Marrakech's culinary specialities

Generous, tasty and a tad spicy, Moroccan cuisine is certainly one of the most famous in the world. It stems from the country's multicultural heritage, and has stood the test of time without losing its reputation. Whether it's diversity, tradition, celebrations or everyday meals, the recipes can be adapted to suit any trend. It makes us salivate, dream and sometimes surprise us. We discover sweet and savoury combinations that we'd never have imagined together. The range of dishes is so extensive that it's almost impossible to try everything in a single stay in Marrakech, so you'll want to come back and try something new. The couscous and its semolina prepared by hand by the dada (mother figure), the tajine of keftas with eggs or the sweet pastry in the shape of a horn that bears its name, everything is tasty and the most difficult thing is to choose from all these temptations. We invite you to (re)discover typical Moroccan dishes and some of the specialities of Marrakech.

Traditional chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemons, Marrakech, Morocco.

- © Tatiana Bralnina / Shutterstock

Traditional savoury recipes (that we can't get enough of)

Couscous

Couscous is certainly one of Morocco's most emblematic dishes. Since 2020, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traditionally, this dish is served on Friday lunchtimes after prayers, but in practice it is eaten every day of the week. Although the origin of this dish is still a matter of debate, it enjoyed its heyday in the Middle Ages. It is made from steamed wheat semolina, which varies in fineness according to taste, good sun-dried vegetables and a few pulses, as well as meat (beef or mutton). You'll find it in Marrakech restaurants, in all its forms: vegetarian couscous, chicken couscous and even fish couscous.

Different types of traditional couscous, Morocco.

- © Carmen Romero19 / Shutterstock

Many restaurants serve this traditional dish, which is very popular with tourists. We were able to try one prepared by the pretty restaurant La Terrasse des épices, nestling in the heart of the Medina and boasting a magnificent terrace overlooking the ochre city. The team is very welcoming and guides us through the choice of dishes on the menu.

Opening times: 12pm-2.30pm (lunch) / 6.30pm-9.30pm (dinner)

📍Address: 15, souk cherifia, sidi abdelaziz, Marrakech

Tajine

A second very popular dish, the tajine is a stew of meat or vegetables stewed for hours in a traditional earthenware dish. When the cone-shaped lid is lifted, delicious sweet and savoury smells emerge and make your mouth water. Like couscous, its origin is still a matter of debate, but it seems that the Berber people were the creators. There are an infinite number of recipes, to the delight of vegetarians and meat lovers alike. In short, there's something for everyone, and we're not going to deny it!

A tagine of meatballs, eggs and green olives, Morocco.

- © marco mayer / Shutterstock

You'll find one of the city's best tajines in a little Marrakchi alleyway, a small, unpretentious café converted into a restaurant and open to the street. The expression "Open sesame!" takes on its full meaning here. Once the large brown shutters are opened, a veritable palette of colours is revealed: pink, green and a few rattan chandeliers. It's a cosy little space that piques our curiosity. Welcome to La Cantine des Gazelles, a simple, no-frills restaurant serving great home-cooked food.

Opening times: 12pm-3.30pm (lunch) / 7pm-11pm (dinner)

📍Address: rue Biadine (200 m from Place Jemaa El-Fna), Marrakech

Tanjia marrakchia

As its name suggests, this is a typical speciality of the imperial city. It is a dish prepared with shank, lemon and spices. The dish is said to have been invented by workers who, having no time to return home to eat, took some of the ingredients available nearby and left them to cook in a jar in the nearby hammam until the next day. All the ingredients are cooked in a terracotta pot.

The typical dish of Marrakech, Tanjia Marrakchia.

- © Maleo Photography / Shutterstock

Located not far from the Bahia Palace, Tanjia Oriental is a restaurant serving traditional dishes in a typically Moroccan setting. Spread over 3 floors, its refined decor reflects the warm and mysterious atmosphere of the Orient. The place is decorated in dark wood with a few touches of vegetation and subdued lighting. A typically chic Oriental setting.

Opening times : 12h-1h (continuous service)

📍Address: Place des Ferblantiers, Marrakech

Oriental pastries, heaven in your mouth!

The gazelle horn

One of the city's most popular pastries. Its name 'Gazelle' recalls the name given by Marrakchis to female travellers who come to visit the city. For them, the gazelle represents elegance, so this allusion is more of a compliment. This delicacy is made from a thin shortcrust pastry and filled with orange blossom-flavoured marzipan. Totally irresistible!

Moroccan gazelle horns.

- © Moha El-Jaw / Shutterstock

The Gato patisserie, located in the dynamic and progressive Guéliz district, makes classic Moroccan pastries and patisseries on request. A gourmet getaway to discover traditional sweet specialities, a fresh juice and even brunch.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 7.30pm

📍 Address: rue Hassania, Gueliz, Marrakech (a stone's throw from the Chifa clinic)

Chebakia

This is a sweet speciality that is very popular in Morocco, especially during Ramadan. Gorged with honey, this pastry is made with honey, sesame seeds and other spices. The pastry is made from wheat flour, eggs and orange blossom, which is then fried in vegetable oil.

Chebakias in a Moroccan dish.

- © Moha El-Jaw / Shutterstock

Sun-drenched garden treasures

Oranges

An essential ingredient in Moroccan cuisine, this fruit is eaten in a variety of ways. It is particularly popular in sweet salads served at the end of meals. Finely sliced oranges are flavoured with honey, cinnamon, orange blossom and... mint! A refreshing and delicious dessert. This fruit is also drunk as fresh juice, served on the Place Jemaa-el-Fna.

Orange juice stall in Jemaa-el-Fna square, Marrakech, Morocco.

- © cornfield / Shutterstock

Dates

Morocco is the birthplace of this delicious fruit, which is particularly popular during fasting. Dates are a healthy cocktail of vitamins and minerals. They can be eaten on their own or incorporated into hot dishes and even desserts such as makrouts filled with date paste. Our favourites!

Dates and mint tea, Morocco.

- © Vladlena Azima / Shutterstock

Mint tea

It's hard to talk about Moroccan specialities without mentioning the famous mint tea. This traditional drink is drunk both at the end of a meal, to help wash down the delicious, hearty dishes, and as a welcome drink. It is generally the head of the family who prepares the drink made from tea, sugar and mint, which is vigorously mixed between two containers before being served in small glasses.

Mint tea served in Moroccan glasses.

- © thanosquest / Shutterstock

Café Arabe is a skilful blend of Moroccan tradition and contemporary influences from around the world. The place is cosy, refined and offers visitors all the pleasures of Morocco. The restaurant serves delicious mint tea indoors, in the courtyard or on the terrace.

Opening hours : 12h-00h (continuous service)

📍Address: 184 rue Mouassine, Marrakech

Where to stay in Marrakech?

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