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.
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.
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.
If you’re shopping in Marrakech’s industrial zone, Le Zinc is the loveliest place to dine. French-owned, this bistro has outdoor seating under a canopy as well as tables inside. Food is generally very good with an ever-changing menu scrawled in script on a huge blackboard. In addition to upscale fare, you can enjoy a good glass of French (or Moroccan) wine. Be forewarned, Le Zinc is usually packed at lunch with an expatriate crowd (largely French), many of whom own galleries or ateliers in the vicinity. Strike up a conversation with your neighbor to find out if there are any art openings or special events that week. Lunch is offered from Monday to Saturday, and dinner from Wednesday to Friday.
Terrasse des Epices
The perfect place for lunch if you are making a day of shopping in the souk, Terrasse des Epices offers rooftop dining in a hip café environment. It is owned by the same man, who has the bustling Café des Epices in the Spice Market, but sits on the third floor. There are a number of private cabanas, tables spread out on the roof as well as a lounge area with a woven reed awning and striped curtains that can be drawn for privacy. Tables are low and benches are strewn with pillows. Large potted trees add a garden effect but the scene-stealer is the view of the city’s rooftops.
Blackboards announce the daily specials such as carrot ginger soup or feta and tuna salad to begin followed by tagine of turkey and dried fruit, eggplant penne, chicken marinated in herbs or beef filet. Desserts range from traditional French ones like chocolate mousse and crème brûlée to Moroccan pastries. On a sunny day, you may find your meal stretching into an afternoon of lazing. Don’t miss stopping in the shop downstairs which sells lovely local pottery, all of the proceeds of which go back to the community. The Terrasse is also particularly pretty for sunset cocktails.