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Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

Dorset
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Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

We arrive in Marrakech in four days time, for a week,staying at Opera Plaza, Ville Nouvelle, near railway station.

Have been doing a lot of research on Tripadvisor, re restaurants, but problems seem : very slow service, often expensive, using a credit card risky, location difficult if not impossible to find, getting there -run the risk of being run over/falling into potholes or being overcharged by taxis, etc etc etc

We are a middle aged couple, just wanting a straightforward (Moroccan or any other cuisine is fine) meal, (would pay more for nice view) hopefully with a glass or two of wine, and would prefer to walk there rather than take a taxi. We are not vegetarian, have no allergies, religious scruples, and are happy to try all eating experiences.

I speak good French, (no Arabic) so a French only menu poses no problems.

THANK YOU!

Marrakech, Morocco
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1. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

Like anywhere else eating out can be a bit of a gamble but in my 12 years here I have encountered no more difficulties than in the UK, Europe or the Middle East. You are spoilt for choice regarding cuisines. I think that perhaps your reading on TripAdvisor has been somewhat selective, emphasizing negative aspects only. No restaurants are "impossible to find" - if they were they simply would not still be in business! True there are hidden gems in the medina but any decent taxi driver will know them and these restaurants often offer their own guide to lead you to their establishment. As for the hoary old chestnut of taxis overcharging simply insist on the driver putting the metre on. If they refuse hail another taxi.

Cardiff, United...
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2. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

You may encounter all of the problems you have listed, but then again you may not encounter any of them.........

The most likely thing to happen is being overcharged by the taxi drivers, and yes you will have to be aware of the traffic around you at times (but in 8 visits, I have yet to be run over or fall into a pothole), just use your common sense and you will be ok.

Service can be slow in some restaurants but the pace of life is generally a lot slower than we are use to in the UK.

Go with an open mind and you will have a great time, some of the "hidden gems" within the medina are hard to find but they serve the best traditional food you will eat. The highest priced restaurants are not always the best, you can get a very nice 3 course traditional Moroccan meal for around £15-£20.

Marrakech, Morocco
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3. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

MIB15 makes a very important point: "The highest priced restaurants are not always the best." Some of the best Moroccan cuisine can be found in less ornate local café/restaurants. "High end" restaurants often fall foul of what I call the European syndrome - what local managers think that Europeans (and North Americans) want to eat and force their cooks and chefs to comply. The worst examples are to be found in hotel restaurants in my experience. "Eat where the locals eat" would be my motto!

Marrakech, Morocco
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4. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

I think you are focusing too much on the negative reviews - there are many good places to eat in Marrakech, but likewise there are many tourist traps and dives so do read the reviews on here.

Your hotel is in the Hivernage area, a lot of restaurants close by are on the expensive side. Although Pasta Di Luigi in the station is actually a decent option for Italian and I can recommend Azyr Cafe for lunch: tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g293734-…

Otherwise, you have many good options in Gueliz (also Ville Nouvelle) - places like Le Chat Qui Rit and Bagatelle are within walking distance of your hotel. Plus you should book one of the fancy riad restaurants in the Medina one night and check the food market in Jma El Fna for more traditional food.

idaho
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5. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

An open mind, as suggested above, is the best, in my opinion. We tried to find a restaurant for hours...then finally found it. i do think, that the locals may have played tricks on us...so looking like tourists. BUT, that was half the fun. We found all the food in Morocco, fabulous, fresh, creative, and oh, so good.

Hope that you find just a little bit (or more) of what we did.

Stockholm, Sweden
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6. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

Eating out is not so difficult as you have read and think, it depend also of your self what you expect from. Or better - it depend of how you self are. Some see problem in everything, but what happen if you cannot pay with credit card? It is only to pay cash, is it so terrible? Being run over/falling into potholes or being overcharged by taxis? It can happen everywhere, not only in Marocco. Difficult to find restaurant? In Marrakech are so many restaurants.

Dorset
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7. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

We are experienced travellers, like to go native and find we get most of our holiday if we do the research in advance,

Thank you very much to all of you (one exception) who provided constructive advice and/or encouragement.

Thank you especially nibrika - your suggestions are very close to our hotel and look great.

MB15, please can you name one or two in this category in the Medina, or failing that, an area where we might best find that type of restaurant.

Thank you again,

vivien

Cardiff, United...
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8. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

My favourite traditional Moroccan food restaurant is Dar Najat's Kitchen (and yes it can be difficult to find the first time you visit). If you don't fancy looking for the place yourself, then you can ask to be met at Cafe De France in Jemma el Fna square or you can ask the owner to send his driver to pick you up from your hotel).

The food is fresh and cooked to order, the portions are massive and the price is good, the cost is around £18 per person for a 3 course meal. If you are thinking of eating here, it is best to book the day before. I think eating at this place is the closest you can get to eating a meal in a locals home (unless you get invited to eat with a local that is!).

My advice would be to take a note of telephone numbers/addresses of anywhere you are visiting in the medina, this way if you get lost, you will always have the backup of being able to call them. The problem most people have is that very few of the streets/alleyways in the medina have street names on them, so it all looks the same........some of the locals are very friendly and will be more than happy to help you with directions, other locals will give you the wrong directions on purpose to get you even more lost, then send one of their friends to help you find your way (for a small fee of course!).

Try eating on the stalls in Jemma el Fna square one evening, the food is average but the experience is one you will talk about and remember for a long time, eating at the square is something everyone visiting Marrakech should try at least once.

Dorset
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9. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

Thank you very much MB15,

A final bit of advice please on using a mobile phone in Morocco, i.e dialling necessary codes etc.

Am ashamed to admit that we usually make a complete hash of this abroad, but then we didn't even have a landline at home until after I'd gone to university, so am something of a dinosaur...(How did we manage back then?!)

Thank you again

marrakech
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10. Re: Eating out; Is it really as difficult as it seems?

Hi,

It depends on your phone whether you need to use the international code or not when abroad. If you do (a recorded message will come on instead of a ring) you dial 00 212 and miss out the first 0 of the local number.

Edited: 12 December 2013, 17:38