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27 bites in Marrakesch

I'm just here for the mint tea / Msemen

For years, Marrakech, the enchanting city of Morocco, has adorned the top ranks of my travel list.


When the opportunity arose, I didn't hesitate for a moment to finally step through the gates into this magical world.


Looking back, I can only say: It was a shame that I waited so long. Marrakech is a revelation, a kaleidoscope of the senses that delights and enchants in many ways.


From the first moment in Marrakech, you feel like you're in a living dream. The colorful souks, winding through the city like a labyrinth, offer not only an endless selection of handicrafts, spices, and textiles but also provide a stage for the vibrant life that makes this city so unique. The impressive architecture, from majestic palaces to modest riads, tells stories of a bygone era and invites you to linger and marvel.


Here, where spices are kings and the art of cooking is a perfect symbiosis of African and Arab influences, every meal becomes an unforgettable experience. Whether it's the sweet-spicy flavors of a tagine dish, the refreshing coolness of a glass of mint tea, or the enticing sweetness of traditional pastries – Marrakech knows how to enchant its visitors culinarily.

 

Classics of Moroccan cuisine:


The Moroccan cuisine is a colorful mosaic of flavors, characterized by the rich use of spices and herbs, making their dishes a feast for the senses. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, and paprika are masterfully combined to create profound taste profiles, while fresh hints of mint and parsley add a refreshing touch. This cuisine reflects the soul of Morocco, shaped by a multitude of cultural influences and grounded in Islamic tradition, which excludes the consumption of pork and alcohol. Thus, a unique culinary landscape is formed, enchanting visitors from all around the world and inviting them to linger.


Here is a small selection of local delicacies:

Snacks: Olives, dates, Zaalouk (eggplant dip), Brik (fried pastry), Maakouda (potato pancakes), ...

Mains: Tagine (braised meat with vegetables prepared in a special clay pot), Couscous with various side dishes such as vegetables, meat, or fish, Pastilla (sweet-salty pie with (pigeon) meat), Kefta (grilled minced meat skewers), Harira (soup with vegetables and chickpeas/lentils), ...

Sweets: Msemen (Moroccan pancakes), Baklava (layers of filo pastry with nuts and syrup), Makrout (fried cookies made of dates and flour, with honey and sesame), Chebakia (fried dough pieces dipped in honey), Ghriba (Moroccan macaroons), ... Drinks: Moroccan mint tea, Fruit juices such as orange and pomegranate juice, or Orange blossom water



Oh, with all the delicious delicacies, one truly feels like in a fairy tale, almost as if landed in "1001 Nights" or the Land of Cockaigne. I was particularly looking forward to the mint tea. After all, a visit to Marrakech without a cup of fresh mint tea is unthinkable. This drink is more than just a refreshment; it's a social tradition. One takes a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoys a cup of this sweet tea.

Traditional mint tea

And what goes wonderfully with it? Msemen, a Moroccan pancake, which quickly became the real star of our journey.


Msemen is known for its layered, puff pastry-like texture and is made from wheat flour, semolina, water, salt, and sometimes a little yeast.


While Msemen, with its buttery deliciousness, reminds one of a tempting mix of pancake, flatbread, and croissant and truly ALWAYS tastes excellent, the mint tea can indeed have its bitter sides.


Yes, you read that correctly! The traditional Moroccan way of preparing this tea includes several steps in which green tea (mostly Gunpowder tea) is mixed with fresh mint and plenty of sugar.


However, if the tea is left to steep for too long, the contained tannins can make it appear bitter – a circumstance we unfortunately experienced too often.

Msemen is a popular Moroccan flatbread, especially served for breakfast or as an afternoon snack along with mint tea.
 
  • F&B offer: The city is known for its lively and diverse culinary scene, showcasing Moroccan cuisine in all its glory while also embracing international influences.

  • Essenzeiten Breakfast (7:00 - 9:00 AM): The day starts sweetly with breakfast. Typical dishes include pancake varieties such as Msemen, Baghrir, and Meloui (see picture below), bread with jam or honey, yogurt, olives, and of course sweet mint tea or coffee. Lunch (12:30 - 14:00 PM): Hearty meals like Tajine, Couscous, or grilled meat with vegetables. Many shops and offices close for a lunch break.

Pancake: Msemen, Baghrir und Meloui
  • Afternoon Tea (16:00 - 18:00 PM): This includes sweet mint tea served with small snacks like pastries or nuts. Dinner (from 7:00 PM): Similar to lunch, featuring dishes such as and/or soups like salads. Dinner typically takes place after the evening prayer.

