Moroccan Food was a disappointment; it's repetitive and dull.
The full traditional menu:
     Good olives and good bread.
     Mixed salad - variable, but never exciting.  Often flavorless, sometimes with tired veggies.  At least it's healthful.
     Harira - bean soup.
     Pastilla - a pate brise case of sweet junk.  Should be dessert, but isn't, probably because the filling is supposed to be pigeon.
     Briouates - crisp fried phyllo-like canapés with tasteless filling.
     Kebabs - only once was the meat good.
     Tagine - the local name and presentation of a stew of potatoes and carrots, with a bit of beef or other meat.  Is there more variety of vegetables in other seasons?  (Why beef and not lamb?  This is a sheep-growing country; no cattle in the south at all.)  Chicken with preserved citron is the tagine most likely to have some taste - especially with raisins.
     Couscous - same meat and vegetables, but served dry, with a side of chicken-soup gravy, and hot pepper sauce.
     Desert - fresh fruit (orange, apple, mandarin) or yogurt.  Sometimes fruit salad.

We had pasta twice.  Once it was undercooked; the other time, overcooked.

The pastries are good - cookies with lots of almond paste, date-filled cookies.  Morning croissants in a patisserie are 3 Dhs or so (half the price of cafe  creme), and very good.  The coffee's good too!  Two legacies of the French.

Sandwiches:  We found Schwarma once - it's lamb sliced from the big skewer, like the Greek Gyro.  Several places sold Bocadillo, translated as Spanish sandwich: It's like a pan bagnat or hoagie, on French bread.

In every market and stall, there are zillions of herbs - but they don't use them in cooking! In Marrakesh, the good market had live chicken, rabbit, pigeon, quail - as well as pineapple, artichokes, avocados.  These things were hard to find on menus.

Dates and nuts also abound, but aren't so cheap.  There's a wide selection of  olives.
For lunch, we often had a sandwich or omelet or salad; they're usually available, even if not on the menu.

Oranges, in this season, were everywhere and very cheap; as little as 1 Dh per kilo, or 5 cents US per pound.  The shoeshine man used an orange to clean my shoes.  In the Jemaa Fna, an excellent fresh-squeezed glass of OJ is 2 Dhs = 20 cents US.

Place J'maa Fna, Marrakesh

Gloria and me on the terrace of the Cafe de Paris in Marrakesh.  Below us is the main square, the Place Jmaa Fna.  During the day, the fruit stands stands are open, selling orange juice, dates and nuts.  At night, there are also stands selling soup, calf's head sandwiches, shish kebab, and many other foods.  And there are snake charmers, story tellers, fortune tellers, water sellers, acrobats, etc.   In the background of the picture is the main mosque.  The tower is covered with scaffolding and the mosque isn't open to non-muslims, so I can't tell you much about it.  It's big enough to be a good landmark, though.

Butenet bottom bar
This page last updated December 14, 2001.

home | john | max