CHEAP RESTAURANT IN MARRAKECH
Apart from the Djemaa itself, there’s a a concentration of cheap and basic eateries on Rue Bani Marine, a narrow street that runs south from the post office and Bank al Maghrib on Djemaa el Fna, between and parallel to Rue Bab Agnaou and Rue Moulay Ismail. Another street of cheap eats, with grills on one side and fried fish on the other, is the small street that runs from Arset el Maach alongside Place des Ferblantiers to the entrance of the El Badi Palace (see map of Marrakesh Medina). There’s also a row of places just outside the walls at Bab Doukkala, between the bus station and the grand taxi stand. All the following are on the map of Around the Djemaa El Fna, unless stated.
Café des Épices Pl Rahba Kedima, north side; see map of Marrakesh Souks. A small café offering refuge from the hubbub, with orange juice, mint tea, coffee in various permutations, including spiced with cinnamon, and views over the Rahba Kedima from the upper floor and the roof terrace.
Café el Badi by Bab Berrima; see map of Marrakesh Souks. On a rooftop looking out over Place des Ferblantiers and towards the Mellah, this is one place to get close to the storks nesting on the walls of the El Badi Palace. It serves a range of hot and cold (non-alcoholic) drinks, and set menus (80–120dh) featuring soup, salad, couscous, and Moroccan sweetmeats for afters.
Café Restaurant Iceberg Av el Mouahidine. Formerly an ice-cream parlour, hence its name, this place is central and popular with Marrakshis. Downstairs, it serves the best coffee in the Medina; upstairs there’s a restaurant serving reasonable Moroccan food, with a 55dh set menu.
Chez Bahia Rue Riad Zitoun el Kedim, 50m from Djemaa el Fna. A café-diner offering pastilla, wonderful tajines and low-priced snacks, plus excellent set breakfasts. You can eat well here for 50–60dh.
El Bahja 24 Rue Bani Marine. This place (whose patron has appeared on a British TV food programme) is popular with locals and tourists alike. It’s a good-value but generally unexciting cheap eatery, but don’t miss the house yogurt for afters. Set menus 60–70dh.
Grillade Chez Sbai 91 Rue Kassabine. The tables are upstairs but you order downstairs at this tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery. It isn’t much to look at, but the food is good, the portions are ample and the prices are low. Most customers go for the spit-roast chicken, but the best deal is a big plate of chicken brochettes with chips and salad, a snip at 23dh.
Patisserie Belkabir and Patisserie Duniya 63–65 Souk Smarine, by the corner of Traverse el Ksour; see map of Marrakesh Souks. Two shops, side by side, specializing in traditional Moroccan sweetmeats, stuffed with nuts and drenched in syrup, and particularly popular during the holy month of Ramadan, when of course
they are eaten by night. A kilo of assorted sticky delights costs 100dh.
Pâtisserie des Princes 32 Rue Bab Agnaou. A sparkling patisserie with mouth-watering pastries at prices that are a little high by local standards but worth the extra. They also have treats like almond milk and ice cream. The salon de thé at the back is a very civilized place to take breakfast, morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Restauant Oscar Progrès 20 Rue Bani Marine. One of the best budget restaurants in town, with friendly service, excellent-value set menus, and large servings of couscous (go for that or the brochettes in preference to the tajines, which are rather bland). You can fill up here for around 55dh, or be a real pig and go for the 100dh set menu.
Snack Café Toubkal in the far corner of Djemaa el Fna, beyond Hôtel CTM and best recognized by its backdrop of a dozen colourful carpets for sale. As well as fruit juices, home-made yogurts, and patisseries, there are salads, tajines and couscous, set menus (45–50dh) and good-value breakfasts (18dh).