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Romanian Food: 40 Traditional Dishes to Look For in Bucharest

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was verified by Lazar Ioana Alis, a writer and Romanian food expert based in Tecuci, Romania.

When doing research for this article on Romanian food, I often came across this Romanian cookbook and food blog – From Dill to Dracula (Amazon affiliate link). The book’s title was telling because for many non-Romanians, the story of Count Dracula is still the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Romania.

The legend of Vlad Dracula is the most famous but there are so many compelling reasons to visit this lesser known gem in southeastern Europe. Romania’s medieval castles and painted monasteries are must-visits while its Carpathian Mountains and pastoral countryside offer much to adventure seekers and nature lovers.

If you thrive in big cities, then you’ll want to spend a good chunk of your time in Bucharest. Once nicknamed “Little Paris” and now touted as the “new Berlin”, Romania’s capital buzzes with excitement and is perhaps one of the most underrated cities in Europe.

And then there’s the food.

If you travel to eat like we do, then mouthwatering dishes like mititei, ciorbă, pasca, and sarmale will give you even more reasons to visit Bucharest and Romania. In fact, this Romanian food guide will give you forty! Poftă bună!


If you’re planning a trip to Romania and want to really dive into the cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Romanian Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in Romania

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Romanian food is a mix of local Dacian traditions and foreign influences, mostly from ancient Roman, Turkish, Hungarian, and Balkan cuisines.

Ancient Dacians existed on a diet consisting mostly of roasted meats, fruits, honey, and aromatic wines. They excelled at breeding cattle and growing crops but they weren’t as skilled at preparing dairy products. They drank raw sheep’s and cow’s milk and ate their vegetables boiled.

Because of the country’s prime geographic location, ancient Romanians were always under the threat of invasion so they learned to eat on the move. They became accustomed to eating raw herbs and salad vegetables and dry curing raw meat.

The Roman occupation brought with it dishes and culinary techniques like pastries (plăcintă, pască), soups, breads, and cold-pressed olive oil. This was followed centuries later by the Ottoman influence and the introduction of now common dishes like meatballs, kebabs, sour soups (borș or ciorbă), stuffed peppers (ardei umpluţi), cabbage rolls (sarmale), and Turkish delight.

From the 1700s onwards, Romanian food started to become more westernized and modernized with Austro-Hungarian, Russian, French, Greek, and Italian influences making their way into different parts of the country.

Sadly, with the arrival of communism in 1947, Romanian gastronomy took a step back with the censorship and elimination of western influences. Even after it ended, this difficult period left a lasting imprint on the culinary sensibilities of Romanians. Many craved the novelty and slick branding of international fast food at the expense of classic Romanian cuisine.


This article on traditional Romanian food has been organized by category to make it easier to digest. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Starters / Salads / Sides / Snacks
  2. Soups / Stews
  3. Meat / Poultry
  4. Ignat Day Foods
  5. Cheese
  6. Desserts / Drinks
  7. Romanian Food Tours


1. Ardei Umpluţi

If you enjoy Balkan food, then this first Romanian dish will be familiar to you. Ardei umpluţi means “stuffed pepper” in Romanian and refers to the local version of dolma, a popular dish consisting of hollowed-out peppers stuffed with ground meat and rice.

Stuffed peppers are popular in many countries throughout the Balkans and beyond like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Georgia, and Armenia. They can be made with any type of vegetable but in Romania, ardei umpluţi refers specifically to bell peppers – mostly yellow, but also red and kapia peppers – stuffed with a filling of ground pork, white rice, herbs, onion, garlic, and spices.

Depending on the cook and the region in Romania, it can be stuffed with different spices and herbs and other ingredients like mushrooms, cheese, carrots, and tomatoes. After stuffing, the peppers are traditionally boiled in a tomato sauce with bay leaves and seasonings before being served with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

Photo by fanfon

2. Salată de Boeuf

Salată de boeuf literally means “beef salad” and refers to the Romanian equivalent of olivye salad, more commonly known as Russian salad. It’s a type of potato salad that was invented and popularized by Chef Lucien Olivier, a Russian chef of Belgian and French descent who offered the salad at his Hermitage restaurant in Moscow in the 1860s.

As its name suggests, salată de boeuf was traditionally made with beef but these days, it can be made with other proteins like chicken, turkey, and occasionally pork. They’re mixed with finely diced potatoes, root vegetables, and murături (Romanian pickled vegetables) before being smothered in mayonnaise and garnished with bits of vegetables and hard-boiled eggs. In some parts of Romania, sweet mustard may be mixed in as well.

Like sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls), salată de boeuf is typically a holiday dish in Romania. It’s often prepared to celebrate the Christmas, New Year, and Easter seasons.

Photo by fanfon

3. Salată de Vinete

Salată de vinete is a popular Romanian eggplant salad or dip made with roasted and puréed aubergine mixed with sunflower oil, lemon juice, and salt. It’s very similar to Lebanese baba ghanoush except it isn’t made with any tahini (toasted sesame seed paste).

Salată de vinete typically contains just four ingredients – eggplant, lemon juice, sunflower oil, and salt – but it can be made with additional ingredients as well like garlic, onions, and homemade mayonnaise. It’s typically enjoyed in the summer with crusty bread and slices of fresh tomatoes.

Photo by fanfon

4. Ardei Copți

Ardei copți refers to a type of Romanian roasted pepper salad. It’s a simple side dish or spread made with roasted bell peppers seasoned with salt and doused in a mixture of vinegar and olive oil. Optionally, it can be topped with slices of garlic before serving.

Ardei copți pairs well with salată de vinete. It’s often eaten with Romanian meat dishes and as a spread on crusty bread.

Photo by SingerGM

5. Varză Călită

Varză călită literally means “stewed cabbage” and refers to a type of braised sauerkraut served at many Romanian restaurants. It’s a simple side dish consists of fresh cabbage slowly simmered with tomato paste, onions, sweet peppers, carrots, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and fresh dill.

Varză călită can be served cold or hot, often with smoked pork and paired with mămăligă.

Photo by fanfon

6. Zacuscă

If salată de vinete and ardei copți sound appealing to you, then you’ll definitely want to try this next Romanian dish. Zacuscă is a traditional Romanian vegetable spread made with roasted eggplant and red peppers as its main ingredients. You can think of it as the Romanian version of ajvar.

Romanian recipes for this popular condiment vary but it’s typically made with roasted eggplant, tomato paste, sautéed onions, and gogoșari, a type of Romanian sweet red pepper. It’s usually seasoned with bay leaves, salt, pepper, and olive oil and can be made with additional ingredients like carrots, celery, zucchini, parsley, and mushrooms.

Like ajvar, zacuscă is typically made in large batches in autumn – when eggplant and gogoșari are in season – and then stored in jars for consumption through the winter. It’s usually enjoyed as a spread with bread, often on a platter with different types of Romanian cheese, cold cuts, and slices of red onion.

Photo by kitzzeh

7. Mămăligă

Like sarmale, mămăligă is one of the most important dishes in traditional Romanian cuisine and considered by many to be a national dish. Similar to polenta, it refers to a type of traditional Romanian porridge made from boiled cornmeal, water, salt, and butter (or sunflower oil).

Mămăligă is traditionally cooked in a round-bottomed cast iron pot known as a ceaun or tuci. After it cools down and hardens, the porridge is sliced with a piece of string and served with sour cream, herbs, and fresh Romanian cheese. It can also be crushed and served in a bowl of milk, grilled, or pan-fried in oil or lard.

Mămăligă is a humble Romanian dish that was cooked mostly by peasants as a substitute for bread. Today, it’s consumed throughout the country, even at upscale restaurants, and is considered a staple food in Romania.

Photo by [email protected]

Mămăligă is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make other Romanian dishes. Pictured below is bulz, a traditional Romanian food consisting of mămăligă shaped into balls or patties and stuffed with a creamy filling. The balls can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried until a crunchy crust forms on the outside.

Bulz can be made in different ways but the most popular stuffing is a mixture of butter and brânză de burduf – a soft Romanian sheep’s cheese – along with bacon or ham. After grilling, it’s usually served with sour cream and butter and topped with a fried egg.

Depending on its size, bulz can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, or as a side dish to larger meals.

Photo by johny007pandp

8. Covrig

Covrig refers to a type of Romanian pretzel. It’s made with leavened dough that’s twisted and baked before being sprinkled with large salt granules and some type of seed, commonly poppy, sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds.

Covrigi are among the most popular street foods in Romania. They’re available at Romanian pretzel shops called covrigarie or simigerie and can be enjoyed plain or with a variety of fillings like sausage, cheese, fruit, and chocolate.

Photo by CristiCroitoru

9. Plăcintă

Plăcintă is a classic Romanian pastry that’s also popular in Moldovan and Ukrainian cuisine. It consists of a thin and round piece of dough that can be filled with various ingredients. Depending on its filling, it can be enjoyed as an appetizer or for dessert.

Plăcintă is traditionally made with a yeasted dough though it can be made with puff pastry, filo, or shortcrust pastry as well. They can be baked or fried and filled with savory or sweet ingredients like brânză de burduf (Romanian sheep’s cheese), urdă (soft whey cheese), telemea (brined cheese), mashed potatoes, apples, sour cherries, pumpkin, and different types of ground meat mixed with herbs, nuts, and spinach.

Photo by romeovip

10. Brânzoaice

Brânzoaice (or poale-n brâu moldovenești) is a type of baked patry popular in Moldovan-Romanian cuisine. Like plăcintă, it can be enjoyed as a savory snack or sweet dessert depending on how it’s made.

When made into a savory pastry, brânzoaice is typically filled with a salty Romanian cheese like telemea. If eaten for dessert, sweet fillings are added to the recipe like farmer’s cheese, sugar, raisins, and honey.

Photo by [email protected]


11. Ciorbă

Ciorbă refers to a family of traditional Romanian soups. They can be made with a variety of meat and vegetables and are known for their distinct acidic flavor derived from souring agents like borș, lemon, vinegar, lovage, or sauerkraut juice.

Pictured below is ciorbă de burta or Romanian beef tripe soup. It’s a popular type of ciorbă made with beef tripe, sour cream, garlic, pureed carrots and onions, eggs, and vinegar. Often served with hot chili peppers, sour cream, and/or vinegar, tripe soup is something you’d typically find at any Romanian restaurant in the country.

Photo by grafvision

Ciorbă de fasole refers to a Romanian bean soup that can be made with or without meat. Meatless versions are popular during times of fasting and typically consist of beans cooked with a variety of vegetables and herbs like carrots, celery, raw onions, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, lovage, and lobodă.

When made with beans and smoked meat, the soup becomes known as ciorbă de fasole cu afumătură. Originally from the western regions of Romania, this thick and hearty bean and smoked meat soup is especially popular in winter where it’s often served with hot chili peppers.

Photo by angeluisma

Ciorbă radauteana is a type of ciorbă made with chicken as its main ingredient. Often touted as a hangover cure or remedy for the common cold, it’s made with chicken and other ingredients like sweet red peppers, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsley, sour cream, and lemon juice.

Photo by SingerGM

Ciorbă de perisoare refers to a type of Romanian meatball soup made with herbed pork, beef, chicken, or turkey meatballs cooked in a sour broth with tomato paste, vegetables, lovage, vegeta (all-purpose seasoning), and eggs.

Photo by [email protected]

12. Supă

Supă refers to another family of traditional Romanian soups, different from ciorbă. Supă is typically lighter, sweeter, and made with a clearer broth while ciorbă is generally thicker and flavored with a souring agent. Supă is usually served with carrots and onions (and sometimes noodles or dumplings) while a bowl of ciorbă contains meat and different vegetables.

Pictured below is a bowl of supă de pui cu tăiței, or Romanian chicken soup with noodles. When made with dumplings instead of noodles, the dish is known as supă de pui cu găluște.

Photo by [email protected]

13. Gulaș

Gulaș refers to the Romanian equivalent of goulash, a popular Hungarian beef stew seasoned with paprika and other spices. It initially took root in the Ardeal region of Romania before spreading to other parts of the country.

There are probably as many recipes for gulaș as there are Romanian cooks, but at its most basic, it’s made with meat (usually beef or pork), onions, and paprika. Other common ingredients include tomatoes, garlic, carrots, red peppers, parsley, bay leaves, and cumin.

A hearty and filling meal often served with mămăligă and garlic, Romanian gulaș is typically made with dumplings but it can be made with potatoes as well.

Photo by angeluisma

14. Fasole cu Ciolan Afumat

Fasole cu ciolan afumat refers to a classic Romanian pork and bean stew. It’s a hearty and comforting dish made with dried beans and smoked pork hocks stewed with onions, carrots, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, bay leaves, and seasonings.

Photo by conceptw

15. Ostropel de Pui

Ostropel de pui literally means “chicken stew” and refers to a traditional dish in Romanian cuisine consisting of chicken cooked in a thick tomato sauce flavored with garlic, spring onions, pepper, and different spices. It’s commonly made with chicken thighs or drumsticks but other proteins like pork, rabbit, or lamb can be used as well. Even the meat can be removed altogether and substituted with potatoes or similarly substantial vegetables.

To make ostropel de pui, chicken is fried and then added to a boiling mixture of water, oil, tomato purée, garlic, onions, and flour. The stew is cooked until the sauce thickens before being garnished with parsley and served with a side of mămăligă or boiled/mashed potatoes.

Photo by lenyvavsha


16. Mititei

No Romanian food guide worth its weight in mămăligă can ever be complete without mititei (or mici), a type of Romanian grilled meat roll or skinless sausage made with a mixture of beef, lamb, pork, garlic, and spices. It’s the local version of ćevapi and widely considered to be a Romanian national dish.

Mititei in Romanian means “little ones”. These popular grilled minced meat rolls are made with ground meat (beef, lamb, pork) seasoned with a host of herbs and spices like garlic, black pepper, anise, coriander, thyme, savory, and paprika. They’re typically grilled outdoors at Romanian barbecues and enjoyed with french fries, mustard, and pickled vegetables called murături. As you can imagine, they also go very well with beer.

Mititei are consumed throughout Romania but they’re believed to have been invented at a restaurant in Bucharest sometime in the late 19th century. According to legend, the cook ran out of sausage casings one day so he was forced to improvise and cook the skinless sausages directly on the grill.

The dish caught on and has since become one of the most popular Romanian dishes and a staple at every barbecue. They can be found everywhere – at Romanian restaurants, pubs, street food stalls, and picnics. They’ve become the go-to dish to celebrate International Workers’ Day where an estimated 30 million mititei are grilled and consumed on May 1st every year.

Photo by icefront

17. Slănină

Slănină is the Romanian term for salo, a traditional dish consisting of cured slabs of pork fatback. It’s commonly eaten as a snack in many European countries like Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Lithuania, and Czechia.

Salo can be prepared in different ways depending on where it’s from. It can be dry salted or brine cured and made with or without the skin. Unlike bacon, it contains little to no lean meat and can be smoked or flavored with paprika, garlic, salt, black pepper, and other seasonings.

In Romania, slănină is prepared by curing pork fat in brine for 2-3 weeks and then smoking it for several days. It can be eaten raw or cooked and used as an ingredient in Romanian cooking. When eaten as a snack, it can be grilled, fried, or enjoyed as is with bread, Romanian cheese, and red onions.

Photo by florin1961

18. Rasol

Rasol refers to a traditional Romanian dish made with meat, potatoes, and various vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and onions boiled together. Chicken and pork are the most common proteins though it can be made with different types of fresh meat and poultry like beef, duck, turkey, and goose.

Rasol is usually served on a plate with some stock and a side of horseradish, mujdei (mixture of minced garlic, sunflower oil, water, and spices), sour cream, and mămăligă.

Photo by fanfon

19. Ciulama

Ciulama refers to a traditional Romanian and Moldovan dish made with meat and/or mushrooms served in a white roux sauce. It’s commonly made with chicken (ciulama de pui), turkey (ciulama de curcan), or veal (ciulama de vițel) and served with a side of mămăligă or mujdei.

Photo by lenyvavsha

20. Drob de Miel

If you’re fortunate enough to be in Romania over Easter, then you may get a chance to try drob de miel, a traditional dish made with lamb offal. It’s also known as “lamb haggis” and is the star of every Easter table in Romania.

What’s great about drob de miel is that it’s made with the less glamorous but often more delicious parts of the lamb (at least in my opinion). The lamb’s liver, spleen, heart, lungs, and kidneys are boiled, minced, and then mixed with green onions, garlic, milk-soaked bread, parsley, dill, and raw eggs to form the dish’s filling. Traditionally, it’s made with lamb offal but it can be made with chicken liver as well.

Hard-boiled eggs are added to the mixture before the loaf is wrapped in the lamb’s caul (fatty membrane) and baked in an oven. When cooked, the dish is sliced and enjoyed like meatloaf.

Drob de miel is traditionally made with caul though more modern versions are frequently made with pasta sheets or puff pastry instead.

Photo by roxanabalint

21. Sarmale (Romanian Cabbage Rolls)

Similar to ardei umpluţi, sarmale is the Romanian version of a stuffed vegetable dish popular in many Balkan countries and beyond like Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, and Lithuania. It refers to a sub-type of dolma consisting of cabbage or vine leaves stuffed with a minced pork and rice filling.

Like dolma, sarma can be made in different ways in different countries. In Romania, it typically consists of pickled cabbage leaves wrapped around a dolma-like filling of minced pork, rice, onions, and seasonings. The stuffed cabbage rolls are then simmered with smoked bacon, tomato juice, and thyme before being served with bread, mămăligă (Romanian polenta), and lots of sour cream.

Depending on the time of year, sarma in Romania can be made with just mushrooms and vegetables as well. Known as sarmale de post, they’re made without any type of meat filling.

Sarmale is so popular in Romania that it’s considered by many to be a national dish. It’s comforting and absolutely delicious. It can be enjoyed at any time of the year though it becomes especially popular around Christmas and Easter.

Photo by Lovelymama

22. Varză a la Cluj

If you like Romanian cabbage rolls, then you’ll probably enjoy varză a la cluj. It refers to a Transylvanian casserole made with cooked sour cabbage layered with seasoned minced meat, onions, rice, tomato sauce, and sour cream.

Varză a la Cluj is a specialty of Cluj-Napoca in northwestern Romania. It’s served at many restaurants throughout the city, often with a side of sour cream, hot peppers, and mămăligă.

Photo by NoirChocolate


Ignat or St. Ignatius Day happens on December 20 and officially marks the start of the Christmas season in Romania. It’s become less popular among younger Romanians but it’s a tradition that’s still observed in many parts of the countryside.

Following this Romanian tradition, a pig is traditionally sacrificed on December 20 by rural families each year. The pork meat is then used to make a variety of Christmas dishes, many of which I’ll describe in this section.

23. Cârnați

Cârnați refers to garlicky Romanian pork sausages. They can be smoked or dry-cured and made with a variety of herbs and spices like garlic, paprika, thyme, chili flakes, black pepper, and salt.

Photo by florin1961

24. Jumări

Jumări refers to the dried pork that’s left over after rendering the fat and flavoring it with various seasonings like garlic, onions, and salt. Typically enjoyed in winter as a snack, you can think of it as a type of Romanian pork rind or pork crackling.

Jumări is often added to other Romanian dishes to give them more flavor – varză cu jumări, fasole cu jumări, etc.

Photo by [email protected]

25. Piftie

Piftie (or răcitură) is a traditional Romanian meat aspic made with boiled pig parts, chopped vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, and parsley. The cooked ingredients are placed in a bowl and filled with a meat broth before being refrigerated and allowed to congeal.

Piftie is typically made with the lesser parts of the pig like the ears, tail, and feet. It’s traditionally served as an appetizer over Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Easter.

Photo by fotosen

26. Tochitură

Tochitură is a delicious Romanian dish made with pork, smoked bacon, and smoked sausages. Similar to a stew but with very little sauce, it can be made in different ways depending on where it’s from. Pork is common though it can also be made with other types of meat like beef, lamb, chicken, and offal.

