Food Trips, Journeys

Food Tour in Morocco: Tested Restaurants & Traditional Moroccan Dishes (Part II)

Food Tour in Morocco

Moroccan food culture is amazing and it has so many influences that it deserves a bit more attention on this blog.

In this second part of my food tour in Morocco, I’ll take you on a more practical journey, one beyond eating habits, and into my food experiences in Morocco.

I’ll also share the top traditional food you need to try in Morocco, but also some tested restaurants in Fes, Chefchaouen, Rabat, and Marrakech.

Let’s dig in!


Top Traditional Food to Try in Morocco (20)

Bread and pancakes, tagines, couscous, mint tea and orange juice are the staples of Moroccan cuisine, and so widespread that you can’t miss them. But if you want a little cultural background about their meaning, check my first post about Moroccan food.

But Moroccan food is not only about these famous dishes, but also about delicious salads like Zaalouk, interesting appetizers such as beef bone marrow with spices, and savory sweets like Halwa Chebakia.

Traditional Food & Beverages to try in Morocco

*17 tested, 4 saved for my next trip

  1. Chicken, Chickpeas, Sauté Onions and Raisins Tajine / Tagine
  2. Lamb Tanjia / Tangia
  3. Kefta Tajine / Tagine
  4. Chicken Tajine with olives and lemon sauce
  5. Moroccan bread varieties: batbout, mahrash/khobz/msemen
  6. Moroccan pancakes: beghrir, rghaif
  7. Harira – chickpeas soup
  8. Spicy Olives
  9. Moroccan Couscous
  10. Moroccan Crème Brûlée
  11. Halwa Chebakia – sweets served during Ramadan
  12. Zaalouk Aubergines – Moroccan eggplant salad with tomatoes
  13. Moroccan oven baked beets salad with almond flakes and lemon juice
  14. Beef bone marrow with parsley, spices, red onions, capers
  15. Orange Juice
  16. Moroccan Mint Tea
  17. Courgettes with eggs – zucchini & eggs salad 

4 Moroccan dishes we didn’t have time to find, but would have loved to try in our food tour:

  1. B’stilla – Moroccan Pigeon Pie
  2. B’ssara – Moroccan Fava Bean Soup
  3. Fish chermoula – Moroccan Marinade for Fish
  4. Camel Burger 

Tested Restaurants in Chefchaouen, Fes, Rabat & Marrakech

Our food tour started in Fes, then continued to Chefchaouen, Rabat and Marrakech. In Casablanca, another destination on our road trip, we didn’t have enough time to visit the city properly and experience the food scene, with the exception of wandering a bit in one of their food souks.


Where to eat in Chefchaouen + 3 Moroccan dishes

We had lunch with a view at Casa Aladin in Chefchaouen and got the chance to taste the famous Harira soup based on chickpeas, but also two traditional tagines – the kefta / meatballs tagine and the chicken & couscous tagine.

– Kefta Tajine – beef meatballs tajines with tomato sauce and eggs
– Chicken Tajine with chickpeas, raisins and sauté onions
– Harira – Moroccan chickpeas soup

I found the restaurant’s versions of tagines pretty good, even if the waiting time was a bit longer than expected.  If you go pretty early, around 13.30, chances are you’ll find a table at the top floor terrace, with a view over Chefchaouen – The Blue Peal.

If not, expect to find it almost full, usually, the guided tours bring people here, and they get the best seats.

Sweet-Chicken-Tajine-with-chickpeas---Chefchaouen

Chicken, Couscous, Chickpeas Tagine


Traditional dishes we tasted in Fes

Spending two nights in Fes but only one day wasn’t enough to properly explore the food scene here. But Fes is so traditional that it was impossible to miss tasting traditional Moroccan salads and tagines, but also some sweets in the main food sook of the oldest medina in Morocco.

Food Souk in Fes Medina

Halwa Chebakia, like most Moroccan food, has a meaning and a special time for serving.  It’s a sesame cookie and one of the main sweets served during Ramadan. People eat it during early mornings (before sunrise), in order to have enough energy for a day of fasting.

We’ve tried it in Fes Medina, at one of the many shops in the food souk, at our guide’s indication. In Fes Medina, you need a guide because the maze of streets here looks so similar that you might spend a day walking in circles without reaching your destination.

