North Africa

Like a Local: 10 of the Best Moroccan Restaurants in Marrakech

by Ellen McQueen  |  Published February 3, 2024

After getting lost in the labyrinth of the souk, camel riding in the Agafay desert, and absorbing the street performances in Jemaa el-Fnna, it’s time for the most meaningful part of a Moroccan adventure: the food. 

Rooftop Moroccan restaurant of La Sultana Hotel (Photo courtesy of Ellen McQueen)

Edith Wharton, Yves Saint Laurent, John Lennon––these are just a few people who’ve had a love affair with the magical city of Marrakesh. Since its founding in the 11th century, this city has been a Moroccan center of politics, culture, and history. As soon as you step into the dusty streets alive with donkeys and merchants and men sipping mint tea, seemingly with nowhere to be (“You have the clocks, but we have the time,” is a famous expression from the region), you become infatuated with the sounds and smells and history.

The market will leave you spellbound with its endless alleys of colorful carpets, bejeweled lamps, and babouches (the traditional slipper-like shoe with a pointed toe). When you turn the corner into the spices section, your senses will stir, and your stomach will rumble. Cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, and saffron are fundamentals of Moroccan fare, found in staples like tagine and couscous. The culinary exploration of this country goes far beyond the food, though.

Unparalleled hospitality is a hallmark of Marrakesh. Gold trim, dark wood, and candlelight are just the beginning of the elaborate decor that will transport you to another time. That service and interior design, alongside the divine food, are paramount components of Moroccan dining, and these Marrakesh restaurants don’t disappoint in providing all three.

Le Marocain

A private table at Le Marocain (Photo courtesy of Ellen McQueen)

Open since 1923 and owned by the king of Morocco, La Mamounia is a five-star hotel seeped in beauty and history. Its Moroccan restaurant, Le Marocain, takes you on an inspiring journey that invigorates all of your senses, beginning with the trio of Andalusian musicians that soothe your eardrums as soon as the doors open. Your eyes adjust to the interior lit with gorgeous Moroccan lamps casting a romantic glow over the secluded nooks and velvet furniture. Chef Rachid Agouray offers three dinner experiences: Expérience Koutoubia is 1100DH per person, Expérience Marrakesh is 1300DH per person, and the unrivaled Expérience Mamounia is a tasting menu to be shared family style. The array of Moroccan salads provides an aesthetic and appetizing start to your meal. Main courses like Berber-style lamb tagine or couscous with three fish and green vegetables taste like an Agafay desert adventure. Ensure room for dessert. The menu presents Pierre Herme Paris specialties like crème brûlée à la cannelle caramélisée and the gluten-free corne de gazelle Mamounia.

J2C3+7J3, Avenue Bab Jdid

La Table de la Sultana

View from La Table de la Sultana (Photo courtesy of Ellen McQueen)

Tucked inside the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Medina of Marrakesh is La Sultana, a luxury hotel whose Moroccan restaurant reflects the grandeur and authenticity of the establishment. During warmer months, dinner is served on the roof. From here, you can watch vendors selling fruit and donkeys pulling carts through the Kasbah streets below and listen to the symphonious call to prayer as it reverberates against the coral-colored sunset from the Koutoubia in view. But dinner descends downstairs when the desert evenings get too chilly to stay outdoors. Here, tables covered in white cloths and golden cutlery surround the pool, facing the harmony of an oud, a guitar holding deep significance in the Arab world. Housemade bread, ethically sourced meat, and responsibly caught seafood round out the offerings. The menu, derived from a network of small local producers, reflects the seasons (vegetables are grown in La Sultana’s private gardens) and Morocco, showcasing saffron from Taliouine, salt from Zerradoune, and Argan from Souss.

403 Rue de La Kasbah, 63-67 rue Boutouille

Dar Zellij

A riad is a traditional Moroccan house whose rooms open to an intricately decorated interior courtyard with a pool at the center of the spectacle. Marrakech Riads, dedicated to using the best artisans to refurbish the most impressive riads of Marrakech and Fez, restored Dar Zellij into a high-end Moroccan restaurant. This 17th-century riad preserved the original painting of the high ceilings and doors, and in 2016, it was named one of the best restaurants in the world by Open from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. six days a week and hosting Sunday brunch and a Thursday belly dancing show, Dar Zellij features a couple of tasting menu options and à la carte choices like Couscous Royale and the Sélection of Briouates. If you’re two adventurous people ready to order 24 hours in advance, you can book the Tanjia pieds de veau aux dates fourées aux amandes et noix (calf’s feet Tanjia with walnuts and stuffed dates), or for a group size of four to 12, you might try the oven-cooked lamb Méchoui.