Recipes vary but there are generally two types of tochitură in Romania – ones made with tomato sauce and ones made without. The latter is more traditional but the former is more common and what you’d typically find at a Romanian restaurant. When using tomato sauce, the meats are left to cook in their own fat and juices first before a minimal amount of sauce (with minced garlic) is added at the end.

Like many dishes in this Romanian food guide, tochitură is often paired with mămăligă. It’s also common to serve it with a fried egg and a salty sheep cheese like telemea or brânză de burduf.

Photo by mirceadobre78

27. Pomana Porcului

Pomana porcului literally means “pig’s alms” and refers to the Romanian meal traditionally prepared for the men who took part in the pig’s slaughter. It’s a simple dish made with various cuts of pork, offal, and sausages fried in lard and served with mămăligă, mijdei, or onions.

Photo by lenyvavsha


28. Caș

Caș refers to a type of fresh Romanian cheese. It’s made by curdling sheep’s or cow’s milk with rennet, and then draining the whey. This produces a semi-soft white cheese that’s smooth in texture and fresh and slightly acidic in flavor.

Caș is typically unsalted (or just lightly salted) and often eaten for breakfast with eggs and different vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. It can also be incorporated into Romanian salads and pies and used as the base to make other Romanian cheeses like cașcaval, brânză de burduf, and telemea.

Photo by gerasimov

29. Cașcaval

The term cașcaval refers to any number of hard and semi-hard yellow cheeses in Romania. It’s used to describe local cheeses like dobrogea (sheep’s milk), rucăr (cow’s milk), and penteleu (sheep’s and cow’s milk), but it can also be used to refer to non-Romanian cheeses like Swiss Emmental and Dutch gouda. Basically any semi-hard yellow cheese can be referred to as cașcaval in Romania.

Cașcaval is generally mild, salty, and slightly sharp in flavor. It’s often served raw as an appetizer and used as an ingredient in many Romanian dishes like cașcaval pane (fried cheese) and mămăligă. In the mountainous region of Vrancea, it’s often smoked (cașcaval afumat) to give it a more refined and complex taste.

Photo by gerasimov

30. Brânză de Burduf

Brânză de burduf is a saltier type of Romanian cheese made with sheep’s (and sometimes buffalo’s) milk. A bit soft in texture but intense in flavor, brânză de burduf is also referred to as brânză frământată which means “kneaded cheese”. This is in reference to how the cheese is made.

Brânză de burduf is produced by slicing, salting, and then hand-mixing caș in a bowl. The mixture is then stuffed in a sheep’s stomach or skin, or in a tube of pine bark (pictured below) to give it a distinct pine resin aroma. The cheese is typically aged for a few weeks to a few months to ripen and intensify its flavor.

Photo by [email protected]

Pictured below is brânză de burduf aged in tubes of pine bark and casings made from sheep stomach or skin.

Photo by [email protected]

31. Năsal

Năsal refers to a unique and hyper-regional type of Romanian cheese produced in Țaga, Transylvania. It’s a smear-ripened cheese that’s aged in a natural cave in Țaga, imparting it with a deep and earthy flavor that’s impossible to replicate anywhere else.

According to legend, Țaga commune was once controlled by a cruel count who starved his people. To survive, they were forced to steal the count’s cheese which they hid in a cave. When they retrieved the cheese, it changed from white to reddish yellow and developed an odd odor. To their surprise, the cheese was also delicious.

When the count discovered what they had done, he seized the cave and used it to age his cheese. From that point, cheeses aged in that cave became known as Năsal, after the small village where the cave was located in Transylvania.

This origin story is merely a legend but the cave in Năsal is very real. It contains naturally-occurring Brevibacterium linens, the same type of odor-inducing bacteria found on human skin (think foot odor). Combined with a stable temperature and humidity, the bacteria or fungus growing on the rind is what gives năsal its robust flavor.

Thanks to the cave’s unique microbiological conditions, it’s virtually impossible to produce năsal anywhere else. It’s extremely limited in production and best paired with fruits, nuts, onions, and Romanian red wine.

Photo by gerasimov

32. Telemea

Telemea is a type of Romanian cheese produced by storing caș in brine for several weeks or months. It’s traditionally made from sheep’s milk though it can be made from cow’s, goat’s, or buffalo’s milk as well.

Telemea is a soft or semi-soft white cheese with a creamy texture and a tangy aftertaste. Known for its salty flavor and high-fat content, it’s the most widely consumed cheese in Romania. It’s often enjoyed as a table cheese with snacks, as an ingredient in salads and other Romanian dishes, or as a simple meal with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and crusty bread.

Several varieties of telemea exist but the most well-known is telemea de ibăneşti. Produced in Romania’s Gurghiu Valley, it has the distinction of being just the second Romanian food product to be awarded PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status.

Photo by czamfir

33. Urdă

Urdă refers to a type of Romanian sweet cheese produced from the whey of sheep’s, cow’s, or goat’s milk. It’s made by heating whey until a silky, grainy, and sweet-tasting paste is produced. Known for its smooth, crumbly texture and sweet milky flavor, it’s used as an ingredient or filling in several Romanian pastries and desserts.

Photo by [email protected]


34. Cozonac

Cozonac is a traditional Romanian sweet bread associated with Easter and Christmas. It’s popular in Romania and in other parts of southeastern Europe like Bulgaria (kozunak), Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece.

Visually, cozonac looks like a loaf of bread but because of its sweetness, it’s considered to be more of a cake in Romania. Recipes vary but it’s typically made with a basic dough consisting of flour, milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and salt. Depending on the region, the dough can be enriched with additional ingredients like raisins, lokum (Turkish delight), lemon or orange zest, walnuts, hazelnuts, vanilla, and rum.

Cozonac can be rectangular or round, simple of braided, and is usually made with a sweet walnut paste filling mixed with poppy seeds, cocoa powder, rum, or raisins. The filling takes the form of swirls which add to the characteristic look of the cake.

Cozonac is typically enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee or tea or a glass of milk. It’s such an important Romanian tradition that no Easter or Christmas celebration can ever be complete without it.

Photo by [email protected]

35. Pasca

Like cozonac, pasca is a traditional Romanian dessert bread that’s always baked for Easter. It starts with a dough similar to cozonac except it’s made with a sweet cheese filling studded with raisins. Bready on the outside but rich and creamy in the middle, you can think of it as a cross between a soft panettone and a cheesecake.

Together with drob de miel and cozonac, pasca forms an important part of the Romanian Easter tradition. It was traditionally brought to church the night before Easter to be blessed before consumption.

As with most Easter breads, pasca carries certain religious meanings. The white cheese filling added to the cozonac dough (usually Romanian cow’s cheese, farmer’s cheese, or cottage cheese) is said to symbolize the risen Christ as well as the Holy Spirit.

Photo by ncristian

36. Gogoși

Gogoși (or pancove, pampuște) are Romanian fried pastries similar to doughnuts. Unlike American-style doughnuts, they’re made without a hole and often filled with a variety of ingredients like jam, chocolate, sweet cream cheese, or feta cheese.

Photo by pfongabe33

37. Mucenici

Mucenici is a traditional dessert that’s made just once a year in Romania. It refers to a honey and walnut pastry that’s traditionally prepared on March 9th to celebrate a Christian feast of the same name – Mucenici or Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. The feast coincides with the start of the agricultural year so Romanians would bake these pastries to honor the event.

Mucenici are known for their distinctive shape that resembles the figure “8”. They exist in two versions. In the Moldova region, the dough is baked and then soaked in syrup before being glazed with honey and dusted with walnuts and sugar.

Photo by [email protected]

In the Mutenia region, the figure 8s are much smaller. Instead of being baked, they’re boiled in water with sugar and then served with cinnamon and crushed nuts, like a sweet soup.

The feast of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste is celebrated in honor of Roman soldiers who were sentenced to die for not wanting to give up their Christian faith. There are several variations to the story but according to one account, the martyrs were drowned in a lake. After they drowned, flowers rose to the surface which is why this traditional dessert is shaped like an 8, to resemble garlands.

Photo by tcostachioiu

38. Cornulețe

Cornulețe refers to Romanian and Moldovan crescent cookies traditionally baked for holidays and other special occasions. It’s made with a dough enriched with vanilla, rum, and citrus zest and filled with various dessert ingredients like chocolate, jam, walnuts, farmer’s cheese, raisins, and Turkish delight.

Photo by pfongabe33

39. Găluște cu Prune

Găluște cu prune literally means “plum dumplings” and refers to a Romanian dessert made with plums wrapped in potato dough. It’s a popular dessert in many Central and Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czechia, and Slovakia.

To make these delicious dumplings, a potato dough similar to gnocchi is wrapped around sweet plums. The plum-filled dumplings are then boiled in water before being rolled in a sweet and buttery bread crumb mixture. After cooling, they’re traditionally served with a dollop of sour cream.

Photo by pfongabe33

40. Țuică

If găluște cu prune looks appealing to you, then you may enjoy ţuică, a signature Romanian liquor made from plums. Romania produces over 300,000 plums each year so if it doesn’t wind up in a dumpling, then it’ll probably end up in a glass of this traditional plum brandy.

Served cold in summer and hot in winter, ţuică is a source of national pride in Romania. It’s used for toasting at social gatherings like weddings and baptisms, and is often taken as an aperitif before a meal. When guests arrive in a new home, they’re often offered a glass of ţuică.

Țuică is traditionally prepared from early October until early December. The plums are fermented for about 6-8 weeks before being distilled and left to age in oak barrels for up to ten years.

Depending on how it’s made, a bottle of ţuică will typically contain about 20-60% alcohol. When it’s double-distilled, it can be referred to as pălincă, fățată, horincă, or întoarsă, depending on the region.

Photo by photonxt


There’s much to learn about Romanian food and one of the best ways to do that is to go on a food tour. Simply put, no one knows Romanian cuisine better than a local. Not only will a knowledgeable guide lead you to the city’s best restaurants and markets, but they’ll be able to explain all the dishes to you in more detail. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of Romanian food tours in Bucharest and in other destinations throughout the country.


Thanks to popular culture, Dracula is foremost on many people’s minds when it comes to Romania. But as this article on Romanian cuisine illustrates, it’s hardly the only thing of interest in this lesser known southeastern European country.

If you don’t have a taste for blood (or exaggerated legend stories), then I hope this Romanian food guide gives you something more delicious to look forward to on your next trip to Romania.


Some of the links in this article on Romanian food are affiliate links. If you make a booking, then we’ll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by ciaobucarest. Stock images via Depositphotos.

10 Amazing Fish and Seafood Restaurants in Istanbul, Turkiye (Turkey)

Turkish food is amazing. It’s one of my favorite cuisines in the world and there’s no better place to enjoy it than in Istanbul (which unsurprisingly is one of my favorite cities in the world).

From kebabs to dürüm to lahmacun and pide, there’s so much delicious food to be had in Istanbul. But being a uniquely located city with shores along the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosphorus Strait, one dish that will probably grace your plate often is fresh fish. The waters around Istanbul are home to over twenty different kinds of fish so you’ll always find several types of fresh fish in season no matter which time of the year you go.

As you can imagine, there’s no shortage of fish restaurants in Istanbul. However, being a hugely popular tourist destination, there’s no shortage of tourist traps either.

If you’d like to steer clear of the touristy restaurants and not pay an arm and a leg for Turkish sea bass, then here are ten excellent fish and seafood restaurants that you can visit in Istanbul.


To help you plan your trip to Istanbul, we’ve put together links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.


Recommended hotels in Beyoglu, one of the best areas to stay for first-time travelers to Istanbul.

  • Luxury: Point Hotel Taksim
  • Midrange: Bonne Sante Hotel
  • Budget: Bella Vista Hostel


  • Sightseeing Tour: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour
  • Food Tour: Guided Food Tour of Street Food and Markets
  • Cooking Class: Istanbul Cooking Classes


  • Turkiye eVisa
  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Istanbul Airport Transfer
  • Pocket Wifi Device


If you’re planning your first trip to Istanbul, then you may want to check out our comprehensive Istanbul travel guide. It’ll tell you everything you need to know – like where to stay, which attractions to visit, how to get around, etc. – to help you make the most of your time in Istanbul.

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In my experience, one of the best ways to spot a touristy restaurant is its location. If it’s located within a few blocks of a popular tourist attraction like Hagia Sophia, then more often than not, it’s a tourist trap. A quick glance at their menu will usually confirm this.

On our last trip in August 2023 for example, we paid around TRY 200 for levrek or Turkish sea bass. At touristy restaurants near Basilica Cistern, prices for sea bass often exceeded TRY 500. This is grilled sea bass we’re talking about. Aside from freshness and weight (which was usually consistent), how different can it be?

Another telltale sign is a restaurant’s menu offerings. If a restaurant in Istanbul offers everything under the sun – from fried calamari to dürüm to pottery kebab – then chances are, it’s a tourist trap.

This is why we often seek out restaurants that specialize in just a few dishes. There’s a better chance they know what they’re doing and you’ll get to try a better version of that dish.

I find that these methods work well not just in Istanbul, but in any city that sees large hordes of tourists.

This article zeroes in on the best fish and seafood restaurants but be sure to check out our full Istanbul restaurant guide as well. For healthy eaters, we also have a guide to restaurants that serve vegan and vegetarian food in Istanbul.


A quick note on prices – any price listed here is accurate as of August 2023. If you’ve been visiting Turkiye often in the last few years, then you’ll know how quickly prices have been increasing in this country. My wife and I joke that prices in Istanbul go up so often that it almost feels like a running taxi meter.

A few months can mean a difference of a few dozen Turkish lira so you may want to confirm prices before going to any of these restaurants.

1. Ulaş Balıkçılık (Best Seafood Restaurant in Cihangir)

We found this little gem of a seafood restaurant when we stayed in the Cihangir neighborhood of Beyoglu. They offer many different types of freshly caught fish like seabass, sea bream, salmon, anchovies, mackerel, blue fish, and more.

To start, we had this mevsim salata or seasonal salad. They offer a couple of other salads and fish soup as well.

You’ll find a wealth of delicious seafood dishes in Istanbul but one of our favorites is midye dolma. A popular street food in Turkiye, it refers to mussels stuffed with herbed rice, spices, and other ingredients like pine nuts and currants. Definitely a must-try in Istanbul!

I enjoy working my way through a whole grilled fish but sometimes, I prefer fish skewers. They’re easier to eat and when cooked properly, they can be even more satisfying.

What you’re looking at below is a pair of perfectly grilled sea bass skewers. Moist, flakey, and melt-in-your-mouth tender, these were insanely delicious and set us back just TRY 180.

Ulas Balikcilik serves delicious food in a more residential part of Beygolu. In my opinion, it’s definitely one of the best fish restaurants in Istanbul.

You can jump to the location map at the bottom of this article for the restaurant’s exact location.

Ulas Balikcilik

Address: Firuzağa, Türkgücü Cd. No:27/A, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 11AM-12MN, daily
What They Offer: Fried/grilled fish dishes

2. Şen Balıkçılık

Like Istanbul Old City, the area around Istiklal Cadessi is one of the city’s most popular tourist areas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find hidden gems amongst its many tourist traps. Sen Balikcilik, a fish restaurant just off the main strip, is one of those gems.

Sen Balickilik offers different types of seasonal fish and seafood dishes but they also have a good number of meat dishes, hot and cold starters, fish soup, and salads on their menu. Pictured below is the coban salata or shepherd’s salad. You can think of it as the Turkish version of Moroccan salad.

Istanbul is home to an ocean of fresh fish but one of my favorites is grilled sea bass. Known locally as levrek, I enjoy it for a few reasons. One, it’s delicious. Two, it’s good for your health. Three, it typically isn’t priced per kilo (fixed price). And four, it’s one of the cheaper fishes you can find in Istanbul, with a whole grilled fish going for around TRY 200 at a non-touristy restaurant.

This beautiful specimen at Sen Balikcilik set me back just TRY 180.

You’ll find lots of delicious street food in Istanbul but my personal favorite is balik dürüm or fish wrapped in lavash bread with vegetables and spices. Like balik ekmek (fish sandwich), it’s made with one whole fillet of grilled mackerel so it’s one of the healthier street foods you can find as well.

I’m not a fan of balik ekmek because I find it too bready but I absolutely love balik dürüm. It’s a fun and easy dish to eat so I got this one to go.

I forgot to take a picture of the restaurant’s exterior (sorry about that!) but you can jump to our location map to see where it is. It’s literally a minute away from Istiklal Caddesi so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.

Sen Balikcilik

Address: Hüseyinağa, Sahne Sk. No:5, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 8AM-2AM, daily
What They Offer: Seasonal fish dishes, meat dishes, hot and cold starters

3. Askoroz Balıkçı

Like Sen Balikcilik, Askoroz Balikci is a hidden gem not too far from Istiklal Caddesi. They don’t have as many offerings as Sen Balikcilik but the usual favorites like levrek, blue fish, sea bream, and mackerel are on their menu.

Pictured below is a small plate of salad which you can get in regular or small sizes.

What you’re looking at below is a plate of grilled sea bream which I devoured with mucho gusto.

Like levrek, sea bream is one of the cheaper fishes you can find in Istanbul. At the time, this whole fish cost me just TRY 195.

Askoroz Balikci is located less than a 5-minute walk from Istiklal Caddesi.

Askoroz Balikci

Address: Şehit Muhtar, Süslü Saksı Sk. No:15, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 11AM-12MN, daily
What They Offer: Fish dishes, Turkish desserts

4. Sokak Lezzeti Tarihi Balık Dürümcü Mehmet Usta

This mouthful of a restaurant is one of the more famous fish restaurants in Karakoy. Unlike the previous restaurants on this list, they offer just one thing on their menu – balik dürüm made with one or two fillets of mackerel.

I went with two fillets and this was arguably the best fish wrap I had in Istanbul.

In August 2023, the regular fish wrap went for TRY 100 while the double wrap cost TRY 190. This was seriously delicious and substantial enough for a full meal.

Sokak Lezzeti Tarihi Balık Dürümcü Mehmet Usta is a popular restaurant but balik dürüm is easy to eat so you can get one to go if the place is full.

Sokak Lezzeti Tarihi Balık Durumcu Mehmet Usta

Address: 75 Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
What They Offer: Fish wrap

5. Kiyi Balik

Kiyi Balik is another balik dürüm shop in Karakoy, this time just a short walk from the ferry port. They make fish wraps that are slightly different from the others I’ve tried thus far in Istanbul. Can you tell what that difference is from looking at this picture?

Unlike other fish wraps I’ve had in Istanbul, Kiyi Balik encrusts their lavash with a Turkish spice blend. It does add a good amount of flavor to the wrap though some people may find it a tad on the salty side.

Kiyi Balik is a humble stall located about a 5-minute walk from Karakoy port.

Kiyi Balik

Address: Azapkapı, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 10AM-5AM, daily
What They Offer: Fish wraps

6. Balıkçı Lokantası (Best Fresh Fish in Kadikoy)

On our last trip to Istanbul, we split a month between Beyoglu and Kadikoy. Ulas Balikcilik (#1) was one of the best seafood restaurants we went to in Beyoglu but in Kadikoy, it was definitely Balikci Lokantasi. This local restaurant on the Asian side of Istanbul serves some of the freshest fish at the best prices in Kadikoy.

To start, they served me a basket of bread and this plate of cold appetizers with ezme (Turkish pepper salad) and baba ghanoush (roasted mashed eggplant).

Can you tell what type of fish this is by now? It’s my favorite Turkish levrek, or grilled marinated sea bass. I rarely met levrek I didn’t like in Istanbul and this was one of the best.

It’s important to point out that Balikci Lokantasi doesn’t have a printed menu. Instead, they’ll direct you to the vitrine to show you what fresh food is available on that day.

