Alongside Le Tobsil, this is Marrakech’s most famous restaurant. It’s also among the most touristy. Some diners embrace their Disneyfied version of Marrakech: buzzing, mobbed restaurants set in beautiful old riads with ornate decoration (once upon a time New York magazine food critic Gael Greene proclaimed Yacout one of the most romantic dinner spots in the world). Others leave horrified, describing the experience as akin to dining at Tavern on the Green. Come prepared with a reservation, or choose to stay away, but know that everyone will ask you about these, so it’s good to make a mental note. Yacout has the ultimate Arabian Nights atmosphere, but locals say that the food at Tobsil is better.
Ksar Char Bagh Restaurant
Luckily for foodies, this hotel changed its guests-only dining policy a few years ago and now accepts outsiders for dinner in its magical restaurant, run by a chef who trained with Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon. Many of the herbs are picked from the on-property garden, and the menu changes often depending on what inspires the chef. Meals are served poolside, a romantic spot surrounded by verdant gardens. Be sure to browse the hotel boutique for treasures.
La Maison Arabe Restaurants
Le Restaurant, the fine-dining Moroccan restaurant of La Maison Arabe has been one of Marrakech’s best for years and is a great spot for a special dinner. The more contemporary Les Trois Saveurs is equally exceptional. Its name (“three flavors”) refers to the Moroccan, French and Asian-fusion cuisine. It is some of the most sophisticated and delicious food in the city. The dining room’s décor is a more modern take on Arabic style, but there are also tables set out around the pool.
La Mamounia Restaurants
The poolside setting of Le Pavillon at La Mamounia is lovely for lunch, when you can escape the bustle of the medina at this stunning property. The Mediterranean buffet is expertly prepared. Later in the day, the central bar is a see-and-be-seen spot for cocktails.
For dinner favorites are Le Marocain and L’Italien restaurants. The opulent décor of L’Italien, with velvet swathed banquettes and tassel-edged armchairs, reminds you that you are in a palace fit for a pacha but the cuisine is entirely imported from Italy, the Amalfi Coast to be more precise. Legendary chef Alfonso Iaccarino, who holds two Michelin stars for his Amalfi Coast restaurant Don Alfonso 1890, has brought his trademark Italian home cooking to Marrakech. The kitchen even serves such signature dishes as his buffalo mozzarella soufflé with tomato and basil sauce and vesuvio rigatoni, which is a delicate pasta dish that erupts (like the volcano for which it is named) with sauce under the cheese. Save room for dessert, though. Options include the famous vanilla panna cotta, chocolate pizza and orange granita with foam. Reservations recommended.
Alongside Dar Yacout, this is Marrakech’s most famous restaurant. It’s also among the most touristy. Some diners embrace their Disneyfied version of Marrakech: buzzing, mobbed restaurants set in beautiful old riads with ornate decoration. Others leave horrified, describing the experience as akin to dining at Tavern on the Green. Come prepared with a reservation, or choose to stay away, but know that everyone will ask you about these, so it’s good to make a mental note. Le Tobsil is a more intimate version of Yacout. It’s considerably smaller, but it still has rooms with fireplaces and pillowed banquettes with Moroccan music and food. Just as the décor is a little lighter on ornamentation, the food a bit lighter, too, and considered better than that served at Dar Yacout.
Set in an elegantly tiled courtyard with potted trees and a fountain, Pepe Nero is known for its delicious Italian and Moroccan cuisine. The Italian menu offers classic dishes such as lasagna, risotto, and branzino, while the Moroccan menu includes the restaurant’s signature (pigeon pastille) and a variety of tagines.
Restaurant Dar Rhizlane
With a lavish setting and a spectacular four-course tasting menu, Restaurant Dar Rhizlane offers one of the most romantic dining experiences in Marrakech. On warm nights, candlelit and flower-adorned tables are set around the pool in the lush courtyard, while the airy dining room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the greenery. Dinner begins with a selection of flavorful tasting dishes then moves to creative entrees that are imbued with Moroccan, Arabic, and European influences.
Restaurant of La Sultana
In warm months, the lantern-lit rooftop patio of La Sultana offers diners expansive views of the medina and the Atlas Mountains. The traditional menu highlights such Moroccan dishes as lamb couscous with vegetables, duck foie gras and scallop tagine.
Riad Kniza Restaurant
Inside an elegantly restored palace, the restaurant at Riad Kniza has just nine tables and serves traditional Moroccan cuisine. The chef requires that dinner orders must be placed a day in advance so that they have time to source uber fresh ingredients. The menu highlights authentic regional dishes, including Moroccan salads, lentil soup and succulent lamb.
Royal Mansour Restaurants
Many travelers find the pomp-and-circumstance of this lavish property to be overwhelming for a stay here, but foodies and design mavens should definitely come for a meal or drinks. The restaurant’s menu was created by Yannick Alleno, the young chef who took Paris by storm when he won three Michelin stars at Le Meurice hotel. The dining venues include La Grande Table Française, which is open for dinner only. Lunch is served at La Table’s outdoor terrace.
The Restaurant at El Fenn
The restaurant at the chic El Fenn captures the fun, quirky vibe of the hotel with deep-blue painted walls, eclectic décor and a buzzy, young scene. Begin an evening here at the breezy rooftop bar for a cocktail (the mojitos are particularly delicious) and then move into the dining room for freshly sourced Moroccan and European specialties.
Villa des Orangers Restaurant
If you have only one meal in Marrakech, whether lunch or dinner, make a reservation at Villa des Orangers, only a short walk from the buzz of Jemma el-Fna and the souk but seemingly a world apart, thanks to courtyards of orange trees, lavender gardens and swimming pools. Lunch is served outside under a vine-draped arbor.