Spicy, Exotic Dining

Mystery and glamour loom large in these exquisite dining spots in the Red City. Make one of these cosmopolitan gems a part of your perfect Arabian night.

La Roseraie’s Table
You know what they say about a rose by any other name. You can say the same thing about La Roseraie, a hotel in the village of Ouirgane, which runs along the Atlas Mountains. The beautiful restaurant has its own rose gardens. Take lunch or dinner served on the terrace by the main pool or indoors in the rustic-style dining room and Moroccan lounge. The menu offers a thoughtful mix of French and Moroccan specialties, using such delicious ingredients as peaches, plums, figs, pineapples, guavas and olive oil pressed the old fashion way.

www.laroseraiehotel.com | Phone: +212 2443 9128
Taroudant Road, Km 60, Domaine de la Roseraie | Ouirgane Valley, High Atlas Morocco

Cafe Arabe
The streets of Marrakech are crowded with French-influenced restaurants. For Italian accents you have to look a little harder, but not very far. The intimate Cafe Arabe in the centre of Medina is just the spot for homemade pastas, a sizable wine selection and black coffee like you’d find in cafes scattered throughout the piazzas of Rome. The Italian owners guarantee it. Still you’ll find local accents in several of the dishes, making it a unlikely but irresistible fusion. Try to get a table outside under the cover of orange trees, or on the terrace overlooking the city’s rooftops.

www.cafearabe.com | Phone: +212 2442 9728
184 rue el Mouassine, Medina | Marrakech Morocco

Café les Négociants
Tourists and locals mingle here over breakfast coffee and croissants and the crowd stays lively through the evening when the cocktails start flowing. The Parisian café-like atmosphere give it a stylish sophistication, especially on the terrace, arguably one of the best in town. The central location makes it perfect for people-watching while you plan your day.

Phone: +212 2443 5762
110 Avenue Mohammed V, Gueliz | Marrakech Morocco

Le Yacout
“One Thousand and One Nights” is the inspiration for this majestic and mysterious restaurant. Take aperitifs on the rooftops and sips to the sounds of enchanting musicians. Traditional Moroccan feasts can be had in a variety of locations-beside a beautiful outdoor pool, inside beneath vaulted ceilings, or in the lavishly cushioned lounge. Courteous, discreet waiters in white djellabas and red fezzes scurry about to fulfil your every desire-well, gastronomic desire, at least. Unlimited drinks are included in the prix fixe menu ($43).

Phone: +212 2438 2929
79 Sidi Ahmed Soussi, Bab Doukkala | Marrakech Morocco

Jana and Crystal
Inside Pacha Marrakech, a modern eastern megaplex version of Studio 54, are two chic restaurants. Crystal, with its charming manager Ludovic, has a Mediterranean-inspired menu and a colonial art deco style. Very good food, lovely atmosphere and good music. 

Jana serves traditional Moroccan fare and fusion cuisine over two floors decked out with an “Arabian Nights” motif. Chances are there will be DJs spinning in the cave-like dancehall while you’re eating and the rhythms will move you through your dinner. When you’re through, go join the party and dance the night away.

www.pachamarrakech.com | Phone: +212 4438 8400
Boulevard Mohammed VI Ex. Ave de France, Pacha | Marrakech Morocco

Le Foundouk
For the most sophisticated dining in the Medina, head to Le Foundouk. The entrance, tucked down a side street., is almost speakeasy in style. Asian, French and Moroccan cuisine and sensibilities unite in this intimate and stylish purple-hued restaurant, which fast become a favorite of savvy young Marrakeshis. The desserts in particular are to die for (Try the pistachio crème brulée). With pink and yellow lanterns, mammoth chandeliers and walls with carved out nooks for a gallery-like display of pottery, some may find it a bit over-stylized.

www.foundouk.com | Phone: +212 2437 8190
55 Souk Hal Fassi, Kat Bennahïd | Marrakech Morocco

Dar Zellij
After a day of weaving your way through the frenzied streets of Medina, settle into one Dar Zellij’s snug alcoves or kick back on the patio where tables surround an imposing a stone fountain. Friday and Saturday nights, Arabo-Andalusian tunes fill the rooms of this beautifully preserved mansion, a 17th century riad. Enjoy an aperitif beneath the star-speckled sky before heading into one of the lounges. Selections of Moroccan food are delicious but limited. Diners have the choice of three set menus that change weekly.

www.darzellij.com | Phone: +212 2438 2627
1 Kaasour Sidi Ben Slimane | Marrakech Morocco

Kssour Agafay
Located in a luxury private riad, this little eatery has a daily-changing Moroccan menu, with some emphasis on British food. Eat on the terrace, or in one of two traditional Moroccan-style salons.

www.kssouragafay.com | Phone: +212 4442 7000
52 Sabet Graoua | Marrakech Morocco

Dar Ennassim
According to one of my Insiders, Meryanne Loum of Jnane Tamsna, the most gourmet restaurant in the Palmeraie is the Michelin-starred Dar Ennassim offering very good French food. It is part of the Palmeraie Golf Hotel Resort, a hotel I would avoid, but it is set outside of the resort entrance in a kind of colonial-looking wood house. The decor is strangely kitch but the food she says is good and they have a famous brunch that is on her list to try.

Phone: +212 2430 1010
Palmeraie Golf Palace & Resort, Les Jardins de la Palmeraie | Marrakech Morocco

According to my Insider, Meryanne, this is good Lebanese food at unbeatable prices. Trendy decor with fun bathrooms and a nice lounge and bar in the basement. Owned by the Chiche family who also have the Comptoir, the famous ‘in-spot’ that is much too loud and its days past…

Phone: +212 2443 0920
Rue de Yougoslavie, Angle boulevard Hassan II | Marrakech Morocco

Jnane Tamsna
One of my favorite hotels in Marrakech, even if you don’t stay at Jnane Tamsna, it’s worth a visit for lunch or dinner. Lunches and dinners, served in the dining room, fireside in the living room, or al fresco on the patio, are prepared using ingredients from the garden and are unfailingly delicious. Cooking classes are also a possibility to arrange.

www.jnanetamsna.com | Phone: 212 524 32 84 84
Douad Abiad | Marrakech 40000 Morocco

In Gueliz and a bit further for lunch …
Tired with tagines? Try the delicious pizza at Catanzaro or enjoy an excellent light lunch at Cafe 16 with the best French pastries in town and Wifi. For a more intellectual moment, try Cafe du Livre with books and a cozy reading atmosphere; offers lunch, good juices or coffee … a nice break.

Suzanne Aaronson, Co-founder of Suzanne’s Files, is our Travel Curator. Stay in-the-know on her latest finds and insider tips by signing up to receive Notes from Suzanne’s Files, a free e-newsletter.

Spicy, Exotic Dining