At first, I was nervous without having a menu with fixed prices to look at, but I took the plunge anyway. I’m happy I did because that beautiful grilled sea bass with a small side salad and a big bottle of water came out to just TRY 200. Definitely one of the best fish meals I had in Istanbul!

When it comes to restaurants, I prefer the Asian side because you’ll find fewer touristy restaurants here. Frequented mostly by locals, Balikci Lokantasi is the perfect example of that.

Balıkçı Lokantası

Address: Rasimpaşa, Teyyareci Sami Sk. No:20 D:B, 34716 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 12NN-9PM, daily
What They Offer: Fish and seafood dishes

7. Balat Balik Evi (Best Fish Restaurant in Balat)

The Balat neighborhood in Fatih is a charming area that’s become one of the most visited in Istanbul. It’s known for its cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and many vintage shops and cafes.

Receiving so many visitors daily, many of the restaurants in Balat look like they cater mostly to tourists but Balat Balik Evi is an exception. This excellent fish restaurant serves seafood favorites like fried calamari, grilled seabass, fried mussels, and lightly fried anchovies at reasonable prices.

For starters, we shared this big bowl of coban salatasi or shepherd’s salad.

When in Istanbul, it’s never a bad idea to go for grilled seabass. This beautiful specimen was priced at TRY 250 at Balat Balik Evi.

If fish sandwiches are your thing, then you may want to go for balik ekmek or balik dürüm instead. This fish wrap from Balat Balik Evi rivals Sokak Lezzeti (#4) as my favorite balik dürüm shop in Istanbul.

A day in Balat is a must for any first-time visitor to Istanbul. If you’re in the mood for fish, then Balat Balik Evi is the place to go in this neighborhood.

Balat Balik Evi

Address: Balat, Vodina Cd. No: 156, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 10AM-1AM, daily
What They Offer: Fish and seafood dishes

8. Nevizade Kokoreç

These last three entries aren’t fish restaurants but they’re among our favorite places to have midye dolmas in Istanbul. As described, midye dolmas refer to mussels stuffed with herbed rice, pine nuts, currants, and spices.

You’ll find many of these “kokorec” restaurants in Istanbul. Kokorec refers to an interesting dish of grilled lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal. Any restaurant that serves kokorec will almost always serve midye dolmas as well.

You can get midye dolmas per piece. At the time of our visit, stuffed mussels cost TRY 5 each at Nevizade Kokorec, which is a fair price.

Nevizade Kokorec is one of many stalls offering midye dolmas in an area just off Istiklal Cadessi. We chose it based on its positive Google reviews. We weren’t disappointed.

Nevizade Kokorec

Address: Hüseyinağa, Mah Balık Pazarı, Sahne Sk. No:12/B, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 12NN-2AM, daily
What They Offer: Midye dolmas, kokorec

9. Kadikoy Midyecisi

Kadikoy Midyecisi is another poular kokorec/midye dolmas restaurant in Istanbul, this time on the Asian side. They’re pricier than Nevizade Kokorec – offering midye dolmas at TRY 7.50 per piece – but still worth it in our opinion.

You can get midye dolmas per piece at Kadikoy Midyecisi but they also offer them in boxes of 30, 60, or 100 as well.

Kadikoy Midyecesi

Address: Caferağa, Sarraf Ali Sk. 22/b, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkiye
Operating Hours: 11AM-4AM, daily
What They Offer: Midye dolmas, kokorec

10. Midyecisi Ahmet

I have mixed feelings about this place. Google “best midye dolmas in istanbul” and Midyeci Ahmet will frequently come up.

While their stuffed mussels are delicious, I’m not sure they’re worth their exorbitant price tag – TRY 10.50 per mussel. I know. Pricey right? That’s over double what most midye restaurants and stalls charge in Istanbul.

But all those locals singing them praises know something we don’t so I suggest trying them for yourself and making your own judgements. It’s a good thing you can buy them per piece.

The self-proclaimed “Lord of Mussels” is a local favorite with many branches throughout Istanbul. This particular branch is located near the Karakoy port.

Midyecisi Ahmet

Address: Multiple branches
Operating Hours: Varies per branch
What They Offer: Midye dolmas, kokorec


To help you navigate to these fish restaurants in Istanbul, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.


As described at the top of this article, there are many delicious dishes to be had in Istanbul but seafood, especially fish, is something you need to enjoy at least once. The best restaurants always serve them fresh which is what we tried to find and compile in this list.

Being such a popular tourist destination, this city can be a landmine of tourist traps so I hope this guide to some of the best fish restaurants in Istanbul leads you to many memorable seafood meals.

Thanks for reading and have an amazing time eating fish and seafood in Istanbul!


This article on the best fish restaurants in Istanbul includes affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking or reservation at no added cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Hungarian Food: 25 Traditional Dishes to Look For in Budapest

It didn’t take long for Budapest to win us over. Within a day of exploring the Hungarian capital, we were smitten with its classical architecture and edgy vibe. The city is home to an exciting restaurant scene that offers a good mix of traditional Hungarian cuisine and modern takes on global comfort food.

Like any fast-food-starved consumer, Budapest’s myriad pizza and burger restaurants are what excited us the most but traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash, chicken paprikash, and stuffed cabbage are what truly warmed our hearts (and our bellies).

If you’re visiting Budapest or any other city in Hungary, then be sure to look for these 25 traditional Hungarian dishes. Like us, they made just warm your heart, and win you over.


If you’re visiting Hungary and want to learn more about Hungarian cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour.


  • Food Tours: Hungarian Food/Drinking Tours

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Photo by Ildi Papp


Traditional Hungarian food has been described as a blend of Ottoman, Central Asian, and European (eastern, central, and southern) cuisines. It’s considered one of the spiciest cuisines in Europe, due largely to the heavy use of paprika in many Hungarian dishes.

Hungarian cuisine is traditionally a meat-heavy cuisine that incorporates a variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and bread. Chicken, beef, and pork are the most commonly consumed proteins while lamb, turkey, duck, fish, and game meats are more often reserved for special occasions.

Aside from Hungarian paprika – which is known to be spicier than other types of paprika – other commonly used herbs and spices in Hungarian cuisine include garlic, caraway seeds, marjoram, dill seeds, and celery seeds.

Many Hungarian dishes are typically served with a side dish like dumplings, while bread is a vital staple food that’s eaten at all meals.


This article on traditional Hungarian food has been organized by category to make it easier to digest. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Soup
  2. Starters / Sides / Snacks
  3. Mains
  4. Desserts


1. Főzelék

Fozelek is a type of thick vegetable stew or soup. It’s a simple dish that can be made with a variety of different ingredients like peas, spinach, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, lentils, squash, or sorrel. The version of fozelek pictured below is called zordborsofozelek, or green pea stew.

Fozelek is commonly eaten as a main course for lunch, either on its own or topped with additional ingredients like fried eggs, sausage, or meatballs.

Photo by Fanfo

Here’s a version called spenotfozelek, or spinach stew.

Photo by Marian Weyo

2. Halászlé

Halaszle refers to a traditional Hungarian fisherman’s soup. It’s typically made from freshwater fish like carp, pike, or bass cooked in a rich and spicy broth flavored with onions, tomatoes, paprika, sweet paprika, and other ingredients. Hungarian paprika, an often-used ingredient in Hungarian food, is what gives the soup its distinctive red color.

Originally from the Szeged region of Hungary, halaszle was traditionally prepared over open fires along the riverbanks. It’s a hearty and warming soup that becomes even more popular in winter, especially at festivals and family gatherings.

Photo by Morana Photo

3. Orjaleves

If you like rich meaty soups, then you may want to try orjaleves. It refers to a slow-cooked Hungarian pork soup made with baby back ribs. Cooked with vegetables and pasta, the ribs are cooked for about two hours until they become fall-off-the-bone tender.

Claus, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

4. Jókai Bableves

Jokai bableves is a hearty Hungarian soup made with dried beans – like kidney, pinto, or navy beans – cooked with smoked pork, vegetables, egg noodles, Hungarian paprika, and other spices. It’s often topped with sour cream and commonly eaten during the winter months because of its warming properties.

Interestingly, jókai bean soup gets its name from a famous Hungarian writer named Mór Jókai. He was said to be a regular at a Balatonfüred restaurant where he almost always ordered this soup.

Photo by Fanfo

5. Meggyleves

If you’re accustomed to eating hot savory soups, then your first spoonful of meggyleves may come as a surprise to you. It refers to a Hungarian sour cherry soup made with whole fresh sour cherries, sour cream, sugar, and other ingredients like cloves and cinnamon.

A popular summer delicacy, Hungarian sour cherry soup is traditionally served over dinner, either as an appetizer or for dessert.

Photo by Mike Laptev


6. Körözött

Some people like sampling local beers when they travel. Others go for sausages. If you like trying different types of unfamiliar cheese, then you may want to try korozott. It refers to a spicy cheese spread popular in Hungary and in other countries where it goes by different names like smirkas (Slovakia), liptauer (Austria), liptaver (Slovenia), and liptao (Albania).

Korozott is made with a spreadable white cheese like cottage cheese or quark, along with paprika, onions, butter, caraway seeds, and other spices. It’s typically chilled and served as a spreadable appetizer with bread, crackers, or fresh vegetables.

Photo by pingpongcat

7. Lecsó

Lecso is basically a type of Hungarian vegetable stew or ratatouille. It’s made from Hungarian wax peppers (or bell peppers, banana peppers) and tomatoes sauteed in lard or bacon fat with onions, paprika, and other seasonings.

Lecso is especially popular in the summertime or in early autumn, when the best peppers and tomatoes are in season. It can be enjoyed on its own or served as a side dish, usually with bread.

Photo by zi3000

8. Rántott Sajt

Cheese is irresistible on its own, but even more so when it’s breaded and fried. You’ll find some form of fried cheese dish in many countries but in Hungary, the dish to look for is rantott sajt.

Meaning “fried cheese” in Hungarian, rantott sajt is made with a semi-hard or hard cheese – most commonly Trappista cheese – that’s coated in a breading mixture before being deep-fried to a golden brown. It usually comes in rectangular or triangular shapes and served with tartare sauce and a side of french fries or rice.

Photo by Jim_Filim

9. Libamaj

When thinking of the world’s most decadent food products, many people will probably say the same things – caviar, lobster, Kobe beef, foie gras, etc.

A popular but controversial ingredient, foie gras in Hungary is known as libamaj. I didn’t realize this until our visit but Hungary is known to be the third-largest producer of foie gras in the world, behind France and Bulgaria.

In Hungary, libamaj is traditionally fried in goose fat. It can also be roasted or smoked or made into a paté or mousse. Pictured below are some less expensive tins of libamaj commonly sold at Budapest’s markets.

10. Lángos

If you were to have just one street food dish in Budapest, then it should probably be langos (or maybe chimney cake). It refers to a type of Hungarian deep-fried flat bread that’s commonly sold at markets, street food stalls, and festivals.

Langos can be eaten on its own, brushed simply with garlic, or it can be topped with a variety of ingredients like grated cheese, korozott, sour cream, sausage, ham, or mushroom. It can even be topped with sweet ingredients like Nutella, jam, or powdered sugar.

Photo by [email protected]

Here’s a pair of less conventional langos dishes we tried at restaurants in Budapest. The one in the foreground was topped with arugula and sheep cheese while the one behind it is a langos burger.

11. Nokedli

You probably won’t order this next dish directly but you’ll have it often anyway in Hungary. A staple in Hungarian cuisine, nokedli refers to a type of soft dumpling or egg noodle dish similar to German spaetzle.

To prepare, a sticky batter made with flour, eggs, and water is spooned or pressed through a noodle grater into boiling water. The dumplings are boiled briefly before floating to the surface when cooked.

Nokedli can be enjoyed on their own with butter or served as a side dish, similar to rice or pasta. They’re commonly served with chicken paprikash or added to soups and stews like Hungarian goulash.

Photo by Ildi Papp


12. Túrós Csusza

Turos csusza refers to a rustic cottage cheese pasta dish made with fried szalonna as its key ingredient. Similar to Italian lardo or Slavic salo, szalonna is a type of Hungarian smoked bacon or pork fatback commonly used in Hungarian cuisine.

Turos csusza is made with flat and wide egg noodles (csusza) mixed with cottage cheese (turo), szalonna, and sour cream. It’s a beloved comfort food in Hungary that’s often enjoyed as a main course at family gatherings.

Photo by Angelika Heine

13. Töltött Kaposzta (Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

Stuffed cabbage rolls are a common dish in many European countries like Croatia, Poland, Romania, Armenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In Hungary, it’s called toltott kaposzta. A variety of ingredients like ground beef, smoked pork, rice, onions, and spices are rolled in fresh cabbage leaves before being cooked in a tomato-based sauce.

If you like stuffed peppers (dolma), then you’re probably going to enjoy toltott kaposzta. It’s a comforting dish that’s commonly served on a bed of sauerkraut with a generous dollop of sour cream.

Photo by Morana Photo

14. Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikash)

Like gulyas, paprikas csirke or chicken paprikash is one of the most well-known dishes in Hungary. It refers to a rustic chicken stew made with pieces of bone-in chicken – like thigh or drumsticks – cooked in a rich paprika-flavored sauce.

Chicken paprikas was one of the dishes I was most excited to try in Hungary. It’s a soulful comforting dish that’s commonly served with nokedli (or rice) and dollop of sour cream.

15. Pacal Pörkölt

If you’re a fan of tripe like I am, then you’ll definitely want to try this Hungarian tripe stew called pacal porkolt. It’s a traditional Hungarian dish made with strips of tripe stewed in a rich sauce flavored with onions, garlic, paprika, and other spices.

Be sure to eat this hearty dish with some freshly baked crusty bread for the most satisfying experience. Just looking at this picture is making me hungary! (sorry)

Photo by Pozhar_S

16. Hortobagyi Palacsinta

Hortobagyi palascinta refers to savory Hungarian crepes filled with a stew-like preparation of ground meat, usually veal or beef.

To prepare, the meat is stewed with onions, tomatoes, peppers, paprika, and garlic before being drained of sauce and stuffed into thin crepes (palascinta). The sauce is then generously poured over the filled crepes and finished off with a dollop of sour cream.

I, Themightyquill, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

17. Gulyás (Goulash)

There are many tasty meat dishes in Hungary but none are more well-known than gulyas or goulash, a hearty meat stew cooked with vegetables and seasoned with paprika. It’s widely considered to be a Hungarian national dish, something many people think of when they think of Hungary.

The origins of this emblematic Hungarian dish can be traced all the way back to the 10th century. It was consumed by shepherds who’d dry the cooked meat under the sun and store it in bags made from sheep’s stomachs. Interestingly, these early versions of gulyas weren’t made with paprika since the spice wasn’t introduced to Europe until the 16th century.

Gulyas stems from the Hungarian word gulya, meaning “herd of cattle”. Gulyas literally means “herdsman” or “cowboy” in Hungarian, but it’s also used to refer to this hearty meat stew.


18. Somlói Galuska

Somloi galuska is a type of Hungarian trifle made with layers of sponge cake interspersed with pastry cream, ground walnuts, and raisins. It’s traditionally served by “scooping” three balls of the trifle cake onto a plate or bowl, and then topping it with a generous amount of whipped cream and dark chocolate sauce.

Curiously, the word galuska literally means “dumpling”, perhaps in reference to the way this popular Hungarian cake is traditionally served.

Photo by Krisztian Tefner

19. Kürtöskalács

I usually prefer savory dishes over sweets but Hungarian food may be an exception, and it’s all because of this incredibly delicious spit cake known as kurtoskalacs.

Kurtoskalacs literally means “chimney cake” and refers to these chimney-shaped cakes made with yeasted dough. The dough is coated in sugar before being roasted over charcoal around a cylindrical rod and basted with melted butter.

Thanks to its sugary coating, Hungarian chimney cake is known for having a crisp, caramelized exterior and a soft, buttery interior. When it’s done baking, it can be topped with additional ingredients like ground walnuts or cinnamon powder.

Kurtoskalacs is delicious on its own but it’s even better when stuffed with a serving of vanilla ice cream. My god was this good!

20. Dobos Torte

Dobos torte is another Hungarian dessert that you need to try in Budapest. It refers to a sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with a crackingly crisp layer of caramel glaze.

Dobos torte is named after its inventor – Hungarian confectioner Jozesf Dobos. He devised the recipe sometime in the late 1800s (in an era before refrigeration) when he wanted to create a cake that would keep longer than other pastries.

Dobos coated the sides of his cake with ground hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or chestnuts – which together with the caramel glaze on top – succeeded in keeping it from drying out, thereby preserving its shelf life.

21. Mádartej

As a kid, I used to look up at the sky and think: “Hmmm, I wonder what that cloud tastes like?” These fluffy egg white clouds floating on a creamy vanilla custard remind me of those innocent times.

Called madartej in Hungary, this dreamy dessert of French origin (oeufs a la neige) consists of meringue floating in a smooth and silky pool of creme anglaise. Light and easy to prepare, it can be made with just five ingredients – eggs, milk, cornstarch, vanilla, and sugar.

Photo by Ildi Papp

22. Mákos Guba

If you like bread pudding and visit Hungary over the Christmas season, then you should keep your eye out for makos guba. It refers to a festive Hungarian dessert made with layers of sweetened stale bread and ground poppy seeds soaked in vanilla-flavored milk.

A favorite holiday dessert, makos guba is commonly served for dessert after Christmas Eve lunch in Hungary.

Photo by acceptphoto

23. Túrógombóc

I’m drawn to spherical desserts like profiteroles, cake balls, boba, and Chinese jiandui. The Asian-ness in me finds their auspiciously round and bite-sized shapes to be especially appealing.

In Hungary, one ball-shaped dessert you can try is turogomboc. These Hungarian cottage cheese dumplings are made from a dough of turo (cottage cheese), eggs, and semolina. The dough is shaped into bite-sized balls before being boiled and then rolled in sweetened toasted breadcrumbs.

Crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, these tasty cottage cheese dumplings are sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving. They can also be enjoyed with a side of fruit jam or sour cream.

Photo by Krisztian Tefner

24. Krémes

We ate many delicious things in Budapest but this creamy pastry may have taken the cake (pun intended).

Meaning “cream cake” in Hungarian, kremes torta refers to this heavenly dessert made with a generous amount of pastry cream sandwiched between two layers of puff pastry. It’s dusted with powdered sugar before serving and best enjoyed with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Delicious!

Kremes is a popular dessert that goes by different names throughout Europe like cremeschnitte (Germany), kremna rezina (Slovenia), napoleonka (Poland), and kremsnita (Croatia).

25. Szilvas Gomboc

Last on this list of must-try Hungarian food is szilvas gomboc. Like turogomboc, it’s another delicious dumpling dessert, but this time, it’s stuffed with sweet plums.

To prepare, a potato and flour dough is stuffed with plums and shaped into rounds before being boiled in water. When cooked, the dumplings float to the surface. They’re then rolled in toasted or fried breadcrumbs before being served with a dusting of powdered sugar.

These tasty Hungarian plum dumplings are especially popular in the summer when plums are in season.

Photo by pfongabe33


There are many fun things to do in Budapest but trying as much Hungarian food as you can should be on your list of priorities. Typical Hungarian dishes like goulash, chicken paprikash, and langos are no-brainers but you should definitely seek out more unconventional dishes like meggyleves sweet soup and pacal porklot as well.

In any case, I hope this list of Hungarian food favorites gets you even more excited to visit Budapest or any other city in Hungary. Thanks for reading and happy traveleating!


This Hungarian food guide contains affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free food and travel guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by Morana Photo. Stock images via Shutterstock.

Turkish Snacks: Get a Box of the Tastiest Treats From Turkish Munchies!

Who doesn’t enjoy a good snack?

