We saw a fair amount of sights during our visit to Marrakech, Morocco. Many of the most memorable parts of our trip, however, were not the sights we visited. The things that stand out the most to me are the absolutely incredible welcome and service we received at our hotel and the even more incredible food we ate!
The food alone is reason to visit Morocco! We ate so well during our trip. I have taken to recreating some of the dishes we tried for our Sunday suppers, but it just isn’t the same. The flavours, the beautiful cookware and serve ware, the whole experience was fabulous each time we sat down to eat.
If you are travelling to Marrakech, be prepared for a feast for the senses!
We stayed in the Old City just outside the Medina, which was perfect for walking to the sights. We could very easily walk to Jemaa el-Fna and the Souks, and other sights were not much farther. The Old City had none of the usual Western brands or stores (at least that we encountered), which definitely added to the sense of being somewhere new and different. The New City has the usual suspects.
After pouring through the many, many five-star rated hotels on TripAdvisor, we decided to go with Riad Dar Anika. The name is actually a bit of a misnomer because it was a dar, not a riad, ha! We booked a deal that included a dinner on their roof deck, a guided day tour and a visit to their hammam. Now that we have visited, we understand why they offer a June promotion… it is HOT!
Riad Dar Anika is gorgeous.
The location was perfect for the sightseeing and wandering we wanted to do and it has its own hammam. Though I dislike being hot and it was already so hot, the hammam was actually pretty awesome. Our skin was so smooth afterwards!
The real standout of the Dar Anika for us, even more than the beautiful interior, was the roof deck. This slice of paradise was the perfect place to relax, play cards and enjoy a drink when we returned from dinner.
Most importantly, the service at the Dar Anika was outstanding. The manager himself makes sure to sit down with each guest and give them an overview of the area and some tips for navigating the city and for not getting taken advantage of in the Souks. He made sure we knew that if we needed anything, all we had to do was ask. It was such a special place!
More than any place I’ve ever visited (including Italy!), the food in Morocco is such an incredible part of the experience. Moroccan cuisine, whether at a fancy restaurant or cafe you happen to pass while hungry, is delicious. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – we ate so well in Morocco. Each meal was beautifully presented and each restaurant was a lovely backdrop to a memorable meal.
Restaurant Riad Dar Anika
Our first night we dined on the roof top of our hotel, Riad Dar Anika. It was fabulous. Absolutely perfect for our first night in Morocco. They even had live music which gave the deck even more ambiance!
I ordered the monkfish tajine and Andrew got the chicken seffa medfouna. Mine was great, but Andrew’s was incredible! It came with powdered sugar on top, which we would not expect for what is basically noodles and chicken, but the combination of saffron, spices and cinnamon… it just works!
I would highly recommend the restaurant to anyone visiting Marrakech – the view, the food, the service – it is all wonderful! We ate breakfast on the roof two of our three mornings in Marrakech.
The Red House Restaurant
The next night, we visited the stunningly beautiful Red House Restaurant.
We walked there through the Parc Lalla Hansa and out along the city walls. Talk about setting the scene!
Andrew got the tajine of lamb with prunes and sesame.
I got the tajine of sea bream with chermoula and vegetables. We also played with the new lens we got for our honeymoon from my sister and bro-in-law! Fancy food pics (that will hopefully improve with time… hehe).
The service at The Red House was impeccable. They took great care of us.
The next morning we wandered to the Jemaa el-Fna for breakfast and picked a cafe based solely on the view. I am sure these spots are more touristy and expensive, but the view was worth it! We ate at Zeitoun Cafe (which had eggs, hooray!).
Breakfast with a side of people watching!
Our last night in Marrakech was the highlight. We enjoyed our final dinner at the magical Restaurant Marrakesh at La Maison Arabe. If you go to Marrakech, treat yourself and go here.
The ambiance is intensified by the low-lit candlight, so I apologize that the pictures are so dark!
They even bring each diner a reading light when they bring out the menus! Kinda funny, but I appreciated it.
I cannot find the menu and totally forget what we ordered – I am sorry! Know that it was delicious and we probably both got some kinda of tajine. They are so good and even though we have no storage left in our flat, I do wish I got one while we were there.
The restaurant is such a beautiful setting and truly felt like a special meal. We each got an entree and a dessert and we shared a bottle of wine during our meal. It cost less than $100 USD?! We felt like royalty!
Our final meal in Marrakech was a cafe we happened to stop in because it looked cute and we were hungry and wandering. I am so sad because I cannot find the cafe’s name! It was near Earth Cafe, which we had originally set out to try after reading that they had gluten free options.
It was at this cafe that I was able to finally get a chicken and vegetable tajine! It was just as delicious as it looks.
I have been inspired by the food since we’ve returned! Our spice cabinet now includes saffron and turmeric and my Sunday suppers have taken on a distinctly Moroccan vibe. This week, I recreated the dish Andrew tried on our first night, chicken seffa, but this time with gluten-free vermicelli so I could try it! Amazing!
The thing to drink in Morocco is Moroccan mint tea! I somehow do not have a picture of it?! Fail. It is delicious.
It was a bit hot for tea, so we enjoyed our fair share of fresh-squeezed juices. After coming back to the Dar Anika after hours out in the sun, the staff greeted us with a lifesaving and delicious, frozen watermelon drink. Whenever I start to get too hot, I find myself wishing I could return home for one of these!
We visited during Ramadan, so we weren’t even sure we would be able to drink alcohol. For tourists, it is business as usual during Ramadan when it comes to dining.
We discovered on our first night that the majority (if not all, I can’t remember) of wines that the Dar Anika offered were Moroccan. Who knew Morocco had vineyards? Not us!
This very basic bon vivant learned that Moroccan wine is very good! We only tried Moroccan wines during our stay and enjoyed them immensely! Dar Anika offered a Medaillon Cabernet that was our favourite.
I got a glass of the Domaine de Safari rosé (another Moroccan wine we saw often) at La Maison Arabe’s Jazz Bar. It was delightful – dry and delicious. The Jazz Bar is very cool, I highly recommend for a pre-or post-dinner drink!
I tried brandy for the first time in Marrakech, when the Red House staff would not let us leave without an digestif. We chose a fancy brandy from the menu and it was strong. It may have resulted in these photos.
Stay tuned for my next post on Morocco – our travel tips!