  • Value for money: Overall, Marrakech can be an affordable destination, especially when utilizing local products and services. However, our visits to hotels and restaurants were comparable to European prices. Cappuccino in Linz ca. 3,5 EUR Cappuccino in Marrakesch ca. 35 MAD (ca. 3,5 EUR)

Notably on-site:

  1. The Jemaa el-Fnaa square is a hotspot for street food, offering an exciting culinary experience - especially in the evening!! Then, the streets are lined with food stalls and stands.

  2. Friday couscous is a deeply rooted tradition in Morocco and is considered THE national dish of the country. Friday is a holy day for Muslims, and it is customary for families to gather for a meal after Friday prayers. On this day, couscous is traditionally prepared and enjoyed together. You can also experience this in hotels.

  3. Alcohol? Many restaurants do not have an alcohol license and therefore do not offer alcohol. This is in line with Morocco's Muslim tradition, where the consumption of alcohol in public is often restricted. However, visitors will find alcohol available in some hotels, tourist establishments, and selected restaurants. It's always a good idea to inquire whether alcohol is served before visiting a restaurant or café.

 

Restaurants & hotels

Riad - La Sultana

The Sultana is housed in a historic Riad, a traditional Moroccan townhouse with an inner courtyard. The hotel is rich in history and culture, making guests feel as if they are part of a 1001 Nights tale. For those who find the accommodation too expensive, visiting for afternoon tea or a glass of wine is an option. It's probably one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen.


How could I not mention this trendy spot? Located in the heart of Marrakech's Medina, just a stone's throw from the Djemaa el Fna square and other key attractions, you'll find this restaurant. Its central location makes it easily accessible and an ideal place for a break during a city exploration tour. Nomad offers an innovative and contemporary interpretation of Moroccan cuisine. The menu combines traditional Moroccan ingredients and flavors with modern culinary techniques to create unique dishes.

Affordable Food - Cafe des Èpices

Just a minute away from the trendy spot, I discovered this charming café where I enjoyed my Harira soup. The menu features both local and international dishes that impress in taste and even more so in price. Cool rooftop terrace and fair prices: I like.


Typical Moroccan cuisine of a high standard is served at La Grande Table Marocaine – one of the many restaurants of the Royal Mansour. Every Friday afternoon, the magical dishes of the local cuisine are celebrated here. As a prelude to the culinary delights, a selection of Moroccan salads paves the way for the famous Couscous Royal Mansour style, available in vegetarian, chicken, or lamb variations.

Design - OTTO

Otto stands out for its excellent non-alcoholic cocktails and stylish interior. It impresses all around – and that without a website or a strong presence on Instagram. We stumbled upon it by chance, and although I'm aware that Arancini and octopus are not staples of Moroccan cuisine, I must admit they were the highlights of the menu.


Many accommodations in Marrakech are on the pricier side. To still immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere, I recommend a visit to a Hammam. Tarabel offers typical Hammam treatments and soothing massages in an exceptional design setting. Additionally, I also recommend Hammam treatments at Hotel Marrakech - Les Jardins de la Medina - Site officiel.

5-star Bedouin feeling

We personally chose this hotel located outside the Medina. Thanks to the complimentary hotel shuttle, which runs about five times a day to the old town, you can reach the hustle and bustle in around 30 minutes. The location outside was ideal for unwinding and enjoying the hotel amenities with a great breakfast, gym, and pool area. We highly recommend it. For those looking to save some money, we suggest staying in the "tent" – complete with a 5-star Bedouin feeling.


The Beldi Country Club was recommended to us and is a true insider tip, especially for those staying in the Medina without access to a pool. For about 40 EUR, the club offers all-day pool access including a tasty lunch. It's a popular meeting spot that promises relaxation and rejuvenation in an idyllic setting. Here, you can dive into the cool water, sunbathe, and unwind – an ideal place to recharge and fully enjoy the beauty of Morocco.


Le Jardin Secret

Not a hotel, not a restaurant, but a real Riad. This gem is hidden in the heart of the souks and, despite its proximity to the city's famous attractions, offers a peaceful retreat. A visit here is an invitation to leave the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind and immerse yourself in the seductive silence and beauty known only from ancient tales.








 
  • My conclusion: I came for the mint tea. I found delight in the diverse selection of pancakes, and when I look back on my time in this region, I will remember the hospitality and the cinematic Riads.


Note: I paid for my stay, including accommodation, entrance fees, and food, out of my own pocket. My recommendations and tips are based on this experience. This article is not part of any collaboration.

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