We certainly do, which is why sampling a new destination’s local snacks is one of our low-key favorite things to do when we travel. Visiting the neighborhood convenience store or supermarket, to check out what goodies they have for us to try (along with the local beer), never fails to excite us.

In my opinion, Turkish food is one of the greatest cuisines in the world so it’s only reasonable to assume that Turkish snacks would be among our favorites as well. Just a quarter into our snack box from Turkish Munchies and it’s already shaping up to be that way!

Turkiye is famous for its kebabs and mezes but if you have a curiosity for Turkish snacks, then a snack box from Turkish Munchies may be for you.

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This Turkish Munchies review will cover the following points. Click on a link to jump to any section of the review.

  1. What is Turkish Munchies?
  2. How to get Turkish Munchies boxes?
  3. What’s inside a Turkish Munchies box?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  5. Final Thoughts on the Turkish Munchies box


Turkish Munchies is a snack box company that sends Turkish snacks once a month to its subscribers. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll get a carefully curated box filled with classic, new, and limited-edition Turkish treats.

Turkish Munchies is similar to Japanese subscription box companies like Tokyo Treat and Sakuraco, but what sets them apart is that they’ve devised their own snacking card game – called Yummy Battle Game – which you can get every month together with your box of treats.

More on Turkish Munchies’ subscription box options and their Yummy Battle Game in the next section.


There are basically three ways you can get your hands (and mouths) on a Turkish Munchies snack box. Please note that listed pricing plans are accurate as of August 2023.

1. Yummy Battle Game Subscription Boxes

If you’d like to have even more fun while raiding your Turkish snack box, then this subscription plan with the Yummy Battle Game is for you. Your first box will come with an initial deck of cards while each subsequent box will come with new additional cards to supplement the deck.

  • 1-game plan – USD 42.95 per box
  • 3-game plan – USD 38.95 per box
  • 6-game plan – USD 36.95 per box
  • 12-game plan – USD 34.95 per box

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Yummy Battle Game and to subscribe.

2. Snacks-Only Subscription Boxes

If you’re interested only in snacks, then this subscription plan is for you. Boxes come in regular sizes with 10 snacks, or x-large sizes with 20 snacks.

  • 1 month – USD 19.95 (regular) / USD 34.95 (x-large)
  • 3 months – USD 53.85 (regular) / USD 94.35 (x-large)
  • 6 months – USD 95.76 (regular) / USD 167.76 (x-large)
  • 12 months – USD 167.52 (regular) / USD 293.52 (x-large)

CLICK HERE to subscribe.

3. Ala Carte Boxes

If you’re unsure about getting a monthly subscription but would like to get one snack box, just to try it out, then you can order one ala carte. At the time of this writing, Turkish Munchies offers 12 different snack boxes curated around varying themes.

CLICK HERE to view the boxes and to order.

Ready to order? Get your Turkish Munchies snack box today!


Depending on which subscription plan or ala carte box you order, expect to receive a fun illustrated box filled to the brim with Turkish snacks. We got the Celebration Edition which included 20 twenty different tea biscuits, chocolates, chips, caramel treats, and Turkish candy.


Isn’t the box cute? Each ala carte box features a unique design that’s every bit as irresistible as the tasty goodies instead.

To be honest, I thought the box was a little small at first but looks can be deceiving. This box was neatly organized and very well-packed. I was surprised by how many snacks they were able to fit in here!

Kat Kat Tat

If you like croissants, then this Kat Kat Tat may be the first thing you reach for in this snack box. That’s what we did!

Kat Kat Tat is a croissant-like Turkish pastry flavored with different ingredients like chocolate, strawberry, hazelnuts, and sesame seeds. In Turkish, kat kat tat translates to something like “layers of flavor” – an appropriate name for a tasty snack that’s been enjoyed in Turkiye for decades!

Poti Cakes

If cakes are your thing, then you’ll definitely want to try these Poti Cakes. It’s a puffy cakey snack made in delicious carrot, coconut, fruit, and chocolate flavors.

Badem Crackers

People who grew up in 1990s Turkey are no strangers to these iconic crackers. A nostalgic treat, snacking on these tasty almond-shaped biscuits (badem means “almond” in Turkish) will surely bring back your fondest memories of childhood.


If you enjoy a lot of crunch in your snacks, then these Krispi stick-shaped treats are just for you. Crispy-liciously fun and addictive, they come in chili, cheese, and herb (coated in ten different herbs) flavors.

Krispi Tirtikli

Krispi Tirtikli is an equally delicious variation of our favorite Krispi sticks. They’re made in round flat shapes with a slightly ridged texture for even more texture with every bite.


I love wafer biscuits so this tantalizing pack of Hosbes was one of the first treats that caught my eye. Made by Eti, one of the biggest and most respected snack makers in Turkiye, these delicious Eti biscuits are made in a variety of flavors like chocolate cream, hazelnut cream, banana cream, and my personal favorite – strawberry cream.

Fittingly, hosbes in Turkish means “to have a warm and friendly talk with loved ones”. An ideal name for this tasty treat that’s best enjoyed with a cup of coffee or milk with your favorite people.


These yummy pizza-flavored Eti biscuits are another fan favorite. After all, who doesn’t like pizza?

As it turns out, Turkish people didn’t when pizza was first introduced to the market in the early 1990s. The general public didn’t like Italian pizza – perhaps because of similar Turkish delicacies like lahmacun and pide? – so almost all pizzerias in Turkey closed within a few years.

It wasn’t until the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a hit did pizza see a revival in Turkey. Kids started pestering their mothers for pizza, and the rest is history! Cowabunga dude!


Bidolu is another tasty wafer treat brought to you by the Eti company. Meaning “filled to the fullest” in Turkish, it’s a crispy and creamy parcel of deliciousness flavored with mouthwatering ingredients like cacao cream, hazelnut cream, peanuts, and pistachios.

Browni Cake

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

This popular brownie cake with the delectably moist texture and intensely chocolate-y flavor is a certified hit in Turkiye, so much so that Turkish people like to use it as a birthday cake! You can try it plain or infused with a scrumptious sour cherry sauce. Now if they only topped it with chocolate sprinkles…

Ozmo Tube

Chocolate is delicious, but liquid chocolate is even better. Squeeze Ozmo cream onto some bread or biscuits for an instant chocolate rush – anytime, anywhere.

Biscolota Mood

Think of Biscolota Mood as Turkish fortune cookies, but filled with chocolate. Each of these fun little cookies has a small picture on it with a corresponding description/fortune on the back of the box. They’re in Turkish but you can send us a picture on Instagram to ask what they mean!


If you love olives like we do, then you’re going to enjoy these Greta crackers. They’re olive-flavored crackers enhanced with the unique flavors of Aegean seeds and herbs.


Like Badem Crackers, Harby is one of the most beloved and iconic Turkish snacks. It’s a light chocolate treat that’s equally as delicious on its own or dipped in a cup of Turkish tea.

Eksi Yuz

If I tell you what this candy’s name means in Turkish, then it’ll spoil the surprise. Just pop it in your mouth and get ready to pucker up!


Turkish pop rocks. Need I say more?

Bebeto Jelly Gum

If you’re a gummy fiend like I am, then you’re definitely going to enjoy this pack of Bebeto Jelly Gum shaped like pizza and cola.

Turkish Delight

One of the best souvenir snack foods you can buy in Turkiye is lokum or Turkish delight. It’s an irresistible selection of gelatinous confections made with a wide variety of ingredients like rosewater, mastic, nuts, orange jelly, dried apricots, and powdered sugar.

A Turkish favorite since the late 1700s, it’s something people need to try when they visit Istanbul, especially with Turkish coffee. Luckily for you, Turkish Munchies will deliver some straight to your home!

Nutzz Party

I love snacking on seeds and nuts when watching big sporting matches on tv. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are my personal favorites but boiled peanuts are a close second. If you enjoy binging on nuts like I do, then this packet of Nutzz Party is definitely for you.

It’s a crunchilicious bag of peanuts, unpopped corn kernels, and other crispy treats flavored with cheddar and onion, honey and mustard, or hot pepper. Now if they can only add sunflower seeds to the mix…


Chewy candies make me happy so this pack of Tofita chews had me smiling from ear to ear. They come in delectable fruit flavors like cherry, strawberry, orange, and blackberry.

Caramel Waffle

Stroop or caramel waffles are to die for. They’re a beloved Dutch treat but thanks to Turkish Munchies, you can have your own Turkish version delivered right to your doorstep! Be sure to enjoy it with a cup of hot coffee or tea for maximum yumminess.

Mystery Snack

If the snack gods are smiling down upon you, then your box of Turkish Munchies may include a mystery treat. I guess it was our lucky day!

We opened up our box and found one more biscuit to tantalize our taste buds with. This Probis cookie sandwich will go great with milk, coffee, or a warm cup of tea. Teşekkür ederim!


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Turkish Munchies snack box. Check out their website’s FAQs page for more information.

How much is shipping?

Free shipping applies to US/Canada orders exceeding USD 50 and for Yummy Battle Game subscriptions. Otherwise, shipping rates will be calculated based on your shipping address upon checkout.

Can I cancel my subscription at any time?

Yes, you can cancel your subscription at any time and get a refund for any unclaimed boxes (minus discounts). You can refer to their refund policy for more information.

Can I skip a box?

Yes, you can. If for any reason you’d prefer not to receive a box on any particular month, then you can skip it via your Turkish Munchies admin panel. You can do this as often as you like.

Is it worth getting the Yummy Battle Game?

I haven’t played it so I can’t answer that question. But I am a fan of games and collectibles and the Yummy Battle Game is definitely something I’d get. It’s all up to you.


If you’re a fan of those Japanese or Korean snack boxes, then you may want to give Turkish Munchies a try as well. As previously described, we haven’t gone through the entire box yet but we’ve enjoyed everything we’ve eaten so far.

Food takes you places and this box of Turkish Munchies will give you a small but tasty glimpse into Turkish snacking culture. Thanks for reading and happy snacking!

Ready to order? Get your Turkish Munchies snack box today! 


Turkish Munchies sent us the Celebration Edition box in exchange for an honest review. As always, all thoughts, words, and opinions expressed in this article are mine and mine alone.

Some of the links in this Turkish Munchies review are affiliate links, meaning we’ll make a small commission if you purchase a box or make a snack subscription at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides.

Çok teşekkür ederim!!

15 of the Best Restaurants in Essaouira, Morocco

By the end of our first day, one thing was clear – Essaouira was our favorite city in Morocco. This tiny port town along Morocco’s Atlantic coast charmed us with its well-preserved medina, windy ocean views, and easygoing small-town vibe. It reminded us in many ways of Marrakesh and Tangier, but smaller and more intimate.

Being so close to Marrakech, Essaouira is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Morocco. For such a small town, it’s home to a surprisingly large concentration of restaurants serving a wide variety of food. You’ll find restaurants serving traditional Moroccan food, fresh seafood, and international fare like Italian and Asian food. We even found a place that serves Japanese takoyaki!

Personally, we gravitate towards traditional food and healthier eating options so that’s exactly what you’ll find in this food guide – fifteen of the best restaurants in Essaouira serving wholesome fare and the tastiest Moroccan food.

Bon appetit!


To help with your Essaouira trip planning, we’ve put together links to top-rated hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.


Recommended hotels in the medina, the best area to stay for first-time travelers to Essaouira.

  • Luxury: Riad Chbanate
  • Midrange: Riad Dar Awil
  • Budget: Riad Dar Latifa


  • Sightseeing Tour: Half-Day Old Town Guided Tour
  • Watersports: 2-Hour Surf Lesson
  • Cooking Class: Traditional Family Style Moroccan Cooking Class


  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Marrakech Transfer

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There are so many restaurants to choose from in Essaouira. I’ve divided this guide into two sections – traditional Moroccan restaurants and healthier plant-focused eateries that serve salads and vegetarian/vegan food.

You can click on the links to jump to either section of this Essaouira food guide.


1. Blue Mogador

Blue Mogador is one of about a dozen restaurants in a square just off one of the main avenues (Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah) in Essaouira’s medina. It’s a lovely restaurant that serves many traditional Moroccan dishes like couscous, tagine, pastilla, and grilled fish and seafood.

Before they serve your appetizers and entrees, they’ll start you off with some brined olives and fresh bread (like most restaurants in Morocco).

If you enjoy fresh vegetables with your meal, then there’s no better dish to start with than Moroccan salad. It’s a simple but delicious salad made with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and herbs in a light vinaigrette dressing.

If you like eggplant, then you’ll definitely want to try the zaalouk as well. It’s a delicious Moroccan side dish or salad made with cooked eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, spices, and olive oil. It’s great with fresh bread and something we enjoyed making ourselves in this Marrakech cooking class.

Being a coastal city, there’s no shortage of fresh seafood in Essaouira. Virtually every traditional restaurant serves sardines, fish, and other types of seafood.

Pictured below is our tasty octopus tagine served in a delicious tomato-based sauce with herbs amd green olives.

Here’s a better look at the octopus. Instead of serving the tentacles whole, they cut them up into these bite-sized pieces.

Fresh fish is abundant in Essaouira but sardines are clearly the most popular. In fact, sardines make up around 62% of Morocco’s fish catch. Morocco processes around 600,000 tonnes of sardines each year, making it the largest exporter of canned sardines in the world.

Fresh sardines are sold at the fish market daily so you’ll find many restaurants in Essaouira serving plates of grilled sardines. Personally, if I could eat just one dish in Essaouira, then it would definitely be grilled sardines. They’re cheap, healthy, plentiful, and just delicious.

We ate at many of the restaurants in this square and Blue Mogador was one of the prettiest. Aside from serving consistently good food, every restaurant offers al fresco dining like this which is one of the reasons why we enjoyed this square so much.

It was hard to get a good picture of the square but this is basically what it looks like. There are a little over a dozen restaurants here, many of which are featured in this Essaouira food guide. We enjoyed this square so much that we wound up visiting half of its restaurants in two weeks.

You can refer to the location map at the bottom of this article to navigate to the square.

Blue Mogador

Address: 75 Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-11PM, daily
What They Offer: Traditional Moroccan dishes, seafood

2. Restaurant Zaytouna

Zaytouna is another traditional Moroccan restaurant located in the same square as Blue Mogador. They have similar offerings like tagine and couscous but what drew us to this place were their set menus. They offer around six 3-course set menus at different price points, some with exclusively vegetarian options.

I went with the first vegetarian option which came with either tomato or vegetable soup as its first course.

For my second course, I had a choice between vegetarian couscous or vegetable tagine. I went with the latter.

I didn’t have a choice for my third course, which is just fine because these orange slices dusted with cinnamon were the perfect end to my simple but delicious vegetarian Moroccan meal.

At the time of our visit in July 2023, this vegetarian set meal cost just MAD 65.

For my wife’s MAD 80 set meal, she had a choice between Moroccan salad or zaalouk for her first dish. Tough decision but she ultimately went with the former.

This sardine ball tagine was the reason she chose this set menu. Rolled into two-bite balls and served in a bubbling tomato-based sauce, it’s delicious and another great way to enjoy sardines in Morocco.

If sardine tagine isn’t your thing, then you can choose couscous with chicken and vegetables or chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemon as well.

For her third course, she was given the choice between the same orange slices I had or Moroccan mint tea. There’s no better way to end a Moroccan meal than with a warming pot of mint tea!

Zaytouna is located across the courtyard from Blue Mogador.

Restaurant Zaytouna

Address: Place Chrib Atay, 16, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11AM-10:30PM, daily
What They Offer: Traditional Moroccan food, set menus

3. La Rose du Sud

La Rose du Sud is the restaurant located right next to Zaytouna. After lunch at Zaytouna, we took a look at their menu and told the owner that we’d be back the next day. Like its neighbor, they offer traditional Moroccan food, seafood, and a few set menus as well.

La Rose du Sud offers around five permanent set menus. On the day of our visit, they were also offering a special set menu that featured whole grilled sea bream. I chose Moroccan salad for my starter.

Here’s a look at my beautifully charred sea bream. As described, locally caught seafood is abundant in Essaouira so you’ll often find whole grilled fish like this one on many restaurant menus.

I was served this bowl of fresh fruit salad for dessert. This set meal was a little more expensive at MAD 85, but absolutely worth it.

My better half went with one of their permanent set menus featuring this beautiful plate of couscous with meat and vegetables. She had Moroccan salad and fruit salad for her first and final courses as well.

La Rose du Sud is a very similar restaurant to Zaytouna so you can choose one or the other if you like. We enjoyed both equally.

La Rose du Sud

Address: G67H+JMC, Essaouira, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, daily
What They Offer: Moroccan dishes, set menus

4. Chaabi Chic

Chaabi Chic was one of our favorite restaurants in Essaouira. It’s a hidden gem with a great rooftop terrace, not too far from Essaouira’s ramparts and that famous Game of Thrones filming location. We went here a couple of times to enjoy their food and drink Moroccan tea.

We started lunch here one day with (you guessed it) our favorite salad in Morocco – Moroccan salad! Looking back at these pictures, we must have ordered this at least once every other day.

Can you tell by now what this next dish is? It’s another favorite of ours – zaalouk. We enjoyed zaalouk almost as often as Moroccan salad and this version at Chaabi Chic was one of the most delicious we’ve had so far.

For her entree, my better half had this lovely salad nicoise. It was tasty but for some reason, it wasn’t made with any tuna. Boo!

Grilled chicken brochettes are a common dish in Morocco. On some occasions, you’ll find restaurants serving grilled turkey skewers as well. You don’t see them that often so I always order a plate whenever I spot it on a restaurant’s menu.

Served with some herbed rice and grilled vegetables, these turkey brochettes from Chaabi Chic were tender and super delicious.

You can’t see the ocean from here but the views you get from Chaabi Chic’s rooftop are among the most enjoyable we found in Essaouira. You can see the tops of people’s houses and the seagulls hovering above them. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy a pot of Moroccan tea.

Chaabi Chic is tucked away in a corner in a not-so-busy part of the medina so it can be easy to miss. They serve great food at affordable prices so it’s definitely worth seeking out.

Here’s another look at Chaabi Chic’s terrace. Aside from indoor seating on the second floor, you can choose to sit at one of these clusters of tables on the rooftop. Just be sure to dress warmly because it can get pretty cold and windy up here.

Chaabi Chic

Address: Rue Boutouil, Essaouira, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, daily
What They Offer: Turkey brochettes, tagine, couscous

5. Restaurant Sayef

Sayef is another hidden gem and in my opinion, one of the best restaurants in Essaouira. It’s located in a small alley just off the main street so hundreds of people probably walk by without even realizing that it’s there.

Unlike the usual brined olives most restaurants in Essaouira serve you, Sayef starts you off with a tasty olive tapenade that you can enjoy with toasted bread.

Because it gets so windy in Essaouira, I warmed myself with this hearty bowl of harira. It’s a zesty lentil and chickpea soup made with tomatoes, onions, eggs, rice, herbs, and spices. Compared to their other dishes, this was average and probably not something I’d order here again.

Like my wife, I should have stuck with the Moroccan salad! It’s an ever-reliable dish that’s good no matter where you have it.

The harira may have been average but these monkfish brochettes certainly weren’t. Served with grilled potatoes and vegetables, these were tender, flakey, and oh-so delicious.

Fish kebabs are common in Morocco but I haven’t seen them made with monkfish all that often. If you like fish skewers, then you should definitely try this.

Another dish that we didn’t see as often in Essaouira is squid tagine. Perfectly cooked and served with a medley of vegetables and olives, you may want to try this as well if you’re as big a fan of cephalopods as we are.

Essaouira’s main street is always busy but Restaurant Sayef is located through this small alley which is why it’s easy to miss. With all the sights and sounds competing for your attention in Essaouira, many people probably wouldn’t think of walking through here.

Go through the rabbit hole and you’ll find one of the best restaurants in Essaouira waiting for you on the other side.