Halwa-Chebakia---sesame-cookie-ramadan

Halwa Chebakia

Riad Fes Baraka

Samir, our host at Riad Fes Baraka, first introduced us to the Moroccan mint tea ritual, as you can only experience in the north. They’re very keen on tradition, even more so than their peers in the south.

Spending a little time in Fes, we asked our host to prepare some traditional Moroccan food for dinner. We got an even better kefta tagine than in Chefchaouen, but also the chance to discover a couple of wonderful salads (vegetarians will be delighted!).

– Kefta Tajine with beef meatballs & roasted potatoes
– Beetroot salad with lemon juice and sweet almonds & spicy green olives & Moroccan salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, similar to the Greek one)
Moroccan Breakfast: bread – batbout, mahrash/khobz/msemen, pancakes – beghrir, rghaif, orange juice


As I write this, I have some beets roasting in the oven because I’m hoping to replicate this wonderful Moroccan salad with sweet almond flakes, beetroot, and lemon juice. Found a recipe online, but it doesn’t quite match the one I had in Fes, so I’m just going to improvise a bit.

Beghrir and Rghaif – Moroccan Pancakes at Riad Fes Baraka


Moroccan Food Experiences in Rabat

Spending a day in Rabat was an eye-opening experience, especially when it comes to food shopping and cultural experiences.

That’s because the souk of Rabat Medina is not the place for the faint-hearted.

Unlike other Moroccan Medinas, where you have the souk organized in certain corners, the one in Rabat is one big market, where we got lost at times on our way out.

The smell is impossible to describe, but let’s just say it’s beyond filthy. Day in and day out, fish is being peeled right on the sidewalk, making it hard to breathe and keep your cool.

People in Rabat Medina are far from friendly, and men of all ages will look at women sideways, even when accompanied by a man and properly dressed.

I didn’t dare to taste something here, not even a fruit, and I recommend you to do the same. Still, it’s a good place to experience the raw side of the city as well as Moroccan shopping habits.

Riad Dar Soufa in Rabat – The best Moroccan breakfast of our trip!

Besides the traditional bread and Moroccan pancakes – batbout, khobz, beghrir, rghaif and orange juice, Riad Dar Soufa went the extra mile and brought us a variety of fruits, but also the best sweet bread I’ve ever had.

Beghrir-and-Rghaif---Moroccan-Pancakes-at-Riad-Dar-Soufa-Rabat

Behrir and Rghaif at Riad Dar Soufa in Rabat

Eating on a boat in Rabat – Le Dhow Restaurant

Le Dhow is a wooden ship set on the shores of Bouregreg in Rabat, but also an emblematic place in Morocco’s capital.

It’s an international restaurant, serving dishes like beef with mushroom sauce, but also local produce like pageot, a fresh white fish, probably caught at a walking distance from the ship. These were our dish choices and they were pretty good. Not so sure about the soft balance of the boat since we felt a bit dizzy on our way back to Riad Dar Soufa. 🙂

– Pageot, a local white fish 
– Beef with mushrooms sauce

Le Dhow looks like a fairy-tale boat and that’s because it’s a replica of an old vessel that has been custom made in India and now serves as a meeting lounge for expats and as a restaurant for tourists. It’s the only place we found in Rabat where you can have a beer. I’ve also noticed it’s a favorite photo spot for locals.

Le-Dhow-Restaurant-in-Rabat,-Morocco

Le Dhow – Rabat


Food Experiences in Marrakech – Moroccan dishes & good restaurants

Marrakech is famous for its food souk in Jemaa El’Fna, where you can truly explore the Moroccan food culture, but it’s also a place with great restaurants and riads, where you can enjoy fabulous meals.

Looking for a complete Moroccan food experience, we didn’t try too many things in Jemaa El’Fna but went for a few hip restaurants.

Nomad Restaurant Marrakech

Nomad seems a meeting place for bohemian travelers, and we found it bathing in the sweet afternoon light and packed with people from around the world, mostly French and Spanish.

