Jan 27, 2014

A Meal in Marrakech


After a long, but fascinating drive from Casablanca, we arrived in Marrakech just in time for lunch. Instead of diving right into sight-seeing, our tour guide led our cruise group to a restaurant within the Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage center and famed historic district of Marrakech. Upon arriving to the restaurant, we knew we were in for a treat. Situated just a few steps from Jemaa el Fna square, from the outside, this restaurant looked rough...but as soon as we walked through the threshold, the colorful zellige tile work, Berber carpets, and smell of tajine delights excited our senses. 

After our arrival was announced by the drums and singing of an Atlas Berber group, we were sat at large, round tables surrounded by pillows covered in lush fabrics. While the name of the restaurant absolutely excapes me, the atmosphere was perfectly Moroccan. The tables were already set, mounds of fresh bread and bottles of Moroccan wine ready for the sipping. Just as soon as we started passing the wine around the table, a man dressed in a traditional kaftan came and allowed us to wash our hands in a Moroccan hand-washing basin. This was a tradition I wasn't expecting, but so loved participating in! Shortly after, our waiter scurried over with a family-style plate of seasoned vegetables and typical Moroccan salads. Like clockwork, once the vegetable plate was cleaned, an overflowing platter of couscous and squash was rushed to our dining space. D and I were like ravenous animals…the wine, the veggies, and the couscous were deliciously filling…and we hadn't even gotten to the meat course yet! 

As the Atlas Berber group continued to play, a Moroccan belly dancer popped out from behind one of the arches and danced her way around the restaurant, stopping only to shake her hips in front of the most blushing bachelors. The whole room was alive with music and clapping, laughing and clanging of glasses…everyone enjoying their lunch with a show. While the belly dancer worked the room, a tagine filled with chicken marinated in olives, onions, and herbed oil was placed in front of us. I'm not usually a fan of chicken on the bone, but the meat was so juicy and flavorful, I hardly noticed the bone! It was hands down the best part of our meal. Our last course was a bowl full of freshly-picked mandarines, perfectly sweet and a wonderful end to our traditional Moroccan meal.

While this restaurant was obviously geared to attract the tourists (you could purchase photos of yourself with the belly dancers and of your hand washing experience), we still enjoyed every darn second of our lunch there. We felt like we got a good taste the local cuisine and a fun peek into some of the traditions that go along with dining the Moroccan way. With our bellies and cameras full, we made our way out to the streets of Marrakech to start exploring. Stay tuned for more from Morocco!

29 comments:

  1. It looks so exotic and decadent! What a delicious experience :)

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  2. This trip looking amazing! I am obsessed with the picture from this restaurant, talk about getting transported to Marrakech!

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  3. This all looks so incredible!! What a unique experience. I would truly love to go to Marrakech as well!

    -Elle

    https://itsaromanthing.wordpress.com/

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    1. Marrakech is just a cultural wonder. New exciting sights, sounds, and smells around every corner! I hope you get to visit someday!

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  4. This looks like so much fun! The interior decorations are so beautiful, I love those colored windows.

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    1. The atmosphere and architecture added so much to the experience! We had an absolute blast!

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  5. I am absolutely in love with all of the colors in Moroccan food and design. And so what if a place is touristy? As long as there is great food and a fun atmosphere, I'm all for it. Better than ending up in a super-sketch "local hangout."

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  6. Love these pics! I had such an awesome time in Morocco!

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  7. Wow! Everything is so colorful there!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    http://acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  8. This looks amazing! I'm planning on heading to Marrakech in about a month and I'm so excited :)

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    1. Oh, color me jealous!! You'll have the time of your life! :)

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  9. We had such amazing food in Marrakech... it's something we still talk about 2 years later!!!

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  10. We had a similar, touristy meal as well, and we still had such a great time. The meal was delicious!
    http://liveitinerantly.com

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    1. I'm telling ya, if a restaurant is doing it right…it doesn't matter how touristy it is! We had a wonderful time and felt like we got a great peek into Moroccan life.

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  11. What awesome colourful pics! Can almost taste your food through the photos.
    Claire xx | somewhere... beyond the sea

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    1. Thanks, Claire! That meal was top notch. I could go for some of those beautiful mandarins right now!

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  12. I just love your stories of your travels!
    laurenofthedoxey.blogspot.com

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  13. Love this post, so amazing, and you are TOO cute:) Obviously i'm sure you can tell i've been stalking your blog all day with the amount of comments i've left! I just love to talk travel, and see pictures!! We just moved back to California after living in Nepal and working with an aftercare home, and i'm yearning to go back!! I love living abroad:) xxoo Katie

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  14. That looks incredible- everything from the decorations to the food to the dancers. I want to go!!

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  15. So cool! I don't think there's anything wrong with tourist-geared places. They can be just as fun!

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  16. Sometimes there's really nothing wrong with doing the touristy things and going to the touristy places, they are that way for a reason after all!

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  17. This building looks beautiful! I would love to go Morocco soon and experience Marrakech for myself - I feel so drawn in by Arabian countries lately!

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  18. That food looks amazing and what a great experience to have had. I also love that amazing room you were in, how special! x

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  19. I think that locations aimed at tourists can go either way, fortunately 9 times out of 10 they are awesome! I just think it's also important to make sure you try to hit some less tourist aimed areas too.

    This places looks STUNNING! Perfect example of it being awesome :)

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  20. Wow, the inside of this restaurant looks so amazing! Plus the food looks delicious!

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  21. What a lovely setting, which seemed to have a great selection of experiences. Looks like great fun!

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  22. Wow. just wow. The colours, the food, the details...that awesome movement you captured on camera of the dancers...love it!

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