Here’s a shot of the restaurant’s interior. It’s simple but cozy.

Restaurant Sayef

Address: 12 Rue d’Agadir, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 12NN-10PM, Sat-Thurs / 1:30-10PM, Friday
What They Offer: Monkfish kebabs, tagine, couscous

6. Chez Zak

If you get a hankering for lobster in Essaouira, then Chez Zak is a great place to visit. It’s a small restaurant that specializes in spiny lobster and other seafood dishes like squid, prawn, and fish.

Here’s our delicious grilled lobster served with sauteed vegetables and a lemon butter sauce. At the time of our visit (July 2023), lobsters were priced at MAD 150 per 300 g. Not one of the cheaper meals you’ll have in Essaouira but hey, it’s lobster. Treat yourself!

Chez Zak offers a few fresh fruit juices as well like this refreshing glass of beetroot and orange juice.

There’s Zak himself waiting for us to take our pictures so he could grill up our lobster!

Like many restaurants in Essaouira, Chez Zak offers multiple levels of seating. We always go up to the rooftop if seating is available. At Chez Zak, there’s only one table on the rooftop so arrive early if you can.

This is the view you’ll get if you’re lucky enough to snag the rooftop terrace. It looks like a painting!

Chez Zak

Address: 56 rue elkhabbazine, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, Sat-Wed / 12NN-10:30PM
What They Offer: Lobster, seafood

7. Restaurant Baghdad

A lobster meal doesn’t come cheap but eating at Restaurant Baghdad is a great way to balance your restaurant budget in Essaouira. They serve good food at some of the best prices we’ve seen thus far in Essaouira. The entire meal pictured below, with bottled water, set us back just MAD 91!

Isn’t this salad gorgeous? They call it salade riche (rich salad) and make it with fresh green figs. Baghdad was the only restaurant we found that offered a salad made with figs.

You can’t visit Essaouira without enjoying a grilled sardine feast at least once during your stay. Such a simple but satisfying Mediterranean meal!

Our tasty vegetable tagine to round out a healthy and delicious lunch in Essaouira. Aside from tagines and grilled seafood, Restaurant Baghdad offers Moroccan tacos, brochettes, couscous dishes, and pastillas as well.

Restaurant Baghdad is another gem located just off the main street. It’s situated closer to Bab Doukkala, a more local part of the medina that not as many tourists visit.

This is what Restaurant Baghdad’s interior looks like. We arrived early but the place filled up pretty quickly for lunch. Not surprising considering their excellent food and unbeatable prices.

Restaurant Baghdad

Address: Rue Baghdad n7, 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11AM-11PM, daily
What They Offer: Grilled seafood, salad, tagine, couscous

8. Restaurant Safran Citron

We prefer traditional restaurants and comfort food to five-star dining but Safran Citron was probably the closest we came to a fine dining experience in Essaouira. It isn’t a fine dining restaurant per se, but they do serve excellent, more well-put-together food in a lovely restaurant setting.

We started our meal at Safran Citron with this bubbling lentil and vegetable tagine. Served in a rich tomato-based sauce, we had lentil dishes often in Morocco but never quite like this. It was delicious and very comforting.

Here’s a look at my beautifully charred sea bream. As described, locally caught seafood is abundant in Essaouira so you’ll often find whole grilled fish like this one on restaurant menus.

This plate of grilled octopus has to be one of the tastiest dishes we’ve enjoyed in Essaouira and Morocco thus far. Perfectly cooked and redolent with the flavors of paprika and garlic, it was sensational and one of the best octopus dishes I’ve had anywhere.

Like every restaurant we visited in Essaouira, all the fish and seafood served at Safran Citron are as fresh as can be.

There was a mix-up with our order so the owner was kind enough to serve us a complimentary pot of tea and these tasty Moroccan pastries. Unless I’m mistaken, the biscotti-like cookie is called fekkas while the ring-shaped pastry is known as kaak d’Essaouira. Merci!

Safran Citron is located just outside the square of restaurants featured many times in this guide.

Isn’t the restaurant’s interior lovely? Safran Citron was hands down the prettiest and most atmospheric traditional restaurant we visited in Essaouira. When I think of Moroccan restaurants, this is exactly what I see!

Restaurant Safran Citron

Address: 12 Rue Laalouj, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11:30AM-10:30PM, daily
What They Offer: Grilled seafood, tagine, couscous, brochette


As much as we love meat tagines and Moroccan tacos, we’re middle-aged travelers so eating healthy has become more of a priority for us. Thankfully, people looking for healthier options and plant-based restaurants have lots to look forward to in Essaouira.

9. Mandala Society

There’s no better way to start the healthy eating section of this Essaouira restaurant guide than with Mandala Society, arguably the most popular health-focused restaurant in the city. It’s a modern restaurant that serves an appetizing menu of brunch dishes, salads, and veggie burger options.

How delicious does this vegan buddha bowl look? It’s made with a medley of oven-roasted vegetables served with steamed quinoa, homemade hummus, pumpkin seeds, and argan oil.

Equally delicious was this aubergine mosaic – a tasty dish of oven-baked eggplant slices served with baby onions, garlic confit, homemade cheese, local root vegetables, herbs, and sweet paprika aioli.

Mandala Society offers a few homemade cakes and pastries as well. If you enjoy the sweeter things in life, then you may want to try this guilt-free vegan brownie cake.

Aside from their healthier food options, another thing we loved about Mandala Society was their collection of herbal teas. They have about nine or ten different blends to choose from, like this “Immune System” infusion made with ginger, chamomile, turmeric, and green cardamom.

Mandala Society is located in a prime spot along the main street in Essaouira’s medina. It’s almost always packed at peak meal times so may you may want to go at slightly off-peak hours.

Mandala Society has a restaurant in Marrakech as well, which we’ll be visiting very soon!

Mandala Society

Address: Av. de l’Istiqlal, Essaouira, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9:30AM-10:30PM, daily
What They Offer: Vegan/vegetarian dishes, healthy food

10. Retro Corner

Retro Corner is one of our favourite restaurants in Essaouira. Like Mandala Society, it’s a cute and modern restaurant that serves a variety of healthy and modern Moroccan classics in a prime spot in Essaouira’s medina.

Pictured below is our favorite Moroccan salad plated in a more elegant and striking way.

This is Retro Corner’s version of our favourite Moroccan eggplant dip – zaalouk.

Yes, this quinoa avocado salad was every bit as healthy and delicious as it was beautiful.

Sardine chermoula is one of my wife’s favorite Moroccan street food dishes. We’ve had it many times throughout Morocco but this version at Retro Corner was the best we’ve had thus far. Wow was this good!

Not to be outdone by the sardines, I had the grilled sea bream which was the most delicious preparation of this fish I’ve had anywhere in Morocco. Served with two whole fillets seasoned with a homemade spicy sauce, I’m salivating just looking at this picture right now!

Retro Corner is located just off Av. Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah. It’s a colorful and modern restaurant that’s sure to catch your eye when you pass by. They offer an extensive menu of breakfast platter sets, Moroccan dishes, and comfort food options like burgers, pizza, pasta dishes, and crepes.

Before we were served our food, I found their prices to be a bit on the expensive side. However, they do serve you big portions so you do get what you pay for. Highly recommended!

An inside look at Retro Corner’s cute and colorful interior.

If they’re available, then you may want to sit on one of these counter seats facing the street. Retro Corner is on a busy street so it’s fun to do a little people-watching while enjoying one of your best meals in Essaouira.

Retro Corner

Address: N, 05 rue abdelaziz Al fachtali, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-10PM, Mon-Wed / 9:30AM-10PM, Thurs-Sat (closed Sundays)
What They Offer: Breakfast sets, Morrocan dishes, healthy food, comfort food

11. Azouka Eatery

Azouka Eatery is another restaurant located in that same square previously mentioned in this Essaouira food guide. It’s owned and operated by a lovely young couple who offer brunch dishes and small, healthy tapas-like bites of food.

Pictured below is Azouka’s version of herb tabbouleh, but instead of bulgur, it’s made with broccoli instead. It’s topped with dukkah (nut and spice mixture) and a few slices of nectarine.

You’re probably well-acquianted with this next dish by now. It’s their take on eggplant zaalouk enhanced with garlic oil and black lime. Delicious!

No respectable zaalouk should ever be eaten on its own, so we paired it with a couple of thick slices of their homebaked sourdough rye focaccia.

Azouka Eatery is located on the second floor of the square. If you’re looking for light snacks that are actually good for you, then Azouka Eatery is a great restaurant to visit in Essaouira.

The restaurant has a small shop as well that plays great music and sells a few knick-knacks like ceramics, clothing, and organic food products.

Azouka Eatery

Address: 75 Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-4PM, Tue-Sat (closed Sun-Mon)
What They Offer: Healthy brunch and lunch dishes

12. Le Corail at Latifa

If you’re a vegan, then you have two great restaurants to choose from in that same square as Azouka Eatery and some of the other restaurants on this list. The first is Le Corail Vegan Food, a small restaurant that offers a wealth of fresh juices and Moroccan vegan dishes like veggie burgers, spring rolls, and vegetable tagines.

Unlike the usual brined olives served at almost every Moroccan restaurant, we were given a small plate of sliced bananas dusted with cinnamon.

We shared a plate of our favorite Moroccan salad to kickstart today’s healthy meal.

For my main course, I had this bountiful chickpea and vegetable tagine. Moroccan tagines can sometimes be oily but this one was made with just the right amount of oilve oil. Very healthy indeed!

My better half was craving for food that reminded her of home so she went with this plate of spring rolls stuffed with chickpeas, spinach, and mushroom. It was served with a side of delicious pasta, which was a bonus.

Here’s a sneak peak inside the spring rolls.

We didn’t expect to find vegan food in a small city like Essaouira so Le Corail was a pleasant discovery. They have so many vegetable tagine dishes on their menu! Do pay them a visit if you’re in the mood for something simple and healthy but delicious.

Le Corail at Latifa

Address: BP423 Place Al Khaima, Heb, 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, daily
What They Offer: Vegetable tagines, spring rolls, veggie burgers

13. Shyadma’s Vegan Food

Shyadma’s is located just a stone’s throw from Le Corail and offers similar vegan dishes like salads, soups, vegan tagines, and vegetable couscous. It’s run by a lovely Moroccan family where the mother (presumably Syadma) does all the cooking while her young children help with serving the customers.

Similar to Le Corail, they started us off with an appetizer of bananas, apples, and olives.

It was especially windy in Essaouira that day so I wanted to warm up with a bowl of lentil soup. Made from scratch, this was one of the tastiest and most lovingly made bowls of lentil soup I’ve had in Morocco thus far.

Shyadma calls this a warm vegetable salad. It’s basically boiled potatoes served with green bean salad and a zaalouk-like eggplant puree. Simple but hearty and delicious.

Shyadma doesn’t offer nearly as many vegetable tagines as Le Corail but what she does make tastes 100% homemade. What you’re looking at below is her tagine of French green beans with olives and preserved lemons.

When you enjoy a meal at Shyadma’s, it really does feel like you’re sitting down to a homecooked meal in someone’s home. So comforting and delicious, and cheap too. Today’s meal set us back just MAD 80!

Do you see why we enjoyed this square so much? So many tasty restaurants somewhat tucked away and hidden from the most touristy parts of Essaouira.

Shyadma’s Vegan Food

Address: Place El Khayma, Rue Laalouj, Essaouira, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11AM-10:30PM, daily
What They Offer: Vegan tagines

14. Picknick Cafe

Picknick Cafe was also one of our favorite restaurants in Essaouira. Similar to Mandala Society or Retro Corner, it’s a cute, well-designed cafe that offers a focused menu of brunch dishes, healthier food options, specialty coffee, juices, and smoothies.

What you’re looking at below is their salmon bowl. It’s a beautiful salad made with a generous amount of grilled salmon, avocado, cucumber, and tomato.

Equally delicious (and Instagram-worthy) was this gorgeous grilled chicken bowl made with marinated chicken breast, grilled vegetables, and tortilla chips.

Picknick Cafe offers water flavored with lemon, mint, and other ingredients as well. This one was infused with the throat-soothing qualities of ginger.

Picknick Cafe is hidden in plain sight, just a few minutes walk from Bab El Mechouar. Soon as you enter the gate, start looking for it on your right side.

Picknick Cafe has a small but lovely and well-put-together interior. If I remember correctly, the description on their menu mentioned that the cafe actually started in Germany before opening this branch in Essaouira.

Here’s my equally lovely and well-put-together wife showing me what she thinks of me on this fine Sunday.

Picknick Cafe

Address: 22 Rue Youssef El Fassi, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9:30AM-9PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What They Offer: Brunch dishes, salad bowls

15. Koozina

I’ve recommended a few hidden gems in this restaurant guide, but Koozina is probably the best-kept secret in Essaouira.

Koozina isn’t tucked away in some obscure corner in the medina. On the contrary, it’s located in plain sight. It’s situated just outside the medina’s walls, not too far from Bab Marrakech Tower, in an area where many tourists probably wouldn’t go to look for food. You’ll see what I mean later.

Aside from its location, what makes Koozina interesting is that the restaurant doesn’t have a permanent menu. Instead, the lovely owner and chef writes the menu on a chalkboard based on what fresh ingredients are available at the market on that day.

On the day of our visit, we were treated to this earthy and delicious squash and tahini puree.

For our second starter, we went with this bright and sunny cold octopus salad.

I love Moroccan chicken brochettes but this version at Koozina was different from any other I had enjoyed before. They were slathered with a dark, deeply flavorful sauce and served with a side of maaqouda (Maghrebi fritters) and the chef’s very own creation – tomato crumble. Everything on this plate was fantastic.

Note the heart shapes on the chicken skewers. Aren’t they cute?

For our second entree, we went with the stuffed aubergine. They were filled with a tasty mixture of eggplant, ground meat, and spices before being topped with microgreens and served with a side salad and that delicious tomato crumble.

You can refer to our location map to navigate to Koozina, but if you walk outside the medina’s perimeter, then you’ll inevitably reach this structure. Koozina is located through here.

Here’s Koozina’s lovely outdoor seating area. Beautiful right? This is easily one of the most pleasant places to enjoy a meal in Essaouira.

This is the chalk menuboard I was telling you about earlier. We arrived early so we got to see the chef write out the day’s offerings.


Address: 44000, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-8PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What They Offer: Farm-to-table daily specials

BONUS: Cafe l’Esprit

As far as I could tell, outside of their specialty coffees, teas, and pastries, this place only offers avocado toast on their menu. They aren’t really a restaurant but Cafe l’Esprit is such a cute cafe that I had to add it to this list.

Located within earshot of the ramparts and ocean, Cafe l’Esprit offers one of the loveliest cafe settings we experienced in Essaouira. We sat outside for some French apple pie and pots of tea while enjoying Essaouira’s famous ocean breeze.

Cafe l’Esprit is a tiny cafe with one or two tables indoors, but the best place to sit is outside against that wall. Some tourists pass here to get to the ramparts so it’s a nice place to sit and people-watch while sipping on hot cups of herbal tea.

Here’s my lovely wife blending in with the patterns and enjoying our last day in Essaouira.

Cafe l’Esprit

Address: In front of Zaouia Sidna Blal, 32 Rue Touahen, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-7PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What They Offer: Avocado toast, pastries, specialty coffee and tea


To help you navigate to these Essaouira restaurants, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.


We focused on traditional Moroccan restaurants and healthy food options in this guide, but if you’re in the mood for delicious pasta and pizza, then you’ll have plenty of restaurants to choose from in Essaouira.

One highly recommended Italian restaurant is Gusto Italia. They’re located near the beach, around a 20-minute walk south of the medina. Its TripAdvisor and Google reviews are gushing so it may be worth the trek just to get a change of scenery from the ancient medina.

As you can see from this list, Essaouira may be small but you won’t have any trouble finding delicious food – both local and international – in this exceedingly charming city.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful time in Morocco’s “windy city” – Essaouira!


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Casablanca Food Guide: 8 of the Best Restaurants in Casablanca, Morocco

I’ll be honest – Casablanca isn’t our favorite city in Morocco. Unlike Marrakech, Fes, or Essaouira, it’s a big modern metropolis that doesn’t have much in the way of tourist attractions. Aside from the Hassan II Mosque, there isn’t as much to see and do there.

But Casablanca’s size does promise one thing – delicious food. We stayed for two weeks on our last trip and found Casablanca to be a sprawling city with pockets of interesting neighborhoods and restaurants offering traditional Moroccan food, international fare, and healthy eating options.

If you’ll be spending a few days in this Moroccan city made famous by its movie namesake, then here are eight restaurants in Casablanca that you may want to check out.


To help with your Casablanca trip-planning, we’ve put together links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel services here.


Top-rated accommodations in and around Gauthier, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Casablanca.

  • Idou Anfa Hôtel & Spa
  • Yto boutique Hotel
  • StayHere Casablanca Ghautier Apartments


  • Sightseeing Tour: Casablanca City Tour
  • Food Tour: Central Market Food Tour with Tastings and Lunch
  • Day Trip: Chefchaouen Day Trip with Lunch
  • Cooking Classes: Casablanca Cooking Classes


  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Airport Transfer

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We love authentic Moroccan food but being middle-aged travelers, healthy eating has become increasingly important to us as well. This Casablanca restaurant guide will give you a good mix of both.


If finding places that serve authentic Moroccan food is important to you, then you may want to check out any of these first four restaurants.

1. Saveurs du Palais

This was one of our favorite restaurants in Casablanca. It’s a traditional Moroccan restaurant that serves authentic and tasty food. From their many Moroccan salads to their wide variety of tagines and traditional Moroccan pastries, everything we had at this restaurant was delicious.

Pictured below is one of our favorite starters – Moroccan salad. It’s a simple and refreshing salad made with chopped fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and herbs.

We had fish or seafood tagine many times in Marrakech and Tangier but we never got to try sardine ball tagine. Thank goodness we got to try it in Casablanca because it’s seriously delicious!

Tagine made with any type of meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetable is one of the tastiest and most traditional Moroccan dishes you can find in this country. We’ve enjoyed every type of tagine thus far but fish ball tagine – especially the ones made with sardine – may be our favorite.

Equally delicious was this tagine chevreau messlala or goat tagine. If you prefer meat to seafood, then you may want to order this.

We’ve eaten at many traditional restaurants in Morocco but Saveurs du Palais offers one of the widest and most interesting selections of tagines we’ve seen so far. They also offer tagines made with beef, beef liver, tripe, beef tongue, pigeon, rabbit, and more.

Tagine is something you definitely need to try at least once in Morocco. In Casablanca, Saveurs du Palais is one of the best places to have it.

We sat at a regular table but if you’d like to have a more Moroccan experience, then perhaps you’d like to sit at one of these couch tables instead.

Saveurs du Palais

Address: 28 Rue Jalal Eddine Sayouti, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-10:30PM, daily
What to Order: Tagine

2. Chez Michel et Hafida (Tasty Fresh Seafood!)

If you’re in the mood for inexpensive but fresh seafood, then this humble restaurant is one of the best places you can go to. It’s located at the central market (marche central) – a cluster of two dozen or so produce shops and restaurants serving fresh fish and other types of seafood.

Sardines are a staple fish in the Moroccan diet and fried or grilled stuffed sardines are among our favorite iterations. They’re typically stuffed with chermoula – a type of North African marinade made with garlic, fresh herbs, spices, olive oil, and lemon juice. It’s delicious and equally popular in the cuisines of neighboring countries like Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

Many seafood dishes at Chez Michel et Hafida are served with grilled vegetables, potatoes, and a sharp and spicy harissa-based sauce.

If you like mussels, then you definitely need to try this mkela de moules. It’s basically a type of mussel tomato stew served in a shallow pan or pot also known as a mkela (or mkila, mqila). Paired with khobz, it’s absolutely delicious.

No, these aren’t undercooked french fries. What you’re looking at is the most ridiculously tender platter of grilled squid served with roasted vegetables.

Chef Michel et Hafida is one of many seafood restaurants at the central market. Many places here are known for serving delicious food but we chose this place based on the strength of its reviews.

Chez Michel et Hafida

Address: Stall 192, Marche Central, Bd Mohammed V, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-9:30PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Seafood dishes

3. Solamo’s

As described, Hassan II Mosque is the top tourist attraction in Casablanca. You’ll probably find yourself there at some point so it’s good to know which restaurant to visit. Most restaurants in the area weren’t to our liking but thankfully, we found Solamo’s.

Solamo’s is one of those restaurants that serves everything. From breakfast sets to comfort food like Moroccan tacos and traditional dishes like tagine and couscous, they’ll probably have it here.

Brochette is something you’ll find on the menu of many traditional Moroccan restaurants. They make them with different types of meat, poultry, and seafood but if you’re unsure what to get, then you may want to try this brochette mixte. It comes with minced meat, merguez sausage, chicken, and steak along with a side of grilled vegetables and pasta.

I wanted to eat a little healthier today so I went with this tasty plate of grilled salmon with roasted vegetables and herbed rice.

With their diverse menu, Solamo’s isn’t the most traditional restaurant on this list but they do serve good food at affordable prices. Do check them out after visiting Hassan II Mosque.


Address: Bd d’El Hank, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
Operating Hours: 6AM-12MN, daily
What to Order: Breakfast, Moroccan dishes, comfort food

4. Dalia Ricks

Like Solamo’s, Dalia Ricks is another Moroccan restaurant that serves a little bit of everything. You can get breakfast sets and traditional Moroccan dishes like brochette and pastilla but you can also go for comfort food like Moroccan tacos, pizza, and sandwiches.

Many dishes looked appealing to us but because of our gregarious and very persuasive server, we went for the menu of the day which started with these hefty bowls of Moroccan salad.

And the daily special? Fish ball tagine!

Unlike the sardine balls at Saveurs du Palais, I believe these were made with merlan or whiting. They were made with rice and had a softer, fluffier texture than the sardine balls.

Dalia Ricks is located near Beth-El Temple, a Jewish synagogue just off Bd d’Anfa.

Dalia Ricks

Address: Ibnou Hayane, 61 Rue jaber, Bd d’Anfa, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 7AM-11PM, daily
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan food, comfort food


As described, eating healthier has become a priority for us. Thankfully, we found a few delicious health-oriented and plant-based restaurants in Casablanca.

5. Organic Kitchen

Organic Kitchen is one of the best and most popular healthy restaurants you can visit in Casablanca. They offer an extensive and creative menu of healthy dishes in a refined space in the swanky Anfa neighborhood.

Organic Kitchen offers a good selection of vegetarian dishes but they do offer sandwiches, tartines, and salads made with healthier proteins like salmon, white fish, and chicken breast as well.

Pictured below is my incredibly delicious chicken shawarma. It’s made with marinated chicken breast, fresh vegetables, and pumpkin seeds served in an herbed pita wrap. Isn’t it gorgeous?

The chicken shawarma is served with yogurt sauce and a side of vegetables and fries.

I didn’t want the fries so they were kind enough to replace them with more fresh veggies. Merci!

My better half went with the buddha bowl which was made with the tastiest Asian-inspired marinated chicken served with quinoa, beetroot hummus, guacamole, leafy greens, and vegetables. An Organic Kitchen bestseller, the chicken in this salad was amazingly delicious and reminded us of Filipino adobo.

Without question, Organic Kitchen is one of the best restaurants in Casablanca for healthier eating. It’s pricier than some of the other restaurants on this list – around MAD 100-200 per dish – but it’s worth it. We’ll definitely come back on every return trip to Casablanca.

Like their dishes, the restaurant itself is lovely. It just feels good to be here.

Organic Kitchen

Address: 6-8 Rue Ahmed El Mokri, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-10:30PM, Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun)
What to Order: Healthy dishes

6. Niya

If you’re a vegan, then you need to make your way to Niya, a terrific plant-based restaurant in the trendy Gauthier neighborhood of Casablanca. They offer a seasonal menu of creative and delicious vegan dishes in what could well be one of the cutest restaurant spaces in Casablanca.

What you’re looking at below is the salade de kale d’été or summer kale salad. It’s made with kale, marinated chickpeas, nectarine and avocado slices, green beans, red onions, and almonds served with an earthy argan ginger miso sauce.

This fantastic dish is Niya’s version of paella, everyone’s favorite Spanish dish. They call it low-carb paella because it’s made with iodized saffron cauliflower rice instead of Bomba or Calasparra rice. This was my first time trying cauliflower rice and I can proudly call myself a believer! My god was this good.

Aside from cauliflower, this low-carb paella also had peas, broccoli, green beans, roasted red peppers, crispy “chorizo”, and herbed aioli. Delicious!

If you’re in the mood for healthier pasta dishes, then you may want to try this equally delicious pasta alla norma. It’s made with a hefty portion of whole-grain organic penne topped with homemade basil tomato sauce, fried eggplant, and almond ricotta.

Who needs meat when you have healthier alternatives that taste as good as this?

Niya is set in an intimate space that was designed to look like someone’s living room or private library. If I understand correctly, they change their dishes every season so you may want to check out their menu for the latest offerings.

Isn’t the restaurant cute? It felt so cozy in here.


Address: 34 Rue Sebou, Casablanca 20100, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-9:30PM, Tue-Sat / 10AM-5PM, Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Vegan food

7. Khos

If you’re in the mood for great salads and fresh juices, then head on over to Khos – a salad and juice bar that offers healthier sandwiches and desserts as well.

Like any salad bar, you can build your own salad by ingredient but we decided to go with their salad suggestions, starting with this vitaminé e. Hefty and delicious, it’s made with turkey, quinoa, hummus, avocado, broccoli, and cabbage dressed in a pesto parmesan sauce.

They call this one Scandinave. It’s made with smoked salmon, quinoa, arugula, avocado, cucumber, and carrot topped with a creamy yogurt-based dressing.

The glass of juice behind the salad is called antioxydant. It’s a delicious and refreshing blend of beetroot, banana, and orange.

Khos is located in a quiet neighborhood about a 10-15 minute walk east of Arab League Park. It seems to be popular with office workers in the area so you may want to go at slightly off-peak lunch hours to avoid the crowd.

The restaurant’s interior is as clean and appealing as the food they serve.

The Khos maestros adeptly putting our salads together. On our next visit, we’ll try building our salads from scratch.


Address: 44 Rue Annoussour, Casablanca 20140, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-5PM, Sun-Fri (closed Saturdays)
What to Order: Salads, sandwiches, fresh juices

8. Holy Brunch

As their name suggests, this popular restaurant in Gauthier is known for their brunches. It isn’t exactly a health restaurant like the previous three but they do offer a few dishes for people looking to enjoy a healthier meal in Casablanca.

This bright and sunny bowl is called sunny chicken. It’s made with grilled chicken served with brown rice, red cabbage, raisins, pistachios, peanuts, herbs, and fresh vegetables tossed in a Thai citrus sauce.

My better half wanted to go with something a little more indulgent so she went with this trio de tacos. It consists of three pancake tacos stuffed with different fillings like whipped cream, mangoes, apples, bananas, ricotta, walnuts, and speculoos.

We visited Holy Brunch on a Sunday and it was easily the most popular restaurant we went to in Casablanca. Located in trendy Gauthier, it’s a fun restaurant with many sweet and savory options so it wasn’t hard to understand why!

If you’d rather not wait for a table, then you may want to try going on a weekday or at off-peak hours.

Holy Brunch

Address: Angle rue Theophile Gauthier et, Rue Al Bouhtouri, Casablanca 20012, Morocco
Operating Hours: 8AM-7PM, Mon-Fri / 9:30AM-7PM, Sat-Sun
What to Order: Brunch-style dishes


To help guide you to these restaurants in Casablanca, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.


I haven’t seen it but many people from around the world have heard of Casablanca from the Academy-award-winning movie. It’s about an American expat who owns a nightclub and restaurant in Casablanca called “Rick’s Cafe”.

From what I understand, no parts of the movie were actually filmed in Casablanca but there’s a well-known restaurant in the city that’s said to mimic the restaurant from the film. Also called Rick’s Cafe, it isn’t the type of restaurant we look for on trips but fans of the movie may want to check it out.

One restaurant we did want to go to but unfortunately couldn’t – because it was closed for Eid al-Adha –was Asie’tte. It’s primarily a Japanese restaurant but they do serve food from other Asian cuisines like Thai and Chinese. The restaurant has stellar reviews so you may want to check them out if you come down with a craving for Japanese and Asian food.

In any case, that’s about it for our list of some of the best restaurants in Casablanca. If you have anything to add, then please do let us know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and have a delicious time in Casablanca! “Here’s looking at you, kid!”


This article on the best restaurants in Casablanca contains affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking or purchase at no additional cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Merci!

Tangier Food Guide: 12 of the Best Restaurants in Tangier, Morocco

We absolutely LOVED Tangier. Within a few hours of arriving in this city, we couldn’t help but fall for its hilly streets, easygoing vibe, and magnificent ocean views. We had just spent a month in the much drier landscape of Marrakech so Tangier felt like an oasis!

Located on the northwestern tip of Morocco and Africa, Tangier lies along the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar – a narrow strait that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Like anywhere in the country, traditional Moroccan dishes like tagine and couscous abound but the real draw in this coastal city is the seafood. From grilled sardines to swordfish tagine to fried calamari, seafood lovers will have lots to look forward to here.

We recently spent three weeks in Tangier looking for the best restaurants to have the tastiest seafood and most delicious Moroccan food. Here’s what we found.


To help you plan your trip to Tangier, we’ve compiled links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.


Recommended hotels in and around the medina, one of the best areas to stay for people on their first trip to Tangier.

  • Luxury: Grand Hotel Villa de France
  • Midrange: La Maison de Tanger
  • Budget: Tanja Lucia Hostel


  • Sightseeing Tour: Tangier Full-Day Grand Tour
  • Food Tour: Food Walking Tour
  • Day Trip: Day Trip to Chefchaouen & Panoramic of Tangier
  • Cooking Classes: Tangier Cooking Classes


  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Airport Transfer

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1. Cafe Hafa

There’s no better way to start this article on the best restaurants in Tangier than with Cafe Hafa. This legendary cafe has been offering its guests mint tea with some of the most spectacular views in Tangier for over a hundred years.

Cafe Hafa consists of two parts – a cafe and a restaurant. You can eat and drink tea at both but people looking for heavier dishes like tagine or seafood need to go to the restaurant. They offer a wider menu with traditional dishes and comfort food like tagine, fried or grilled seafood, sandwiches, salad, and pizza.

What you’re looking at below is one of their most popular dishes – grilled swordfish with a side salad and fries. It was highly recommended to us by our server and rightfully so.

If you prefer a softer and flakier fish, then perhaps you’d like to try this grilled whiting instead. It’s a type of whitefish that’s oilier and less meaty in texture.

Vegetable tajine is something we need to have with every Moroccan meal. They can be made with different vegetables but Cafe Hafa’s version had a generous amount of cubed potatoes.

And of course, a glass of delicious mint tea to wash everything down with. I enjoyed Moroccan tea so much that I stopped drinking coffee altogether!

Cafe Hafa has been open since 1921 and has attracted celebrities and creatives like Henri Matisse, The Rolling Stones, William S Burroughs, and Yves Saint Laurent over the decades. Today, it’s no longer the Bohemian and intellectual enclave it once was but it remains one of the most popular cafes in Tangier. Wait until you see the view.

This is the cafe section of Hafa. It consists of multiple tiered levels of open-air seating with an unobstructed view of the Strait of Gibraltar. We only drank mint tea here but they do serve a few light dishes as well, like msemen and other types of bread.

This is one of the restaurant’s seating areas. The cafe and restaurant are operated separately.

Here’s a shot of the view from the cafe area. Spectacular isn’t it? My camera can only capture so much so it’s even better in person. That landmass in the distance is Spain.

The sun can be a bit much but they do offer a few areas with covered seating. You’ll probably want some shade because it’s easy to get lost in that view for hours.

Cafe Hafa

Address: Rue Hafa, Tangier, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily
What to Order: Seafood dishes, tagine, comfort food

2. La Terrasse – Dar El Kasbah (Kasbart)

The street where this restaurant is on is one of our favorites in Tangier. It’s a steep street that runs along the western side of the kasbah and is filled with many good Moroccan restaurants, one of them being La Terrasse – Dar El Kasbah.

Also known as Kasbart, La Terrasse doesn’t offer as wide a menu as some of the other restaurants on this list but they do offer Moroccan favorites like tagine, zaalouk, taktouka, and couscous. Pictured below was my incredibly delicious anchovy tagine.

Aside from Moroccan dishes, La Terrasse offers a few Western-style dishes as well, like this salmon bagel sandwich made with smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, arugula, and chives.

Healthy eaters will love the fact that Kasbart offers a wide selection of fresh juices as well.

We were lucky to stay at the top of this hill and not too far from Kasbart. We enjoyed their food and fruit juices, but the one thing that stood out the most was the restaurant itself.

True to its name, Kasbart was one of the prettiest and most artistic restaurants we visited in Tangier. This first-floor seating area was nice but I highly recommend going up to the rooftop terrace.

Isn’t this space lovely? This has to be one of the prettiest rooftop dining areas in Tangier.

Kasbart has a small shop as well selling clothing and accessories. You can dine here too if you like.

La Terrasse – Dar El Kasbah (Kasbart)

Address: 14 Rue de la Kasbah, Tanger, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-10PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Tagine, Moroccan salads, breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit juices

3. Chez Hassan Bab Kasbah

Chez Hassan is a great restaurant located at the bottom of the hill from Kasbart. We ate here several times as it’s probably one of our top three favorite restaurants in Tangier. It’s an inexpensive but delicious Moroccan restaurant that serves many different types of meat and seafood tagine and grilled brochette dishes.

Before we get to the entrees, here’s a quick shot of Chez Hassan’s olives. Nearly every restaurant in Tangier starts you off with brined olives but these were the best. They’re marinated with harissa (Maghrebi chili pepper paste), giving them an extra kick. Delicious!

If you’d like a grilled seafood dish with a little bit of everything, then you may want to get this mixed seafood brochette platter. If I remember correctly, it comes with barbecues prawns, squid rings, and three types of skewered fish. You can get it with a side of Moroccan salad, vegetables, or french fries.

Chez Hassan’s grilled calamari was absolutely delicious – tender and charred in parts – so we had to get a whole plate of it on another visit.

Their chicken brochette is fantastic as well, probably the best we had anywhere in Tangier. At the time of our visit in June 2023, three large skewers went for just MAD 60.

We ate at Chez Hassan once on a Friday so we had to get the vegetable couscous. Couscous is a special dish that’s traditionally eaten only on Fridays in Morocco.

As described, Chef Hassan Bab Kasbah is an inexpensive restaurant that serves delicious food so expect it to be full at peak meal times. Even our Airbnb host called it his favorite restaurant in Tangier.

Chez Hassan Bab Kasbah

Address: 8 Rue de la Kasbah, Tanger 90000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 12:30-11:30PM, daily
What to Order: Tagine, grilled seafood, brochette

4. Dar Harruch

Don’t miss Dar Harruch. Not only do they serve delicious Moroccan food, but this lovely restaurant is hidden deep inside the medina. Eating here will make you feel like you’ve discovered one of Tangier’s lesser-known gems.

Dar Harruch offers typical dishes like tagine, couscous, and brochette but they offer a few Spanish dishes as well like tortilla de patata and flan. They started us off with these small clay dishes of bean stew, brined olives, harissa, and khobz.

If you’re in the mood for soup, then you may want to try harira. It’s a hearty and warming Moroccan soup made with lentils, chickpeas, and tomatoes.

Dar Harruch offers a few grilled and fried fish dishes but I highly recommend trying the swordfish plate. It’s made with a big, perfectly cooked swordfish steak and a side of pilaf and grilled vegetables. This was delicious and probably the best swordfish dish I had in Tangier.

We ate at Dar Harruch on a Friday. You know what that means right? Couscous! This time, we got it with lamb.

The vegetables in the couscous weren’t enough so we ordered this vegetable tagine as well. The vegetable dishes in Morocco are so delicious.

Nestled deep within the labyrinth of alleyways in the medina, Dar Harruch can be hard to find so be sure to check our map for its exact location.

Aside from serving terrific food, we loved the friendly service and warm and cozy atmosphere of the restaurant as well. Dar Harruch is run by the loveliest Moroccan family which makes the experience of dining here even more memorable.

Dar Harruch

Address: Mohammed Torres medina, 35 Rue Hadj Mohamed Torres, Tanger 90000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan cuisine

5. Kebdani

We ate at many delicious restaurants in Tangier, but Kebdani may have been the most interesting. Aside from traditional dishes like tagine, pastilla, harira soup, and couscous, they offer a few “Rif” dishes on their menu as well.

We didn’t know what Rif meant so we googled it. Apparently, it pertains to the Rif region and Berber people occupying a part of northeastern Morocco. According to Brittanica, they’re a herding, cultivating, and sardine-seining culture that seems to have their own way of preparing food. Interesting!

Before we get to the entrees, Kebdani started us off with these small plates of stewed beans, olives, Moroccan salads, and khobz. Most restaurants in Tangier offer a few freebies like olives and bread but Kebdani offered the most, which was nice.

I’m a big seafood guy which is one reason why I loved Tangier so much. Almost every seafood restaurant offers some type of fried or grilled seafood platter. The types of seafood vary from restaurant to restaurant but at Kebdani, they give you two types of grilled fish, calamari, shrimp, and roasted vegetables.

If you’re hungry and you love seafood, then you need to get one of these.

Kebdani offers a handful of Rif dishes like Rif salad and Rif tagine made with chicken or lamb. What you’re looking at below is Rif chicken tagine. A savory-sweet tagine that reminded us of mrouzia, it’s made with apricots, figs, grapes, plums, and almonds.

This is the only restaurant where we’ve seen Rif dishes. If you’re interested in trying less common but authentic Moroccan cuisine, then you need to enjoy a meal here. Prices are a bit higher than at other restaurants – about MAD 80-140 per tagine (as of June 2023) – but it’s worth it.

Kebdani is located inside the medina. You can refer to our map for its exact location.

Like many of the places on this list, Kebdani is a small restaurant with a warm and cozy atmosphere.


Address: Rue Dar Baroud, Tanger, Morocco
Operating Hours: 12NN-5PM, 7-11:45PM, daily
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan Rif dishes

6. Restaurant Al Maimouni

Al Maimouni was one of the tastiest restaurants we visited in Tangier. They serve different types of meat and chicken dishes but what we came here for, surprise surprise, was the seafood.

Before we get into that, here’s a look at the freebies they gave us – stewed carrots with zaalouk, brined olives, and khobz.

We’re more conscious of what we eat these days so vegetables are a big part of our diet. In Morocco, one of our favorite vegetable dishes to order is Moroccan salad. It’s a simple but delicious salad made with fresh vegetables like chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, herbs, and other ingredients.

Many restaurants in Tangier serve the same seafood dishes but not all are created equal. Grilled calamari isn’t hard to come by in Tangier but the version at Al Maimouni was one of the best. It was served with a butter-garlic-herb sauce that was so incredibly tasty.

We enjoyed many delicious dishes in Tangier, but this was easily one of our favorites.

Made with a similar sauce, this grilled sole was equally delicious. As you can see below, they give you a sizeable portion as well!

This was really nice. We wanted to order mint tea after lunch but our server told us that some tea and Moroccan pastries were already included. Merci!

Unless I’m mistaken, these are called ghoriba which is a type of Moroccan shortbread cookie made with ground almonds and toasted sesame seeds.

Restaurant Al Maimouni can be a little hard to find so be sure to refer to our location map to find it.

It was overcast when we went but on clear days, you may want to enjoy your meal on the rooftop. It provides no cover from the sun but it does offer fantastic views of the marina and kasbah.

Restaurant Al Maimouni

Address: Unnamed Road, Tangier, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11:30AM-11:30PM, daily
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan dishes

7. Restaurant Ahlen

Do a search for the best Tangier restaurants and Ahlen will surely come up. It’s one of the most popular and highly-rated restaurants in the medina, which isn’t hard to understand because their food is delicious and reasonably priced.

Pictured below is the plate of fresh house cheese, olives, and khobz they gave us for starters.

We usually order harira soup but today, we wanted something different. What you’re looking at below is a delicious and hearty bowl of lentejas or lentil stew.

Many restaurants offer sardine tagine but Ahlen was the only place we went to that had grilled sardines. We love sardine tagine but these alone are worth the return visits to Ahlen. So simple but delicious!

There’s nothing more delicious to pair with your meat or seafood than vegetable tagine.

Like Al Maimouni, Restaurant Ahlen offered us some delicious homemade desserts at the end of our meal. I don’t know what this one was called but it was delicious. Thank you!

Restaurant Ahlen is a popular restaurant in the medina so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

Restaurant Ahlen

Address: 8 Rue des Postes, Tangier 90000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 12NN-11PM, Thurs-Tue (closed Wednesdays)
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan food

8. Restaurant El Amrani

We love finding restaurants that cater mostly to locals on our travels. In Tangier, El Amrani is one of those restaurants. They don’t have a menu so ordering can be a challenge but it’s definitely worth the effort.

I suggest starting off with this always-dependable Moroccan salad.

I don’t know if their offerings change by the day but they always had sardine and chicken tagine. Pictured below is their tasty sardine tagine. They offer different types of brochette as well.

This one was the chicken tagine. It was made with a whole chicken leg and thigh and vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots. Delicious!

Restaurant El Amrani is located in the medina but it shouldn’t be hard to find. They don’t seem to have a lot of offerings but their food is delicious and their prices are very affordable. At the time of our visits, a meal for two typically cost us around MAD 70 in total.

Restaurant El Amrani

Address: Q5PQ+756, Rue Smihi, Tanger, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11AM-12MN, daily
What to Order: Tagine, brochette

9. Restaurant Bachir

Bachir was easily the most popular restaurant we went to in Tangier. It’s located closer to downtown Tangier, around a 15-minute walk south of the medina, so a vast majority of the customers at this restaurant are local.

Restaurant Bachir serves typical dishes like tagine, brochette, couscous, and seafood but they also have this beauty that you don’t see on every Tangier menu – cow feet and chickpeas. We’re originally from the Philippines so we love finding dishes like this in other countries.

Aside from this delicious dish, Bachir also offers other less common dishes like tripe and chickpeas, sheep’s head tagine, and lamb brain tagine. If you’re a curious eater, then you need to enjoy a meal here.

Can you guess what type of tagine this is?

If you guessed anchovy tagine, then you win a pat on the back. Just kidding. This was delicious.

If you like fish tagine, then another good dish to try is this swordfish tagine. They also have another version of tagine made with shrimp and swordfish.

Here’s another tagine that curious eaters may want to try. It’s called rigamonte and seems to refer to a type of stew made with a tomato-based sauce.

At Restaurant Bachir, you can get two types of rigamote – normal and especial. We tried the normal which was made with egg, liver, chicken, and meat (either lamb or beef). I believe the especial is made with different types of seafood.

If you need more protein in your diet, then these chicken skewers are an excellent choice as well. Some locals were ordering these by the dozen!

And of course, our favorite vegetable tagine to balance out all that meat and seafood.

If you visit Restaurant Bachir on a Friday, then couscous is an obvious choice. They make it with beef, chicken, wild chicken, vegetables, and lben (fermented milk).

Restaurant Bachir is hugely popular with the locals and it isn’t hard to see why. Their food is excellent, the service is fast and attentive, and their prices are very reasonable. A tagine here will cost you between MAD 20-45 which is much less than what you’d pay at most restaurants in the medina. Highly recommended!

On a side note, alcohol isn’t as easy to come by in a Muslim country like Morocco but we found a great liquor store not too far from Restaurant Bachir. It’s called Chez Ali and is about a 2-minute walk from this restaurant. Drink an extra shot for me in gratitude.

Restaurant Bachir

Address: Rue Zyriabe, Tanger, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11:45AM-1AM, daily
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan dishes

10. Romeo

Romeo is another great restaurant to visit if you’re willing to walk. Located near Plage Municipal Beach, about a 20-minute walk from the medina, they serve excellent seafood for much less than what you’d pay at many restaurants in the medina.

Before they served us our seafood, they started us off with a couple of freebies like this plate of bean stew.

They also gave us this plate of lentil stew, some brined olives, and a basket of khobz. Merci!

We need an ample amount of vegetables at every meal and Moroccan salad is always a good choice.

And for the main event – this bright and sunny mixed platter of grilled seafood. They usually serve this fried but you can ask that they grill them instead.

If I remember correctly, this seafood platter came with three or four types of fresh fish, calamari, and shrimp, all for just MAD 80! (June 2023). Our total bill with the Moroccan salad and bottled water came out to just MAD 100, which is less than what you’d pay for one entree at many restaurants in the medina. Awesome!

If you’d like to spend the day at beautiful Plage Municipale Beach, then Romeo is a great place to have a delicious and inexpensive seafood feast.


Address: Q5HW+76Q، Rue Abou Alae El Maari. Inm، Ibn Al Khatib A, Tangier 90000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-11:30PM, Mon-Fri / 11AM-11PM, Sat-Sun
What to Order: Seafood, sandwiches

11. Made in Healthy

We’re middle-aged travelers so eating healthy is becoming more and more of a priority for us. In downtown Tangier, one of the best restaurants to go to if you’re watching your waistline is Made in Healthy. They have a fantastic salad bar and offer many delicious ala carte dishes like poke bowls, sandwiches, burritos, and desserts.

Pictured below is my supremely tasty avocado tartine with poached eggs.

Isn’t this pretty? This is the beetroot hummus tartine with poached eggs. I love hummus and the versions at Made in Healthy are some of the best I’ve ever had.

When a restaurant’s name is on a dish, then that usually means it’s going to be good. This is the Made in Healthy poke bowl. It’s made with grilled chicken breast, hummus, and a melange of delicious vegetables.

We couldn’t decide on a dressing so our server was kind enough to give us a selection of all three. Thank you!

The made-to-order dishes are delicious but what we loved most about Made in Healthy is their salad bar. Your server will give you this order sheet so you can specify exactly how you’d like your salad made.

And voila! Behold my beautiful medium salad made with eight ingredients and two toppings, not to mention a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it all down with. The salads here are delicious and something we looked forward to often in Tangier.

Made in Healthy is located in downtown Tangier, about a 25-minute walk south of the medina. It’s a bit of a trek but absolutely worth it.

Made in Healthy is a lovely modern cafe that’s bright, green, and cheery. It just feels good to be here.

Here’s a look at the fresh salad bar. You don’t make the salad yourself. You just fill out the form and the resident salad queen will make it for you.

Made in Healthy

Address: Q5GR+CJC, Tangier, Morocco
What to Order: Salads, poke bowls

12. Nougat de Tanger

This last entry isn’t a restaurant, but if you like delicious desserts and snacks, then you’ll probably want to seek it out. The Nougat de Tanger stall makes some of the best nougat we’ve had anywhere. They’re soft, chewy, nutty, and just absolutely delicious.

The Nougat de Tanger stall is located in one of the busiest parts of the medina so it shouldn’t be hard to spot. As you can see below, there’s always a line of customers waiting to get their hands on their tasty nougat.

At the time of our visit, their nougat sold for MAD 200 per kg.

Nougat de Tanger

Address: Q5PQ+25P, Rue Siaghine, Tanger, Morocco
What to Order: Nougat

BONUS: Place de Parc

As a bonus, I wanted to share this beautiful park with you. We enjoyed mint tea everyday in Tangier but this was our favorite spot to have it.

Place de Parc is a lovely park located near Cafa Hafa and the Phoenician Tombs. You can enjoy drinks here like Moroccan tea, coffee, soda, and juice. We only had tea here but I believe you can get some light snacks as well.

If you’re looking for a place to unwind, get lost in a book, or just take in the relaxing atmosphere of Tangier, then Place de Parc is an excellent place to do that.


To help you navigate to these restaurants in Tangier, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.


We’re partial to casual restaurants but if you’d like a more proper tablecloth dining experience in Tangier, then an often recommended restaurant is El Morocco Club. Located close to Kasbah Museum, they offer refined Mediterranean cuisine and a good selection of global and Moroccan wines.

If whole fish set meals sound good to you, then two restaurants you can visit are Le Saveur du Poisson and Al Achab. We were planning on going to Le Saveur du Poisson but we never got around to it. Perhaps on our next visit to Tangier.

Lastly, if the sound of Syrian food excites you, then you should definitely check out Abou Tayssir. It’s a humble but highly-rated Syrian restaurant located close to Chez Hassan Bab Kasbah.

Regardless of where you eat in Tangier, please be advised that restaurants tend to open later than advertised. The restaurant hours posted here are from Google Maps but we found that most places usually open an hour or two after their listed opening time. Be sure to plan accordingly.


Some of the links in this article on the best restaurants in Tangier are affiliate links. What that means is that we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Merci!

12 of the Best Restaurants in Marrakech, Morocco

When I think of destinations with the most interesting food, Morocco is one of the first places that comes to mind. It’s a fascinating blend of Berber, Mediterranean, and Andalusian cuisines with hints of European and sub-Saharan influences. Thanks to emblematic dishes like tagine and couscous, I’m like Pavlov’s dog – I can’t think about Moroccan food without salivating.

The food is incredible everywhere in Morocco but especially in the tourist capital of Marrakech. In fact, we took a cooking class in Marrakech and one of our instructors told us that she moved to this city specifically for its food!

Spend a couple of days exploring the many colorful souks in the medina and you’ll find dozens of Moroccan restaurants luring you in with their aromatic tagines, exotic spices, and bubbling hot pots of mint tea. With limited time and only a few meals to enjoy in Marrakesh, how do you find the best places to eat?

We travel for food so we spent a month in Marrakesh looking for the best restaurants to find standout Moroccan dishes like lamb tagine, royal couscous, briouat, and mechoui. We visited over two dozen restaurants but these twelve are our favorites.


To help you plan your trip to Marrakech, we’ve compiled links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.


Top-rated hotels in the medina, the best area to stay for first-time visitors to Marrakesh.

  • Luxury: Les Jardins De La Koutoubia
  • Midrange: Riad Matins De Marrakech
  • Budget: Riad Dia


  • Food Tour: Street Food Tour by Night
  • Souk Tour: 3-Hour Colorful Souks Tour
  • Sahara Desert Trip: Merzouga 3-Day Desert Safari with Food
  • Cooking Classes: Marrakech Cooking Classes


  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Airport Transfer

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1. Cafe des Epices

When I was doing research for the best restaurants in Marrakech, this cafe was on almost every list. I usually shy away from those places but everyone was waxing poetic about this cafe’s rooftop views so we went. As it turns out, everyone was right.

Cafe des Epices is a lovely cafe overlooking Place des Epices (spice square). They serve traditional Moroccan breakfast, sandwiches, salads, tajines, and dessert.

Pictured below is my delicious Moroccan breakfast consisting of an omelette, fruit salad, a basket of Moroccan bread, fresh orange juice, and either coffee or mint tea.

Morocco is known for many types of bread and you can try a few of them in this breakfast set. In this basket are msemen (Moroccan crepe), khobz, harcha, amlou, and barley bread. They come with four different types of dips and spreads – olive oil, honey, strawberry jam, and some type of peanut-based sauce.

We enjoyed this cafe so much that we wound up eating here twice, once for breakfast and another time for mint tea and dessert. Mint tea is an important part of Moroccan culture and something you’ll probably have often in Marrakesh.

When you see a dish or dessert with the restaurant’s name on it, then chances are, it’s going to be good. This is the Cafe des Epices cake made with Arabica coffee, Atlas walnuts, and noss noss icing. “Noss noss” refers to a Moroccan coffee drink made with equal parts coffee and milk.

As described, Cafe des Epices is located right next to the Place des Epices spice market.

This is the view from the second floor. The third-floor view looks pretty similar to this.

A good majority of restaurants in Marrakech offer rooftop seating. However, aside from the restaurants immediately surrounding Jemaa el-Fnaa, most don’t offer great views. This cafe does.

Here we are sitting on the rooftop. Marrakesh can get brutally hot so there are parasols to keep you shaded and a misting system to keep you nice and cool.

Cafe des Epices

Address: 75 Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily
What to Order: Moroccan breakfast, sandwiches, traditional dishes

2. Henna Cafe

We wanted to visit Henna Art Cafe but we found this restaurant’s menu to be more interesting so we went here instead. As its name suggests, they offer henna tattoos but we were here strictly for the food.

Instead of serving a full Moroccan menu of traditional food, Henna Cafe offers just a handful of dishes that you can order in small or large plates. It’s like having a Spanish-inspired Moroccan tapas meal right here in Marrakesh!

We ordered all six dishes on their menu but they started us off with some khobz, olives, harissa (Moroccan chili paste), and yogurt sauce.

We’ve had falafel a few times in Morocco but the version at Hena Cafe was one of the most delicious. Served with a side salad of fresh tomatoes and onions, they had a slightly bouncy texture that reminded me a little bit of chewy bread like Colombian pandebono.

Pictured below is a plate of loubia or warm butter beans cooked in a spicy tomato sauce.

What you’re looking at here is the Henna Cafe house salad made with fresh shredded cabbage, sliced apples, and raisins.

I love hummus but this was easily my least favorite dish from today’s meal.

This veggie tortilla, on the other hand, was delicious. It’s basically Henna Cafe’s take on tortilla de patata, one of my favorite Spanish tapas.

People who like eating meat need to order this dish. It’s lamb kefta meatballs slow-cooked with egg and onions.

Unlike most cafes and restaurants in Marrakech that serve just one type of mint tea, Henna Cafe offers about seven different types of Amazigh tea. Aside from classic Moroccan spearmint, they make them with different ingredients like wormwood, wild thyme, and geranium leaves.

Henna Art Cafe is more popular but I’m happy to recommend Henna Cafe as well. The tapas concept was fun and not something we saw at any other restaurant in Marrakesh.

As described, we were here strictly for the food but every other table at the time was getting henna tattoos. Getting a plate of Moroccan tapas and tea is a great way to while away the time while getting your tattoo done.

Henna Cafe

Address: 144 Arset Aouzal Rd, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11AM-7PM, daily
What to Order: Moroccan tapas

3. Mazel Cafe

Bahia Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marrakesh. The perfect time to go is early in the morning when there are fewer people, and a great place to have lunch after your visit is Mazel Cafe.

Located in Tinsmiths Square, about a 5-minute walk from Bahia Palace, Mazel Cafe offers elevated street food in a lovely cafe setting. They don’t advertise themselves as a healthy restaurant but you do get that sense from the dishes they offer and the fresh food they serve.

Pictured below is their Super Bowl made with falafel, hummus, red and white cabbage, cucumber, lentils, carrots, and tahini sauce. They serve food that tastes clean and not too heavy-handed on the seasoning.

Mazel Cafe serves a few pita sandwiches. Called pitanjia, this one was made with lamb shank slow-cooked with eggplant and onion and then served with a refreshing pea mint sauce.

This pita sandwich is called the pita kefta. It’s made with meatballs served with Moroccan tomato sauce, onions, tomatoes, fresh cheese, and eggplant.

French fries aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy eating but these were delicious. They were light and crisp without being oily or too salty.

Mazel Cafe is located in Tinsmiths Square, a lively square with lots of outdoor restaurants. Mazel is an excellent choice but there are many other restaurants here that you can check out after a visit to Bahia Palace.

Mazel Cafe

Address: 8 Place des Ferblontiers, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-8:30PM, daily
What to Order: Healthier Moroccan food

4. Snack Adam

You’ll find many of these Moroccan comfort food restaurants with the word “Snack” in the name. For lack of a better term, they’re basically casual restaurants that serve comfort food like sandwiches, hamburgers, pizza, and the Moroccan version of “tacos”. More on that later.

These snack restaurants were some of our favorite places to eat in Marrakesh. We went to many throughout the city but in the medina, our favorite was Snack Adam.

Pictured below is their version of salade Marocaine (Moroccan salad). Recipes vary but it’s a type of fresh salad made with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and other ingredients dressed in a light vinaigrette.

If you love comfort food like I do, then you need to try these Moroccan tacos. I know they look nothing like American or Mexican tacos but they’re absolutely delicious and something I couldn’t get enough of in Marrakesh.

A taco in Morocco is basically a burrito or wrap filled with different types of meat, poultry, cubed potatoes or french fries, cheese, and some type of sauce like bechamel or a mixture of ketchup (or harissa), mayo, and mustard. The fillings are neatly wrapped in a tortilla before being lightly grilled and served with a side of fries.

I don’t know why they’re called “tacos” but the origin of this popular Moroccan fast food dish seems to point to a shop called Tacos de Lyon in southeastern France. Owned and operated by a pair of Moroccan siblings, they introduced the dish in the mid-2000s before moving their shop to Casablanca in 2011. Today, you’ll find a snack shop serving Moroccan tacos on nearly every block in Marrakesh.

Tacos aren’t the healthiest Moroccan dish but they’re absolutely delicious and something you need to try at least once in Marrakech.

Another interesting dish you may want to try in Marrakech is the pastilla. Also known as bastilla or b’stilla, it refers to a savory pie made with crispy warqa dough typically filled with either poultry or seafood.

What makes pastilla interesting is that the baked pie is usually dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon before serving. Crunchy in texture thanks to the warqa dough, it’s sweet on the outside but savory on the inside which leads to quite a memorable taste experience.

Here’s what the filling of our pastilla looks like. It’s commonly made with chicken that’s first browned in butter and then simmered with onions, parsley, and a mix of spices.

Snack Adam serves some of the best tacos we had in Marrakech so I recommend trying it here.

Snack Adam

Address: Riad Zitoun kedim n 197, 50 m of, Avenue Jamaa El Fna، Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-11PM, daily
What to Order: Moroccan comfort food

5. Snack Grand Atlas

Snack Grand Atlas is another “snack-type” restaurant that we enjoyed in the medina. But instead of serving tacos, pizzas, and the usual Moroccan snack fare, they specialize in seafood which isn’t as common at Marrakesh restaurants.

Before we get into our seafood feast, they started us off with a basket of khobz and these delicious little plates of stewed lentils.

As previously mentioned, whenever we see the name of the restaurant on a dish, then we usually order it. What you’re looking at below is the Salad Grand Atlas. It’s a cold starter made with shrimp, squid, tuna, hard-boiled egg, vegetables, fruits, and cheese.

You can get different types of fried seafood or whole grilled fish at this restaurant but today, we felt like trying their fish tagine.

Here’s a closer look at those succulent chunks of fish swimming under all that tasty tomato sauce. This was delicious and a great tagine to try if you want something different from the usual lamb or chicken tagine.

These grilled fish kebabs were equally delicious. So moist and tender!

These were some of the best fish brochettes we’ve had in Morocco thus far, and that includes restaurants in coastal cities like Tangier, Casablanca, and Essaouira. We’re definitely getting these again on our next trip back to Marrakech!

Snack Grand Atlas is conveniently located just a few minutes walk from Jemaa el-Fna so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

Snack Grand Atlas

Address: Rue ibn marine, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9:15AM-10:30PM, daily
What to Order: Seafood dishes, Moroccan comfort food

6. Dabachi Chez Cherif

Dabachi Chez Cherif is a gem, especially if you’re traveling on a budget. They serve a full Moroccan menu of traditional dishes but we were here specifically for their set menus. At the time of our visit in May 2022, you can get one of two set menus for just MAD 60.