They have this delicious appetizer – beef bone marrow seasoned with red onions, capers, parsley, spices – salt, pepper, and cumin. I wanted to know what kind of seasoning goes with it so I could try it at home, and that’s because my mother used to serve it from time to time (salt only). It was good, but I think the secret really lies in proper seasoning.

After 5 days in Morocco, I felt the need to escape the Moroccan tagines, so I went for a savory fresh squid dish that turned out to be amazing. Vlad chose a chicken tagine, but it was very different from the traditional ones we tasted before.

– Squid with tomato sauce 
– Beef bone marrow with parsley, spices, red onion & capers
– Chicken Tagine with tomato sauce

This restaurant was pretty good, had a great atmosphere, but it’s here we found out that food is more expensive in the south – Marrakech.


Riad Melhoun & Spa Marrakech

We spent half of our Moroccan trip here, so we also had a meal that turned out to be fantastic – The Tangia!

Mohamed, our great host, spend some time preparing a lamb tangia for us in a hammam close by. The tangia is the masculine version of tagine, it’s prepared by men, and it’s a slow food that needs to cook for 4 to 6 hours in the charcoal used to heat a hammam.

We wanted to do it ourselves, but there was this fear of not knowing where to buy the meat that kept us from preparing it ourselves. Still, we went to pick it up from the hammam, and it was a lovely experience.

The nice people at Riad Melhoun & Spa set a great table for us, rose petals and all, and served our lamb tangia after a beautiful introduction to other delicious Moroccan salads. My favorite was the eggplant salad called Zaalouk, another dish I want to make at home.

Mohamed also shared some tips about making the perfect turkey tagine, so I’ll give that a try soon.

Riad Melhoun & Spa Marrakech

  • Lamb Tangia
  • Zaalouk aubergine
  • Courgettes with eggs
  • Moroccan breakfast

The food experience at Riad Melhoun & Spa was amazing, so I hope I’ll try it again.

Batbout-and-Moroccan-pancakes-at-Riad-Melhoun-and-Spa-Marrakech

Batbout and Moroccan pancakes at Riad Melhoun&Spa Marrakech


Un déjeuner à Marrakech

It’s one of the hip restaurants of Marrakech; it has a great terrace and decent food. I loved the lemon tart /tarte au citron here but passed on the chicken couscous because it was too sweet and lacked the right amount of seasoning. Vlad enjoyed his tagine, so I have mixed feelings about this restaurant in Marrakech.

Un déjeuner à Marrakech – tarte au citron

Tarte-au-Citron---lemon-tart---Un-dejeuner-a-Marrakech

Tarte au Citron

Moroccan Macaroons

While walking in the beautiful park leading to Koutoubia Mosque, an old man approached us with Moroccan Macaroons as he called the tiny cookies. It was a torrid day, and we needed an energy boost, so we got trapped into paying more for them than we would have in any souk of Marrakech.

These cookies are pretty good, although too sweet for my taste, so you might want to try something similar in the souks. No pic here, we were too numbed by the heat.


Kawa, a lovely restaurant near Le Jardin Majorelle

Kawa restaurant is right across from Le Jardin Majorelle, and even if it seems like a tourist trap, it serves amazing food.

Moroccans really know how to cook a great meal, so when traveling in Marrakech or Morocco, just taste everything you can – it will be good.

One of the best tagines I’ve had in Morocco was the one with green olives and lemon sauce at Kawa, so when you visit Le Jardin Majorelle, it’s worth tasting it. Vlad was tired of all the tagines and went for a burger with oriental seasoning and sauce. Both dishes were great, the staff very nice, so this is a place you can put on your food itinerary in Marrakech.

– Burger à Orientale 
– Chicken Tajine w Green olives & Lemon sauce

Chicken-and-Olives-Tagine-with-Lemon-Sauce---Marrakech

Chicken and Olives Tagine with Lemon Sauce

Burger-Orientale-at-Kawa,-Marrakech

Burger – Kawa

Hoped you enjoyed this second part of my Food Tour in Morocco!


Road Trip in Morocco: MarrakechFezChefchaouen, Rabat, Casablanca, Imlil – the Atlas Mountains, Rif Mountains | October 2017 | All Photography ©Ana Matei >Instagram: @MateiAna


Read Next: Insights on Moroccan Cuisine >

Ana
Last updated: July 11, 2018
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