We didn't really love any of the places we ate at in Marrakech. We found it difficult to access any truly local food options. Sure, there's street food in the square but even that felt touristic in nature. We generally try to have a good balance between restaurants and street food when we visit a place, but restaurants won the day here in Marrakech. They were all fine, though none of them left us feeling super excited about what we just consumed. Nonetheless, there were a few standouts of both street food and restaurants we can recommend.
1. Evening Street Food Tour with Marrakech Food Tours
We previously wrote about how much we enjoyed our food tour with Marrakech Food Tours but I wanted to highlight it again here. I think we might have felt differently about the food here in Marrakech had we done this tour early in our stay. This provided us with some good insight into local food culture and some places locals go that we just didn't find.
2. Pomegranate Juice guy
Each morning this young guy would set up his cart right outside Bliss Riad and spend the entire day until about 8pm squeezing pomegranates for juice. You can get it to go in a plastic cup or to stay in a glass one. This was by far the best pomegranate juice we had and we were fortunate to have him right outside our door. Oh and the cost was about $2.
3. Bakchich Cafe
You will likely only see tourists in this little cafe in a side street off the main square. We came here twice for lunch and were not disappointed. We had salads both times so cannot speak to the quality of the "Moroccan" food, but can say the salads were really balanced and refreshing. They also had a nice selection of juices on offer. The cafe is small but we had no problems with being seated either time. We also thought the food was a good value for the price.
4. Egg Sandwich guy
So, there's a souk underneath the restaurant Terrasse des Epices and in this souk comes a man who makes egg sandwiches from a cart. Now, we had seen these sandwiches being made in several locations across Marrakech but as we watched this guy make his version for a crowd of locals that gathered around as soon as he entered the souk, we knew this was going to be at least a part of our dinner that night. The sandwich consists of the local round bread stuffed with one hard boiled egg, one roughly cut potato, some cheese if you like (it's the laughing cow cheese which I do not like), and several sauces. I think it was the sauces that set this guy apart from the rest. This is a really satisfying meal for one or just a tasty snack for two. You can have tea as well all for about $2.
5. Terrasse des Epices
This is a beautiful somewhat hip restaurant in the medina. Again, it's going to be mostly full of tourists and isn't offering the most authentic food. We shared some really nice Moroccan salads and a veggie couscous which was also nice. The fruit juices were really refreshing and they offer alcohol if you so desire. You wouldn't necessarily know you are on a rooftop in Marrakech, until the call to prayer brings you back. We thought they were a little expensive for their offer, but still not US or European pricing.
6. Le Jardin
Another beautiful and relaxing spot where you can while away some time just sitting in the garden. I believe these are the same owners as Terrasses and Cafe des Epices and the menu reflects those similarities. We both had a nice lunch though enjoyed the garden a bit more than the food itself. There was also a tortoise wandering around so that helped the atmosphere too. Be sure to check out the modern caftan shop upstairs - Norya Ayron - as there's a nice selection of updated caftans on offer.
7. Restaurant NAIMA
This is a couscous place that has only a few tables available. It's the least atmospheric place we ate at in Marrakech though the woman behind the counter's smile makes up for the lack of ambiance. We felt like we had walked in to someone's house and watched as she poured the requisite mint tea, provided some dips with bread and then set to work on the couscous. We ordered vegetarian but somehow she got it in her head that we wanted chicken and that we wanted two portions of everything. It was all fine though she realized her mistake and just kept apologizing and lighting smacking her forehead in disbelief at her error. We didn't correct her and were totally fine paying the $20 for tea, starter, couscous and fruit for two.
8. Roti D'Or
We thought this place might be a nice break from Moroccan food and we were right. They offer wraps (which they call burritos) and some other snackish sandwichy items that are a nice change from couscous and tagine. Zac ordered the chicken roti and while we were both expecting a lovely roti wrap type thing, that was not what he got. He did get some really flavorful juicy chicken but served with a strange bread. I ordered the falafel plate, which was delicious though sat like a bomb in my belly. Both dishes came with fries and this orange sauce which was amazing. It's also super cheap. But do yourselves a favor and skip the "mojito". It's just not worth consuming electric blue beverages.
Naranj bills itself as a Lebanese restaurant though I'm not quite sure about the distinction. At any rate it's a beautiful, air conditioned space that also includes a terrace. We were here for lunch and pretty much had he place to ourselves. The meze salad platter was amazing and they were kind enough to fulfill my request of adding a few falafel to the offering. We really enjoyed the spice and taste of everything on the plate and left feeling very satisfied. It's a little more expensive than some of the other places we ate at, but not so much that it was off putting.
10. Atay Cafe Food
This was the very first place we ate upon arriving in Marrakech. We checked into our riad and headed straight for lunch. It was a blazing hot and sunny day and we headed up to the mostly shaded rooftop. Neither of us were very hungry so we just ordered some salads and fruit juice. I remember Zac loving his avocado and date smoothie and I enjoyed my lemonade. However, I was a but perplexed and put off by my salad. It was really just a plate full of oranges sprinkled with the tiniest amount of grated cabbage and some avocado. I think I just made a bad choice and didn't get what it was I was interested in. No fault of the place. I think the prices were fair for what we got, but in retrospect I felt like it was maybe a bit too expensive.