1, Kaa ssour

Dar Yacout

Dinner at Dar Yacout (Photo courtesy of Ellen McQueen)

Dinner begins in the Moroccan family tradition of the warmest possible welcome as manager Youssef Zhkiri greets each guest and guides them to the rooftop. Here, there’s the opportunity to delight in an apéro, a view of the medina, and the orange burst of the setting sun while bathing in the cadence of Gnaoua Maâlems (the lead musicians of the mystical and spiritual Gnaoua community known for their music). Dinner is downstairs, a wonderland designed for a pure Moroccan experience: hidden alcoves, a riad-style pool, and a continuation of melodic song. Sitting at a table covered in rose petals and candlelight, your party shares a three-course meal including local mains like chicken with lemon and olives, steamed lamb shoulder, and tagine of seasonal vegetables. Dar Yacout is an excursion, one of authentic Moroccan gastronomy and hospitality.

terrain de sport du Kawkab, 79 Sidi Ahmed Soussi traversez l’arcade Bab Yacout derrière

Restaurant Les Jardins de la Medina

The Hotel Les Jardins de la Medina restaurant serves lunch and dinner in the old reception room and garden. It’s no problem to reserve if you’re not a hotel guest, but you’ll surely get jealous of the bar’s carved cedar ceilings and the flower-filled outdoor oasis. Extend your time by booking a day pass with a three-course meal, pool access, and an hour-long massage. Lounge for lunch on the terrace, where you’ll notice a resident turtle or two hoping for a scrap from the vegetarian menu. Maybe you’re feeling more carnivorous? Make sure you have room for the four different types of meat on the Jemaa El Fnaa Plate at lunch. For dinner, Chef Sanaa Gamas prepares a mouth-watering Tagine Mogador (hake and seasonal vegetables). A glass of wine from the extensive Moroccan and French list can accompany Thursday night music and a magician on Sunday evenings.

21 Derb Chtouka

Assyl Restaurant

Inside Assyl Restaurant (Photo courtesy of Ellen McQueen)

Assyl means “of noble origin” and “authentic” in Arabic. Famous French architect Jacques Garcia, responsible for the jaw-dropping interior of the Selman Marrakesh where Assyl Restaurant is situated, perfectly encompassed the idea of nobility in designing the majestic space. Gold leaf, embroidery, and moucharaby (traditional Arabic architecture consisting of intricate geometric patterns carved into wood) beset the spirit of an accustomed Ottoman palace. Aside from the craftsmanship adhering to ancestral practices and the authentic Moroccan gastronomy, one is awestruck by the view. On one side of the restaurant rests the 80-meter swimming pool that glows against the dark, and the other offers dinner with a show. On weekend nights, the Arabian thoroughbreds from the property’s private stables dance around a bonfire, providing an unparalleled demonstration of equestrian artistry.

HXFH+5QC، Km5 Route d’Amizmiz

L’mida Restaurant

L’mida is a reprieve from the traditional, luxury Moroccan restaurant typical to Marrakesh without deviating from the deliciousness of local food or dedication to decor. Just around the corner from the spices section of the medina, this is the perfect stop for a classic mint tea and a view of Atlas Mountain in the distance. Close friends Omar and Simo created the trendy restaurant whose name is from the Moroccan dialect Darija, and chef Narjisse Benkabbou makes homemade meals with a modern twist. Have you had enough couscous and tagine to last a lifetime? Order the Burrata and taktouka mechouia (a Moroccan dish made of roasted green peppers and tomatoes) or the Moroccan kefta meatballs to start, followed by the Gnocchi Berber or Sea bream poke bowl with sweet and sour chermoula sauce for Western familiarity with a Marrakesh twist.

NKHEL, 78 BIS D.El Maâden

Les Trois Saveurs

Les Trois Saveurs (the three flavors) inside the La Maison Arabe Hotel glows with the light emanating from the ornate tear-drop-shaped lanterns reminiscent of cathedral-stained glass windows. French gastronomy often influences Moroccan cuisine, but this restaurant throws Asian flavors into dishes like the Monkfish and Thai rice with teriyaki sauce or the tuna tataki.  Enjoy your meal alongside live Arab-Andalusian music and the oasis-like pool under the terrace. Everything seems painted with infinite hues of red, and the atmosphere continues into the 1930s-style piano bar where you can sip Moroccan and Asian-inspired cocktails before dinner.

J2J3+3GJ, Derb Assehbi

Café Clock

Outside Café Clock (Photo courtesy of Ellen McQueen)


Named after the water clock on Bou Inania Madrasa (a 14th-century Islamic school in Fez), Café Clock was founded in 2006 by Mike Richardson. All three locations (Fez, Chefchouan, and Marrakesh) are located in the ancient medina and were once a medieval house. This unique spot is not only affordable, it’s a hub for locals and visitors alike, immersing patrons in Moroccan culture through music, art, and fantastic food. There are local classics like lamb tagine and vegetable pastilla, but also more familiar options for Westerners like the falafel super bowl, all-day breakfast, or a grilled chicken sandwich. Besides offering an excellent menu, Café Clock is deep-rooted in supporting the community. The whole staff is Moroccan, and ten dirhams of every camel burger (yes, camel burger) sold goes to a local charity, like the Moroccan International Women’s Association. Each Eid, fifteen families in the neighborhood receive a box of basic needs.

224 Derb Chtouka

La Grande Table Marocain

Located in the Moroccan king’s other hotel, the Royal Mansour, this fine dining establishment is part of a prestigious association of the world’s best restaurants: Les Grandes Tables du Monde. The decadence is evident in the decoration: magnificent and heavy curtains that drape through the high-ceilinged space, silver lanterns as detailed as the bedecked chairs, and an entrance through the hotel’s famous blue patio and big brass door. While dinner happens every evening, Friday lunch is an extravaganza of delectable local dishes. It begins with the classic selection of Moroccan salads, followed by the celebrated couscous with either vegetables, chicken, or lamb. Orange blossom-infused milk pastilla is the final touch before a much-needed afternoon nap by the pool.

Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti