewered hearts. Keep an eye out for clean grills and fresh meat, stick to bottled water and use your bread instead of rinsed utensils. Stall 34 specialises in spicy merguez sausages, while stall 31 does a mean fried potato cake. 

Price: Bargain

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Tucked away in the heart of the fabulous Bacha Palace is this fancy Belle Époque café with velvet tub chairs, chinoiserie wallpaper and giant potted palms. Although the main focus here is on the 200 varieties of single-origin coffee and a vitrine full of dainty Parisian patisserie (courtesy of the former pastry chef at the Mamounia), there’s also a decent bistro-style menu serving a mix of French and Moroccan dishes. Think savoury stuffed croissants, cinnamon-spiced chicken pastilla (a layered pastry pie) and barramundi fish tagine.

Price: Mid-range

For the most refined Moroccan food in all of Marrakech, head to this opulent restaurant at the Royal Mansour hotel. Set in its own lapis-floored riad, the dining room is richly decorated and manned by staff in elegant traditional attire. Everything on the menu is delicate and delicious, from the lobster seffa medfouna (vermicelli sweetened with raisins, almonds and cinnamon) to the mullet with chermoula (garlic, cumin and coriander marinade) to the lamb tagine with quince and orange blossom honey.

Price: Blowout

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