Practical tips for restaurants in your holiday in Marrakech

It is important to know that you should differentiate between two different types of restaurants in morocco: the typical Moroccan restaurants where there is no alcohol served and the restaurants where alcohol is served. The former are mainly visited by Moroccans, but this is not because there is no alcohol sold, but rather because of the affordable price. The Moroccans are allowed to buy and consume alcohol, just like the tourists, with the exception of Ramadhan and some other selected holidays. In Marrakech, the restaurants have to purchase a license for selling  alcohol, which is not cheap, and this is therfore reflected in the prices.

The restaurants in which alcohol is served, with some exceptions only in the evening, are usually decorated and furnished reflecting the Arabian greatness, and are not surpassed in their romanticism and illumination with their typical Arabic lamps. In some, Arab belly dancing is offered while enjoying a romantic dinner.

We definitely recommend, for a reasonable price, the Moroccan restaurants for lunch. If you spend your vacation in a holiday apartment, you can also cook at home in the evenings, and go to the Moroccan restaurants at noon, or vice-versa. Marrakech has a large selection of restaurants for all tastes. There is no lack of food, as you can find something delicious at every corner in the souk or on the traditional market.

Below is a list of restaurants, which we strongly recommend to visit. All of them open at night, and all the restaurants offer alcohol:

Hotel/Restaurant “Les Jardins de La Koutoubia”, 26 Rue de la Koutoubia, Marrakesch

This hotel, which has two wonderful restaurants, is not only great because of the food itself, but also because of the place itself. There are several Riads, which have been put together. In the middle there is an inner courtyard with various rooms on the side corridors with high ceiling and arches. The hotel has been tastefully decorated in an old Arabian style. It is an oasis for those who seek to have a relaxing pause in the centre of Marrakech, next to the square Djemaa el Fna. You can rest there perfectly after visiting the square and the souk, and have lunch outside near the swimming pool, or simply drink a tea or cocktail at the bar. The hotel has two restaurants, which you can visit in the evening: the Moroccan restaurants in the courtyard or the Indian restaurant on the rooftop terrace. For dinner we recommend the Moroccan restaurant. The prices are not at all overpriced, which are the same as in any other restaurant where alcohol is offered to tourists. If you do not want dinner, you can still have a rest in swinging chairs made of wood on the beautiful veranda of the bar and just drink a cocktail.

Restaurant Pepe Nero, 17, derb Cherkaoui, | Rue Douar Graoua, Marrakesch

Pepe Nero is our absolute favorite restaurant for a summer holiday in Marrakech. It’s not so easy to find as the hotel “les jardins de la koutoubia”, but at least it’s very well indicated with signs. The restaurant is located in between winding streets of the medina. The square Djema El Fnaa is quite far away by foot, but the walk is worth it. Once you find the restaurant “le Marrakchi”, behind the square Djema El Fnaa, you only have to follow the signs. The restaurant is an old riad with an Andalusian romantic courtyard with orange trees. The service is extremely sympathetic and professional, and the quality of the food is top-notch. In the summer there is a sort of “air conditioner”, which consists of fans with water. When it gets colder, gas heaters are turned on. You can take a taxi from or to home from the other side, however it will be a “Grand taxi” and therefore the ride will not be cheap. This restaurant is absolutely recommended for your trip to Marrakech.

Restaurant Al Fassia, 55 Boulevard Zerktouni | Guéliz, Marrakesch

If you like to sit comfortably and eat a lot,  Al Fassia is your place. Regular guests are greeted with kisses by the staff of the restaurant, which is run by women only. The food is delicious and the portions are huge. The sympathetic women pamper their guests like mum at home. It is one of our favorite restaurants for a indoor dinner in the autumn or winter, when you can’t sit outside in the evening no more. The decoration is tasteful and warm. You immediately feel comfortable. The restaurant is also easy to find because it’s located on the modern part of the city, in Gueliz. You should definitely make reservations beforehand because it is always full. Be careful though, there are two Al Fassia: check that it is in downtown Gueliz.

Bar/Restaurant Kosybar, 47, Place des Ferblantiers, Marrakesch

As the name implies, it is not just a restaurant, but also a bar. If you have eaten too much on vacation, and would like to take a break, you can just have a drink here. In the months from autumn to spring, a sympathetic singer from the U.S. with a deep voice sings on the ground floor and likes to make his jokes with the customers. The atmosphere is nice and informal. Either if you eat or not, it is definitely recommendable to see the whole building from the inside. It’s an old riad and from the top floor you can admire the big chandelier they have, which hangs deep down. At the top there’s a beautifully decorated rooftop terrace, which is used for eating and drinking in summer. The Kosybar is located in the Jewish quarter of Marrakech, next to the large square where many handicraft works are sold, and very close to the Palace of Bahia.

Restaurant Le Tanjia, 14, Derb J’did – Hay Essalam (Mellah) | Marrakesch

Le Tanjia is the building next to the Kosybar. The building is very similar. It is also an old riad with rooftop terrace, which has been converted to a restaurant. However, there are three important differences. Here one can only eat, and the special thing about the decoration are the many large round Arabic lamps with the small holes in gold and silver, which hang down from the high ceiling, and give a charming lighting. When you are on the ground floor, you feel almost like in Christmas, or another very festive day. The food is like in almost all Moroccan restaurants: very good. You sit in originally decorated corners with benches and typical colorful Moroccan pillows.

Restaurant Azar, Rue de Yougoslavie, Marrakesch

If you want to try something different, you will find a different atmosphere at Azar. While the other Moroccan restaurants are similar to each other in their decoration, this place is somewhat out of the ordinary. The decoration is more modern, resembling a bit to a nightclub. Despite the relatively high prices, as in all restaurants where alcohol is served, you can meet big Moroccan groups or families here and there. The belly dance is clearly better than in “Le Tanjia”. Here our team have eaten the best lamb in all of Marrakech, not with plums, but with tangerines. Great restaurant.

Bar/Restaurant Café Arabe, 184, rue Mouassine, Marrakesch

Not to be confused with Maison Arabe, which is one of the most expensive and best restaurants of Marrakech. The Café Arabe is a mixture of Pepe Nero because of the beautiful courtyard and Kosybar because of the romantic rooftop terrace. There is also a bar here. The courtyard is bigger than Pepe Nero, but the quality of the food and the professionalism of the service is not comparable. It is also somewhat badly illuminated. Overall, it is still a very nice restaurant, especially in summer as you can sit outside in the courtyard, which is very pleasant.

Restaurant Chez Ali, Route de Casablanca, Marrakesch

This restaurant is located on the outskirts of Marrakech. You have to go there with a “grand taxi”. There are big Moroccan tents, and the food is served on huge silver plates as in 1001 nights. During the meal, there is a performance on the main square, but you are also encouraged to dance next to the table with different dancers and different national dances. The restaurant is very recommendable for children. The highlight is a magnificent performance of horse-racing at the end of the dinner. Arabs are known for their horse-riding skills, and also great acrobats. The acrobatic riding skills are impressive.