The combination of age old North African culture and a thriving contemporary art scene make Morocco a fascinating country to visit. This duality between old and new prevails within the country’s fine dining landscape, in which chefs and restaurateurs pay homage to Morocco’s cultural roots while attempting to recreate its culinary culture in new and exciting ways.
Here are some top restaurants in Morocco:
Le Restaurant at La Maison Arabe
Winking lanterns and Marrakech’s finest Arabic classical musicians set the mood, but it’s the menu that really makes you fall in love here. Heartwarming traditional specialties like Berber cuisine with pumpkin are slow-cooked to caramelised perfection, and inspired inventions like saffron-infused lamb with orange will rekindle your romance with tagines after skimpy souk versions. Come back tomorrow to learn the secrets of the dada (chef), followed by an in-house hammam laced with herbs and spices.
Hidden away down a secluded Medina alleyway, Le Jardin brings a touch of French elegance and refinement to the bustle of the Marrakech old town. It is an oasis of peace within the chaotic world of the Medina, and allows diners to experience the palatial charm of ancient Marrakech in peace and quiet. Located in a 17th-century mansion, Le Jardin is built around a large central courtyard and features a beautiful combination of traditional Moroccan design and retro 1960s décor. It was started by Kamal Laftimi and interior designer Anne Favier, who discovered the house in ruins and rebuilt it to suit their very distinctive tastes. They now describe it as a ‘place of culture’ in which guests can relax, enjoy film screenings and other special events, and feast on the extensive menu of Moroccan classics and organic dishes.
Set within an atmospheric riad, Dar Moha is one of the best places in town to experience ‘new Moroccan cuisine’, a reinvention of classical gastronomy in which the core flavors of Moroccan cooking are interweaved with innovative techniques and cooking styles. The restaurant is run by Mohamed Fedal, who transformed the beautiful riad into an idyllic dining space in which guests are seated around the pool of the patio area. Dishes such as pastilla lobster coriander juice, cockerel with olives and preserved lemon or chakhchoukha (wafer crumbs) with apple sauce are absorbing takes on the flavors of the Moroccan home, and are as comforting as they are astonishing.
Clever Kamal Laftimi, one of Marrakech’s most creative entrepreneurs, has done it again with this modern Moroccan eatery and rooftop cocktail bar. The sleek sand-coloured sofas and black-and-white tiled tables feel more Scandi-chic than the usual blast of Moroccan colour. The menu, too, is fearlessly modern, featuring eclectic twists on classics such as calamari marinated in cumin served with a dash of spicy harissa or saffron-scented date cake with salted caramel ice-cream. It’s also the first place in the medina to take the business of crafting cocktails seriously with properly good cucumber martinis and delicious icy mojitos. Profits from the daily special go to a local charity.
Le Grand Café de la Poste
A 20th-century update of 1920s style, Le Grand Café de la Poste combines the sophistication of colonial era Morocco with contemporary trends. The décor is decidedly retro, with an emphasis on Art Deco styling and a relaxed ambience which conjures memories of the faded Francophone past. The food is similarly multifaceted, combining French techniques with Moroccan flavors to great effect, and bringing out the best in both traditions. The tender roast beef comes highly recommended, as do the grilled sardines and foie de veau persillé. The large terrace is often packed with pre party cocktail drinkers in the late afternoon, and has welcomed many a famous face to its luxurious surroundings.