Al Fassia Gueliz
Located just steps away from Avenue Mohamad V, Al Fassia serves some of Marrakech’s most authentic food in a cozy and welcoming environment. For a taste of traditional items such as tagines, lamb dishes, pastillas and desserts, eating at Al Fassia is a must. The restaurant is a family affair originally opened by the Chab family and is still led by chef Halima Chab. It is also run as a cooperative employing only women, many of whom have a financial stake in the restaurant and their passion is seen in the service as well as in the cooking itself. Make sure not to miss the lamb shoulder for two or the pigeon pastilla.
Note: There are two branches of the restaurant. The one in Gueliz is the original while the location in Aguedal caters to large groups.
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.
Le Patron de la Mer
Although Marrakech is not particularly known for seafood, Le Patron has set out to change this reputation. With dishes like paella with calamari, the restaurant has drawn a loyal, buzzy following. The dining room is bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows but incorporates Moroccan elements like dangling chandeliers, patterned flooring and brightly colored velvet upholstery.
Just around the corner from the Grand Café de la Poste, Le Studio could not be more different in feeling. There are no inviting tables outside on the street; rather wooden boards cover the windows, except for a narrow slat, so you can see nothing of the interior until the doorman grants you access. Inside, the scene is warm and casual. There’s a wine bar where red silk shades cast a rosy glow to the room. Giant blackboards announce the daily specials, which may include French staples like mussels and escargots as well as salmon ravioli or Wok shrimp. Reserve ahead as the restaurant is small and wildly popular.
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.
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.
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.
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.