Food and alcohol in Marrakesh
Morocco has some fantastic food, with famous dishes like couscous and tagine. While it is a Muslim country, it’s possible to drink alcohol in Morocco. In January we spent a lovely few days in Marrakesh, where we ate some great food and enjoyed several bottles of wine on rooftops. For those of us who like a tipple, here’s our suggestions of where to drink alcohol in Marrakesh, in various bars and restaurants and then what to eat in Marrakesh.
What to drink in Marrakesh
Freshly squeezed fruit juice is everywhere. We got served orange juice for breakfast and the stalls in Jemaa del Fna serve this along with other juices: watermelon, pomegranate and more. We had a good mixed fruit juice too.
Being a Muslim country, alcohol in Marrakesh is expensive in Marrakesh. The cheapest beer we saw was 35 dirhams for a small bottle, and most were 50. The beer comes in 33ml bottles sometimes, but often 25ml ones. The main beers available are Casablanca, Flag Special and Stork. All are quite generic lagers.
Another popular type of alcohol in Morocco is wine. Morocco’s colonial history means that there is quite a large wine industry and many vineyards. We had a few bottles of local red wine during our trip and all were good. Most of the time, wine proved to be cheaper than beer, as a bottle was around 130 dirhams so just over two small bottles of beer.
Where to drink alcohol in Marrakesh
As it is a Muslim country, alcohol in Morocco is not available everywhere and many restaurants serve only soft drinks with your meal. However, there are many places where you can get wine, beer and spirits, you just need to know where to go.
While there are a lot of little cafes in squares around the Medina, it is not allowed to drink alcohol in Marrakesh in public, so people are not sat there enjoying a glass of wine of an evening. Many of the places where you can drink have rooftop terraces instead. Here are places to drink alcohol in Marrakesh.
Kozybar is by the entrance to El Badi Palace and has a two-level rooftop with a view over the Palace to the Atlas mountains beyond. It’s a lovely place to enjoy a sunset drink. We shared a bottle of wine for 160 dirhams which came with a massive bowl of olives. Inside, Kozybar has several more rooms decorated in a slightly Buddhist style.
Café Arabe is opposite the Secret Garden in the northern part of the Medina. It also has an expansive rooftop which is lovely at sunset. A bottle of local red wine here was a bit cheaper at 130 dirhams and it came with olives and breadsticks.
Just around the corner from Café Arabe, this place also has a nice rooftop where it serves beer, wine and cocktails as well as food. We had glasses of local wine here for 50 dirhams as the bottles were about 200.
Grand Hotel Tazi
This is one of those ‘old dame’ hotels that hails from the colonial days and where you can imagine Poirot solving a murder. It doesn’t look like it has been renovated since the 1920s. It has a big rooftop overlooking a busy traffic junction which makes for some good watching. A small beer was 35 dirhams, but we drank 33cl bottle of Casablanca for 50 dirhams. Again, they came with olives.
Alcohol in Marrakesh New Town
There are far more bars and restaurants serving alcohol in Marrakesh but outside the Medina. We went to a Couchsurfing MeetUp at Le Bistrot Marrakesh, a cool little place on Avenue Mohammed V. This was much cheaper at 35 dirhams for a glass of wine.
If you are in Marrakesh on a Wednesday night, we’d recommend heading to the Couchsurfing MeetUp. We met a great group of locals and travellers. You don’t have to Couchsurf to attend and there was a mix of ages there. Lots of locals who wanted to meet people and practice their English, along with people travelling through.
What to eat in Marrakesh
Ok, now onto food in Marrakesh. We had some great food during our stay in Marrakesh. Food in most Moroccan restaurants tends to be the same, tagine, couscous, harira and pastilla, but many places also did pizza and other international foods too.
All meals we had came with a basked of Moroccan bread and olives. Seriously, we ate so many olives in a week, I don’t want to see another olive for a long time.
Most of the dishes below could also come without meat (apart from one obvious exception!)
The term ‘tagine’ refers to the pot it is cooked in, so it’s more a way of cooking than a specific dish. The pot is a circular base, with a cone-shaped top so the condensation falls back into the dish. This pot is then traditionally put on charcoal, or on a low heat, so whatever is inside stews slowly.
Common tagines in Marrakesh are lamb with prunes and chicken with lemon, although there is a whole range. You can also have it just with vegetables.
We found that tagines in a lot of restaurants in the medina cost about 70 dirhams, but if you paid a bit more, like 100 and higher, you got more meat.
Couscous is another thing you think of when you think about Moroccan food and it is also everywhere. The fluffy semolina is served with meat, vegetables, and sauce on top, or on the side.
Brochettes are basically kebabs with meat on a stick: chicken, lamb, and beef. The stalls in Jemaa del Fna had them raw on display and then cooked them over coals.
This soup is thick and made with lentils and chickpeas. It tastes like you’d imagine, a thick, lentil soup.
The typical Moroccan salad we were given was diced tomatoes, cucumber and onion with lemon juice and parsley.
