Eating Morocco: How to eat your way through Marrakech like a local

It’s common to hear tourists proclaim their love of Moroccan food with their very first bite of tagine…

…and it’s equally as common to hear their grumbling turn into outright complaints as they continue to eat the same lemon chicken tagine every single day of their trip.

lemon chicken tagine

Don’t get me wrong – there’s no shortage of terrific new dishes to try for newcomers to Morocco. The problem is that most tourists don’t know where to look, what to order, or how those dishes should be prepared.

Many of the glitzy cafes and restaurants that surround the main square in Marrakech (Jemaa el-Fnaa) offer a cute ambiance, but little more. Chances are the food will taste decent to your foreign taste buds, but it will be significantly over-priced and a far-cry from the real deal that Moroccans would be proud serving to a guest in their home.

I don’t know about you, but trying authentic local cuisine is always at the top of my list when traveling, and is generally what I get most excited about when visiting a brand new country. I never want to feel like I’m eating the over-priced food that local’s wouldn’t touch, but in a city like Marrakech that is so chaotic and has such an enormous tourism industry, it can be pretty hard to get a straight answer on “where the locals eat“.

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The view from one of the restaurants on our tour

Cue Amanda of the amazing Moroccan-inspired blog, MarocMama. She actually lives in Marrakech with her wonderful Moroccan husband and their two children, and when I found out she recently started Marrakech Food Tours as a way to help tourists experience the true tastes of Marrakech, I knew I had to check it out.

Amanda and her husband spent an entire afternoon taking us to the best restaurants and cafes in Marrakech, and I can honestly say that the food was better than anything I’ve eaten since I moved to Europe over 8 months ago.

Not only do they have the first-hand knowledge that only a local Moroccan family could have, but they actually spent months and months researching and scouting the very best, most authentic restaurants to feature on their tour. It was obvious both by how insanely delicious the food was, but also by how unassuming and genuine the restaurants were; you could tell each establishment’s purpose was to make great food, rather than just be a kitschy decoy to satisfy tourists’ Instagram accounts.

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Oh my God, look! An Insta-orange! (Hey – I never said I was exempt from the tourist-obsession with Instagram..)

That being said, here are some mouth-watering shots from the tour:

Taktouka — tomato and green peppers slow cooked with garlic, olive oil,cumin, and salt.
B’stila – Onions with eggs, chicken, almond meal and spices wrapped in oarka (like phyllo)
Couscous – triple steamed couscous with seasonal vegetables, raisins, almonds and sesame seeds. (This couscous is very different from the couscous you find in the US; it’s prepared in such a way that chances are you’ll only find the authentic stuff if you know where to look!)
Yes, these are oranges. But I promise they are better than the oranges you’re used to in the States! Bigger, juicier, fresher…
Tangia (the dish of Marrakech) – lamb pieces cooked in garlic, cumin, preserved lemon – cooked overnight in the coals of the oven. Also my favorite dish of the entire tour!
Mechoui – slow roasted lamb served with salt and cumin on top

Now, let me tell you that before this tour I hated lamb. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it, so my heart sank a little when I realized that it was on the menu.

The first bite changed everything, and I can honestly say these were the tastiest dishes I’ve had in almost a year.

This lamb tastes nothing like the lamb I’ve tried in the States, so even if you think you’ll hate it, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

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The empty plates speak for themselves…
Moroccan cookies – the almond cookies are made with an almond/powdered sugar paste, some with a few drops of orange blossom water. Even though I was insanely full, I managed to wolf down a few of these scrumptious cookies.

As if being taken to incredible restaurants that I never would have found on my own and learning a bit about the history of the dishes wasn’t enough, we also got to go behind-the-scenes to get a glimpse at how the food was actually made – and it was not at all what I had imagined!


I may have gained 5 pounds in the process, but seeing as how they were the most delicious 5 pounds ever, how could I regret them?

NOTE: Marrkech Food Tours is working on becoming dietary-restriction-friendly, so get in touch with Amanda for more info on that!

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**Disclaimer: This tour was partially sponsored but that in no way affected my review. As always, my review reflects my 100% honest opinion.