Amidst the dirt and grime of Marrakesh’s souks is a bit of a fine dining experience that feels totally out of place. There’s alcohol on the menu and not a beggar to be seen. I know, weird. And unlike other spots that offer both Italian and Moroccan food, I had a feeling that Cafe Arabe knew how to do them both right.
Morocco is rich in movie history and the center of that history is Ouarzazate. So naturally there is a museum called Musee du Cinema because that’s apparently the way you say movie museum in French. And just like all other museums, this one has a cafe nearby for hungry travelers.
On our way back from the Sahara, we stopped in Nkob for lunch at a spot creatively named Kasbah Nkob. The place had a pretty stellar view of the city and surrounding oasis, but you don’t want to know about that. You want to know about their food. And this food looked almost exactly like it was pulled from the book of generic Moroccan food for tourists. Except for one thing.
While hanging out in Merzouga, we made our way to the Sudanese part of town (actually populated former slaves brought in from sub-Saharan Africa). It was there that we stopped to eat at a place called Cafe Restaurant Nora, which was apparently not named for my cousin Nora but for the daughter of the owner. Whatever. We were actually more excited about lunch than usual (I know, hard to believe), because we were told that Nora specialized in a “Saharan Pizza” (also known as “Berber Pizza.”)
While “riad” may be a common word for “hotel” in Morocco, due to the French influence in the country, “auberge” comes up pretty often as well. So when we stayed right next to the Sahara in Merzouga our hotel was called Auberge Les Roches. Auberge Le Sable would probably have been a more appropriate name, but whatevsies. As with a couple other stops, our hotel was also our restaurant for the night and that could only mean one thing: tajine.
On the way to the Sahara Desert, we stopped at a place called Restaurant Inass in Tinghir. Despite the name of the place, I assumed the was served in the mouth as opposed to…well…the name of the place. The restaurant had a deep back outdoor area and we found ourselves a seat. And before our meal came out, we were brought a nice little dish of noodles with nuts, cinnamon and sugar. But that’s not all.
After a long day of travel, we found ourselves staying at Riad Les 5 Lunes in Boumalne Dades for the night. Just like the night before, dinner would take place at our hotel. The difference was that this hotel was more like a bed and breakfast than a hotel. Dinner was prepared by the Berber family that owned the place and although it took a while, it was nice to experience a different sort of local meal.
On the way to the Dades Gorge, we stopped at a place called Cafe Restaurant Dades Services in Kalaat M’Gouna. Or at least that was the name of the sign that hung over the place next to the gas station where we ate. Most likely it was just a list of all the things the place offered, but it at least served as a name for me.
When the drive to your hotel requires a 10 minute stretch down a dirt road in pitch black with no lights to be seen, restaurant options can be very limited. And by limited I mean that the meal can be nowhere other than the hotel’s terrace. Fortunately the hotel was Chez Talout in Skoura and was a sort of mini resort that even sported its own hammam.