A pastilla is a small pie made with flaky pastry and filled with meat, traditionally pigeon but sometimes with chicken instead. The slightly odd thing about it is that its sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar, so it’s both sweet and savoury.
Boiled Sheep Head
One night we were eating in the food stalls in Jemaa Del Fna and we chose one where a lot of locals were eating. As we looked around, we realised that everyone else was eating the same thing, small chunks of meat gathered up with bread with their hands. Then we noticed that the guy on the stall had a big metal vat that he was pulling sheep’s heads out of and then chopping up. The front of the stall, that we hadn’t noticed before sitting down, was full of sheep heads. We watched in fascination for a while, before the stall owner gave us a small piece to try. It tasted ok, so the next night, we decided to properly go for it.
Sitting down at one of the stalls, we ordered two half heads. The guy reached inside the vat, pulled out a whole sheep head, chopped it in half and put half on each plate. He then dipped some bread in the vat and put it on the side. The half sheep eyes look up at us as we tried to work out how to go about eating it. We pulled off bits of meat, Kris tried the eye and the tongue…there isn’t actually that much meat on a sheep head.
It was ok. I don’t actually eat lamb as a rule, but Kris said it just tasted a bit like that. The texture was a bit odd at times. I wouldn’t order another one, but it was an experience. We paid 50 dirhams each but you can get them for 70.
Breakfast in Marrakesh is carb heavy. There is usually the type of Moroccan bread that accompanies every meal: Khobz, a round, flattish loaf with a crust, cut into chunks.
Msemen is a kind of pancake which is a thin square which is then folded over on itself. It’s crispy on the outside but chewy in the middle.
There was also often baghrir, like a thin crumpet. Some breakfasts also came with baguette. A whole lot of bread!
With these, came butter, jam and honey, as well as coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and mint tea.
Read more about our trip to Marrakesh in this post: Marvellous Marrakesh and our following two days in Essaouira
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I read this last night on my phone but came back to it today to see the pics on a full screen. Had to check out the food shots. 😉 Thanks for the info on where to grab a tipple. I love that olives and/or breadsticks are a little snack on the side. I can’t wait to get to Morocco. Great read, thanks for sharing!
I’ve just been to Marrakech too. Tried most of those dishes myself and loooved how fresh and tasty they were. Also moroccan breakfast is just the best, isn’t it?! 😍
This looks so good (except the sheep head). I am eager to try Moroccan food. I have visited Moroccan restaurants in the area but I do not think they are that authentic. #feetdotravel
The only dish that looks familiar is couscous — which I love! Visiting Morocco would be an adventure for sure. I would skip the sheep head, though!
Wow ok – now we’re hungry. We both love food and trying new foods and can’t wait to visit Morocco for the first time. Thanks for another great blog post and one that makes us want to go sooner rather than later !
Thanks for sharing your experience, it will be handy since we want to travel to Marrakesh soon 🙂 The pastilla sounds a bit weird, but I want to try how the salty & sweet thing comes together 😀
I don’t know if I could handle the sheep’s head, but everything else looks delicious! I would especially love to try the couscous and Msemen bread.
I shouldn’t of read this while waiting for my dinner! Such delicious meals you can get in Marrakesh!
Well, now I’m hungry. I think that I will take a hard pass on the sheep’s head. However, a lot of the other delicacies look amazing. Your pictures are fabulous, by the way.
Thanks! All we had was an iphone this time, as I forgot the memory card for the camera!
You’ve got all my favourites on that list. I’ve been to Marrakech quite a few times and absolutely love it. Never tire of couscous or tajine and I’m a massive fan of pigeon pastilla. I remember going to Cosy Bar just after it opened (years ago, I know) and loved sitting on the rooftop sipping glasses of Moroccan wine. I need to get back!
I have never tried Moroccan food before and all these food look new to me. Some I would like to try and some are not. I would like to try the tagine and brochettes but I don’t think I would try the ship’s head. It’s funny that if you want more meat, you pay more.
Marrakesh is on my bucket-list and your food guide looks yummy and definitely includes items that I would love to eat. Not sure about the sheep’s head though. lol. I’m vegan so the chickpeas look good but my husband would love all the dishes. Pinned this for later use. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel
I am getting hungry 😀 all this food looks so delicious. I never been to Marrakesh but I love this kind of food.
As a Vegetarian I might just have to eat all of the bread and olives. 🙂 Sounds like such a neat experience. Happy travels.
Mmm tagine and pastilla are two of my favorite things!!! This post made me want to book another trip to Morocco 😀
I love tagine and pastilla, but I had always wondered about alcohol in Morocco. I’m not sure if I would have been brave enough to try the sheep’s head!
Oh, I loved lamb tagine with prunes! Moroccan food is gorgeous. Although to be honest the best one I’ve had was actually in Granada, within the old town.
My absolute favourite cuisine – I would eat myself silly! I always head for Moroccan restaurants in France but would love to go to Morocco!
Um that sheep head!! Would not have been adventurous enough for that. But the meat on the sticks looks fantastic!