I ordered the chicken brochette set menu which started with this bowl of soup de legumes or vegetable soup.

How beautiful does this look? Both set menus come with salade mixte and olives so the spread you see below is good for two people. It was comprised of different types of Moroccan salads and side dishes, all of which were delicious.

These were my tasty chicken brochettes. To rehash, this set menu came with vegetable soup, Moroccan salads and side dishes, grilled chicken skewers, olives, bread, and a drink of your choice. All for just MAD 60!

My better half went with this equally delicious tajine kefta. It had all the same inclusions as the chicken brochette set menu except the bowl of vegetable soup.

We ate at many restaurants in Marrakech and these set menus at Dabachi Chez Cherif were among the best deals we could find. Don’t miss it!

Dabachi Chez Cherif is located in the heart of the medina. You can refer to the location map at the bottom of this article for its exact location.

Dabachi Chez Cherif

Address: Derb Dabachi Medina, Marrakech 40000 Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-11:30PM, Sat-Thurs (closed Fridays)
What to Order: Set menus

7. Amal Women’s Training Center

This place is interesting. Not only will you enjoy a delicious Moroccan meal for lunch, but you’ll be supporting a good cause as well.

Amal Women’s Training Center is a non-profit organization that uplifts disadvantaged women by giving them the necessary skills to find employment in the restaurant industry. Around 30-40 women are trained for 4-6 months every year to prepare Moroccan and international cuisine which you can enjoy at the center’s restaurant in Gueliz.

From what I understand, the menu at Amal changes daily. We went on a Friday so we had a good feeling what would be on the menu – couscous. Couscous dishes are traditionally eaten only on Fridays in Morocco. Friday is a holy Muslim day and is equivalent to Sundays in Christian cultures.

Couscous is the country’s national dish so there’s no better way to experience Moroccan flavors than with this dish. It’s served with seven different vegetables and some type of meat, in this case chicken and lamb.

I believe the drinks served at Amal change daily as well. If I remember correctly, the one in the foreground was made with watermelon while the one behind it was made with cucumber and lime.

The Amal Centre is only open for lunch from Monday till Saturday.

We didn’t make reservations but it may be a good idea to do so. We were the first people there so we were lucky to get the only table available.

Amal Women’s Training Center

Address: Rue Allal Ben Ahmed, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 12NN-3:30PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Daily Moroccan menu

8. Dar L’hssira

If you’d rather not wait till Friday to eat couscous, then you can go to one of the many great restaurants in the medina like Dar L’hssira. This highly-regarded restaurant offers a good selection of traditional dishes like tagine, tanjia, brochette, and couscous.

Before we get to the mains, we started with this delicious bowl of harira. It’s a traditional Moroccan soup made with lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and other ingredients.

If you like Indian samosas, then you need to order this Moroccan appetizer called briouat. Made with the same warqa dough used to make pastilla, they’re fried triangular pastries stuffed with a variety of different ingredients like meat, onions, vermicelli noodles, cheese, herbs, and spices.

Here’s an inside look at the briouat’s stuffing. These are a popular street food in Marrakech and available at many food stalls throughout the medina.

You can get many different types of couscous dishes in Marrakech but the one couscous that rules them all is rightfully named royal couscous.

Unlike ordinary couscous dishes that contain just one type of meat, royal couscous is made with a combination of different proteins like lamb, beef, chicken, and sausages.

Dar L’hssira is located about a 5-minute walk from the House of Photography museum in the medina.

Cute dining room right? I just love the interiors of these Marrakesh restaurants.

Dar L’hssira

Address: 15-12 Rue Tachenbacht, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 11AM-5PM, 6-11PM, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays)
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan dishes

9. Fine Mama

If you’d rather not get lost in the labyrinth of souks in the medina, then a good restaurant to go to is Fine Mama. It’s located just a short walk south of Jemaa el-Fna and offers a wide range of traditional dishes, mezzes, sandwiches, and Moroccan pastries.

What you’re looking at below is a mrouzia sandwich. Mrouzia is a savory-sweet lamb tagine made with raisins, almonds, honey, ras el hanout (spice mix), saffron, and other spices. It isn’t something you find at every Moroccan restaurant and Fine Mama was the only place we went to that served it in sandwich form.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure about Fine Mama at first. It seemed to be one of those touristy restaurants we tend to avoid but what drew us to it were their specials – like the mrouzia sandwich – and these mezze platters. The term mezze refers to a selection of starters commonly found in Turkey, the Levant, the Balkans, Greece, Egypt, the Caucasus, and the Middle East.

Fine Mama offers different types of mezze platters but we went with the mezze Marocain which came with briouates, zalouk (tomato eggplant dip), lentils, chickpeas, olives, beans, kefta and chicken skewers, and Moroccan salad. If you’d like to try many Moroccan specialties all at once, then this is a good platter to go for.

Fine Mama is located in a popular part of the medina with many shops and restaurants so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

We sat outside but they have a lovely dining room as well.

Here’s what their rooftop seating looks like. Like I said, nearly every restaurant in the medina will have something like this.

Fine Mama

Address: 89 Pass. Prince Moulay Rachid, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9:30AM-12MN, daily
What to Order: Traditional Moroccan cuisine, mezze platters

10. Dar Chef

Dar Chef is another great restaurant in the medina that offers a few less common dishes. They started us off with some olives and khobz before serving us our tangia and tagine.

Are you a fan of Turkish testi kebab from Cappadocia? If you are, then you’re probably going to enjoy tanjia as well. It refers to both the slow-cooked meat dish and the clay urn-like pot used to cook it.

Here’s our lamb tangia after it’s been transferred to a shallow clay pot. Tangia is cooked for several hours at a public oven so the meat is always fall-off-the-bone tender.

Tangia is a communal dish that’s traditionally associated with working Moroccan men.

Speaking of dishes that are harder to find, Dar Chef is a great restaurant to visit if you’d like to try mrouzia tagine and other Moroccan specialties like pigeon pastilla and camel tagine. Mrouzia is always readily available but the other two dishes need to be ordered in advance.

If you like lamb and don’t mind some sweetness in your food, then you should definitely try mrouzia.

Dar Chef is a hidden gem tucked away in the medina. It’s easy to miss unless you were looking for it so be sure to check our location map to see exactly where it is.

They weren’t conducting any that day but I believe Dar Chef offers cooking classes as well. That’s another thing you may want to do in Marrakech. We took a cooking class and aside from learning how to make tagine, we learned a lot about Moroccan culture and cuisine as well.

Dar Chef

Address: N°123 Bis Rue Kennaria, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 9AM-11PM, daily
What to Order: Moroccan dishes

11. Chef Lamine Hadi Mustapha

This was the very first restaurant we visited in Marrakech, and there was one reason for that – mechoui. It refers to a whole lamb or sheep that’s spit-roasted in an underground pit. It’s slow-cooked for several hours and results in some of the most meltingly tender meat that you can taste in Morocco. This is seriously delicious.

Mechoui is traditionally eaten by hand with khobz and a salt-cumin mix. If you like lamb, then you absolutely need to try mechoui in Marrakesh.

Of course, we needed fiber to help break down all that meaty mechoui goodness so we paired it with this vegetable tagine.

Chef Lamine Hadi Mustapha is a popular restaurant so it’s best to go early, shortly after they open.

Chef Lamine Hadi Mustapha

Address: Derb Semmarine, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-1AM, daily
What to Order: Meshoui

12. Terrasse Bakchich

In our opinion, this hidden gem is one of the best restaurants in Marrakech. We loved it for its food, affordable prices, excellent service, and charming setting.

Terrasse Bakchich is a Moroccan restaurant that serves the usual dishes like tagine, couscous, brochette, and tangia. They serve different types of tagine but I read that the rabbit tagine is one of their specialties so that’s what we went for.

Cooked with tomatoes and onions and glistening with olive oil, it was absolutely delicious and one of the most enjoyable meals we’ve had in Morocco thus far.

We also tried their lamb tangia which was very good as well.

And like the mechoui from the previous restaurant, we needed some vegetable couscous to pair with all that meltingly tender meat.

Lastly, there’s no better drink to pair with your Moroccan meal than mint tea. I enjoy it so much that I’ve stopped ordering coffee altogether!

Terrasse Bakchich is tucked away in an alley in the medina so be sure to check our map for its location.

This is what the restaurant’s rooftop terrace looks like. It’s small and simple but charming.

Here’s a picture of my better half reading the article from The Guardian describing Terrasse Bakchich as one of the “10 best places to eat in Marrakech, Morocco”.

Terrasse Bakchich

Address: 294 rue Talâa, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Operating Hours: 10AM-10PM, daily
What to Order: Rabbit tagine, traditional Moroccan cuisine


To help you navigate to these restaurants in Marrakech, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.


There’s much to love about Morocco and Marrakesh but for us, Moroccan food is one of the best reasons to visit this country on the northwestern tip of Africa.

Tagine and couscous are emblematic dishes that you can find pretty much anywhere in the medina. We hope this article helps you narrow down your restaurant choices and leads you to many memorable meals in Marrakech.

Aside from restaurants, Moroccan pastries and street food are delicious as well so I’ll probably write another article on our favorite food stalls in Marrakech. As already advised, cooking classes are a great way to learn about Moroccan cuisine so that’s something you may want to do as well.

Lastly, as enchanting as Marrakech can be, it can also be annoying. By that, I mean you may encounter a fair number of locals trying to scam you. They’ll either try to divert you to a shop or take you to the tanneries (not worth it).

So if someone stops and tells you there’s a mosque up ahead – meaning you supposedly can’t go that way – or offers their guide services, then just politely say no and keep walking.

In any case, thanks for reading this article on the best restaurants in Marrakech. Have a safe and amazing time in Morocco!


Some of the links in this article on the best restaurants in Marrakech are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no extra cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Marrakech Cooking Classes: Immerse Yourself in Moroccan Culture and Cuisine

Like in any country, one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with Moroccan culture is through their food. And in my opinion, the best way to get to know Moroccan cuisine is by taking a cooking class.

It’s one thing to enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal, but it’s another to learn how to make it. It’s like looking under the cuisine’s hood.

Morocco is home to one of the most colorful cuisines in Africa. It’s an interesting blend of Berber, Andalusian, and Mediterranean cuisines with notable sub-Saharan and European influences. When I think of Moroccan cuisine, the first word that comes to mind is flavor (followed by tagine).

Year after year, Morocco remains one of the most visited cities in Africa, and its most popular city is Marrakech. It’s the tourist capital of the country and the best place to learn the culinary art of Moroccan cooking.

There are many cooking classes in Marrakech, so we’re here to help you find the best one. Let’s fire up that tagine!

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We partnered with our friends at Cookly to come up with this guide to the best cooking classes in Marrakech. Moroccan food is a joy to make and these eight cooking classes are currently the most popular and highly-rated classes they have in Marrakech.

We took the first class on this list – at La Maison Arabe Marrakech – which is by far the most popular. I’ll describe it in more detail below but here’s a quick comparison chart of the eight cooking classes featured in this guide.

You can click on the links to go to the cooking class booking page. All classes offer free cancellation as long as you cancel 48 hours before the start of the class.

Name of Cooking Class Price (USD) Start Time Length of Tour
1. Half-day Cooking Workshop in La Maison Arabe $60 10AM, 3PM 3 hrs
2. Tajine Cooking Class in Riad Jona Marrakech $50 2:30PM, 5:30PM 2.5 hrs
3. Moroccan Cooking Class on a Farm by L’Atelier Faim d’Epices $67 9:30AM 6.5 hrs
4. Moroccan Cooking Class With Chef Khmisa $38 10AM, 2:30PM 4 hrs
5. Moroccan Fusion Class with 8 Dishes $95 8:50AM 6 hrs
6. Berber Cooking Class Day Trip from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains $88 9AM 8 hrs
7. Half-day Cooking Experience on Moroccan Dishes $30 10AM, 4PM 4 hrs
8. Make Tasty Berber Crepes with Joy $17 9:30AM, 3:30PM 3 hrs

1. Half-day Cooking Workshop in La Maison Arabe

As described, this was the cooking class we took. It’s held at La Maison Arabe Marrakech, a respected 5-star hotel in the medina. We’ve taken cooking classes in many cities around the world but this was the most high-tech. You’ll see what I mean later.

The class started at this salon where the chef gave us a brief introduction to Moroccan culture, Moroccan food, and the different spices and ingredients used in Moroccan cuisine.

After the primer on Moroccan culture and cuisine, the chef and his assistant served us cups of freshly brewed mint tea.

Remember what I said about this cooking class being the most high-tech class we’ve ever taken? These video screens are why.

Aside from the spotless and well-organized kitchen, what makes this class stand out are these video screens. Every cooking station is equipped with a dedicated monitor so students can easily follow what the chef is doing. How cool is that?

Here’s my better half intently watching the chef’s demo from the comfort of her station. After seeing this kitchen setup, it makes me wonder why more cooking schools don’t do this. It makes following the chef’s instructions so much easier.

The chef gave us a bread-making demo and invited a few students to come up to her station and knead the dough. My wife loves making bread so she jumped on the opportunity. There she is on the screen!

We learned to make three dishes today – zaalouk, taktuka, and chicken tagine.

Here we are prepping the fresh ingredients for zaalouk, a Moroccan salad of cooked eggplant and tomatoes.

You can’t talk about Moroccan cuisine without mentioning tagine. An emblematic symbol of Moroccan cooking, it refers to this conical cooking vessel and the dishes cooked in it. Today, we learned how to make chicken tagine.

Here are our artfully aranged plates of zaalouk and taktuka. We learned how to make those tomato roses ourselves.

Pair either side dish with khobz (traditional Moroccan bread) and you’re golden. These were delicious.

And voila! Behold our beautiful chicken tagine.

Moroccan cooking is a culinary art that’s best represented by the traditional tajine. There are many delicious dishes in Morocco but nothing is more representative of the cuisine than tagine. It’s a main dish that can be made with different types of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and fruit.

We had another engagement so we couldn’t stay, but students are invited to the main dining room to enjoy what they cooked after the class. Each student is also given a pre-made pastilla au lait for dessert. Thankfully, they were kind enough to pack what we cooked in takeaway boxes.

We haven’t taken any other cooking classes in Marrakech but based on popularity alone, then this class at La Maison Arabe Marrakech is the best one. We certainly enjoyed it and can happily recommend it to anyone.

This class lasts for three hours but La Maison Arabe Marrakech offers an express cooking workshop that takes just one hour. If you’re short on time, then you may want to take that one instead.

Half-day Cooking Workshop in La Maison Arabe

Schedule: Daily
Start Time: 10AM, 3PM
Duration: 3 hours
Capacity: 1-9+ people
Cost: USD 60 per person
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book

2. Tajine Cooking Class in Riad Jona Marrakech

This is another popular cooking class you can book on the Cookly platform, this time at Riad Jona Marrakech, a 4-star hotel in the southern part of the medina.

Unlike the class at La Maison Arabe Marrakech, you’ll have a choice of which dishes to make. Whether it’s zaalouk or briouates for a starter or chicken tagine, royal couscous, or seafood pastilla for your main dish, the choice is yours.

Tajine Cooking Class in Riad Jona Marrakech

Schedule: Daily
Start Time: 2:30PM, 5:30PM
Duration: 2.5 hours
Capacity: 2-6 people
Cost: USD 50 per person
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book

3. Moroccan Cooking Class on a Farm by L’Atelier Faim d’Epices

If you have a keen interest in Moroccan spices, then this next class is for you. It’s held at Faim d’Epices, a spice farm located about a half-hour drive west of the medina.

This cooking class is held from Wednesday till Monday. You’ll cook a full Moroccan meal that includes bread, salads, a main dish, and msemen. The main dish depends on what day your class is so be sure to look at their schedule if you have a preference.

Aside from learning how to make Moroccan favorites like lamb tagine and royal couscous, you’ll be given a workshop on Moroccan spices as well.

Moroccan Cooking Class on a Farm by L’Atelier Faim d’Epices

Schedule: Wednesday-Monday
Start Time: 9:30AM
Duration: 6.5 hours
Capacity: 1-9+ people
Cost: USD 67 per adult, USD 41 per child ages 7-12
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book

4. Moroccan Cooking Class With Chef Khmisa

If you’d like to take a class that starts with a visit to a local market, then this class may be for you. It’s helmed by Chefs Khmisa and Kawtar, two Moroccan women with a passion for Moroccan cooking and the credentials to match.

After buying your ingredients and spices from the market, you’ll be taught to make Moroccan salads, tagine, and a pastilla for dessert.

Moroccan Cooking Class With Chef Khmisa

Schedule: Daily
Start Time: 10AM, 2:30PM
Duration: 4 hours
Capacity: 1-9 people
Cost: USD 38 per adult, USD 35 per child ages 4-10
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book

5. Moroccan Fusion Class with 8 Dishes

If cooking two or three dishes isn’t enough for you, then this cooking class may be the one for you. Headed by Edwina Golombek, you’ll start with a market visit before learning how to make eight dishes in this 6-hour class.

Moroccan Fusion Class with 8 Dishes

Schedule: Saturday-Thursday
Start Time: 8:50AM
Duration: 6 hours
Capacity: 1-6 people
Cost: USD 95 per person
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book

6. Berber Cooking Class Day Trip from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains

If a cooking class held in the medina isn’t exciting enough for you, then how about booking one that takes you on a day trip to the beautiful Atlas Mountains?

Starting with a market visit to buy your ingredients, this Berber cooking class will take you to the Ourika Valley before proceeding to a Berber family’s home. You’ll learn how to make mint tea and Moroccan bread. You’ll be taught to cook over a traditional wood fire and even how to milk a cow!

What dishes you’ll make depends on what’s available at the market that day.

Berber Cooking Class Day Trip from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains

Schedule: Sunday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday
Start Time: 9AM
Duration: 8 hours
Capacity: 2-6 people
Cost: USD 88 per person
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book

7. Half-Day Cooking Experience on Moroccan Dishes

This half-day Moroccan cooking class starts with a market tour. After buying all your fresh vegetables and other ingredients, you’ll be taught to make Moroccan favorites like tagine, zaalouk, and couscous.

Half-day Cooking Experience on Moroccan Dishes

Schedule: Daily
Start Time: 10AM, 4PM
Duration: 4 hours
Capacity: 1-10 people
Cost: USD 30 per person
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book

8. Make Tasty Berber Crepes with Joy

Msemen is one of our favorite dishes to have for breakfast in Morocco. In this class, you’ll learn how to make different types of Berber crepes from scratch.

Make Tasty Berber Crepes with Joy

Schedule: Daily
Start Time: 9:30AM, 3:30PM
Duration: 3 hours
Capacity: 1-10 people
Cost: USD 17 per person
Book This Class: CLICK HERE for more information and to book


Needless to say, cooks and food lovers should seriously consider weaving a Morrocan cooking course into their itinerary. You’ll make delicious food that will rival anything you can order at restaurants in Marrakech.

Many tourists visit Marrakech for just two or three days. If you’re worried that you won’t have enough time for a cooking class, then rest assured that most classes take just a few hours so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the souks and enjoy Marrakech before or after your class.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this article on some of the best and most popular cooking classes in Marrakech. If you have any questions about the class at La Maison Arabe Marrakech, then feel free to ask us in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and have fun cooking traditional tajine in Marrakech!


This article was written in partnership with Cookly. They offered us a complimentary cooking class in exchange for an honest account of the experience. As always, all words, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are mine and mine alone.

Some of the links in this article on cooking classes in Marrakech are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking or purchase at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves. We truly appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free food and travel guides. Thank you!

Photos from cooking classes 2-8 provided by Cookly.

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