Hello readers, I’m currently at a lovely riad I booked via Expedia in Marrakech, quenching my thirst with some ice cold mint slosh puppy drink. It’ been quite an eventful day and after nearly spending £800 on spices, I thought share a quick blog post about the 10 things you need to know about Marrakech.
1) Small bills/change are a must for taxi fares.
Always check out where you’re going on google maps before you set out and ask for a price before you jump in the taxi . know fully well that if you are moving around Marrakech it should cost about 50 dirhams give or take. We paid 100 dirhams for an 8 minute ride from La sultana Marrakech to Riad Dar Anika.
2) Attention all roast lamb addicts
I read a review on Tripadvisor about an area dedicated to roast lamb in the main market square , Djemaa El Fna . The area is known as Mechoui alley and there you will find Mechoui restaurant . The menu’s right on the wall of the restaurant so make sure you pick the size of meat you want before you sit down or else you and your partner will find yourself trying to stuff your face with 1 kg lamb and bread for 250 dirhams. I recommend going there with your own sauce as you might only get served the lamb stock as a dip. I saw someone else eating a Tanjia dish and that also looked Moerish.
3) 50% off in the Souk.
You need to bargain at the markets and be prepared to walk away. Always cut the offered price by at least half and even then try to get as good a price as possible. I recommend asking some at your hotel reception for guide prices before you step out. Make sure you check what you buy. I brought a trouser with an inverted pocket. The trouser still looks cool though.
4) Moroccan cooking workshops at La Maison Arabe
The 3 hour cooking workshop morning at La Maison Arabe was very educational and fun. I learnt how to make Mint tea with flowers such as geraniums, sage, menthol and mint , I kneaded dough and made a few Moroccan salads. What I loved best was making a chicken and lemon preserve tagine from scratch. Obviously I didn’t hunt the chicken myself, but you know what I mean. The chefs were patient and friendly which is always a good bonus. They set up a table with all our dishes at the end of the cooking and you could tell by the looks on everyone’s faces that we were all impressed with our creations. They also give you a certificate and some nice gifts at the end, however I wouldn’t reveal that surprise. This 3 hour workshop was booked on Tripadvisor and it cost about £50 per ticket. They also have a series of 1 hour workshops.
5) Colourful Tagine pots are decorative pieces
The colourful tagine pots are mostly decorative pieces for serving food. If you’re going to be cooking at home, I recommend getting the brown clay tagine pots . Make you soak the pot in water for 24-48 hours prior to first use.
6) Check the price and the weight of Moroccan Spices before they seal the bag
I went to a spice shop called Herboristerie Lemlih in Bab el Mellah. This shop has a picture of the king of Morocco and Queen of holland on its walls just above the massive trays of colourful spices. I asked one of the workers to pack me some and he just poured a great deal in a few bags. I paid, walked out of the shop and Elisha said Michael …what is 9370 Mad in pounds. I said £97 and she said nooooooo. it’s about £800. We went back into the shops and told him to drastically reduce all the spices and he kindly did .
The most important tip: It’s not pick and mix.. get them to weight it first, give you a price and then judge if you want more or less. Don’t let them fill a whole bag.
7) For the Best Breakfast , visit Riad Dar Anika
Breakfast was hit and miss on this trip. Breakfast at Dar Anika cooked up by Saidat and Soufiane hit the spot every time. Their pancakes, bread , cakes, scrambled eggs and soup washed down with orange juice and Mint tea was outstanding.
8) For the best tagine dinner visit Riad Karmela
The tagine at La Sultana Marrakech was okay , however the gravy needed just a bit more depth and flavour. We had a decent monkfish tagine at Riad Dar Anika and a well priced lamb tagine albeit too sweet at a restaurant called La Tanjia . The lamb and fish tagine at Kasbah Bab Ourika was very tasty. That said the best tagine of the trip needs to go to Riad Karmela. The meat was tender and the rich and thick gravy was perfectly seasoned. The gravy was soo good, it deserves an award. The chicken and olives tagine needs to have a song written about it and the lamb tagine was just as good. Let me know about dinner at Riad Karmela if you do visit. I booked this riad on the Expedia website.
9) The suites and roof top garden at La Sultana Marrakech
The elephant suite at La Sultana Marrakech and the roof top garden was simply beautiful . Stay here if you really need to treat yourself. Anas and Saidat were very helpful and friendly. I booked La Sultana Marrakech via Booking.com
10) Best customer service
We had good customer service at all the places we visited in Morocco. Riad Karmela looked after us while we stuffed our face their restaurant , Saidat and Anas at La Sultana Marrakech organised restaurant bookings for us , were very friendly and gave some very good tagine advice. The best customer service however goes to Riad Dar Anika. From the moment you arrive, they treat you like you are a VIP, give you welcome drink and snacks, provide detailed information about the souk and the surrounding areas ( thanks Lyanne ) , help out with restaurants bookings , walk you to the restaurant , bring afternoon snacks to your bedroom, you name it. A very good Riad indeed.
The last time I visited Marrakech was 13 years ago and I still love the city. I love the fact it still retains a lot of the traditional feel. I’m looking forward to visiting again soon ..this time with an empty suitcase.
Thanks for checking out my 10 things you need to know about Marrakech blog post. It’s been pleasure as usual Morocco.