AFFORDABLE LUXURY: WHERE TO EAT IN MARRAKESH
Up to 25, 50 or 100 euros: in Marrakesh there are gourmet experiences to be enjoyed by all. Find out how to make the most of a limited budget.
Night falls over Marrakech, Morocco, heightening the city's allure as the landscape lights up. Known as the 'Pink City' because of the colour of the desert earth that the houses are made from, Marrakech has two souls; the old town, called Medina, and the new, modern town. Here are some recommendations for places to ensure you experience the more luxurious side of Marrakech, with some ideas for experiences you can enjoy while spending up to 25, 50 or 100 euros.
WHERE TO EAT IN MARRAKESH FROM 0 TO 25 EUROS
Opened in 1999, Comptoir Darna is one of the city's oldest restaurants and is set in the Hivernage, a renowned quarter in Marrakech which, although a little touristy, is definitely a must-see. To the backdrop of oriental chic décor, dancers and musicians, enjoy a drink and sample local dishes (25 euros).
The Maison Arabe Hotel exudes a captivating, old-world ambiance that makes you feel part of the history of the hotel, which was one of the very first riads to accommodate Europeans in Marrakech. It is only a 15-minute walk from places of interest including the Dar El Bacha Palace, Jamaa el Fna and theKoutoubia Minaret. The restaurant serves traditional Moroccan cuisine, without departing from the classics (15 euros per course). It also runs a half-day cooking course, one of the first in Morocco. There is also an organic vegetable garden where pupils gather herbs and vegetables to cook with. Learn how to make cous cous and meat, fish and vegetarian tajines (50 euros).
WHERE TO EAT IN MARRAKESH FROM 25 TO 50 EUROS
The Inara restaurant is located inside the Four Seasons Hotel, which is nestled in an oasis overlooked by the Atlas Mountains. Inara specialises in Moroccan dishes paired with local and North African wines. Choose the exquisite chicken breast tajine with lemon and olives (20 euros) or the seven-bean lamb cous cous. You can also sip on a good glass of Moroccan white wine from the Meknès region.
Gastro MK is an elegant restaurant set within the Hotel Maison MK. Cutting-edge yet affordable, the restaurant combines Moroccan and French cuisine. For an unforgettable dining experience, ask for a table on the scenic terrace overlooking the city. This restaurant offers the 'gastro-experience', which consists of a succession of dishes, including a choice of deconstructed tajines, such as fillet of beef, caramelised shallot purée, shallot tarte tatin and wilted courgette/ herbed mash (set menu approximately 50 euros).
Marrakchi is a brasserie-style restaurant with French influences and is lesser known with tourists. Try one of their versions of tangia, a typical dish that combines different types of meat such as lamb or beef. The chicken with honey and almonds is delicious, or try one of the mechouia salads, which combine tomatoes, bell peppers and grilled aubergine, all dressed with salt, pepper, garlic, coriander powder and olive oil (10 euros per dish). Finish off with a mint tea.
WHERE TO EAT IN MARARKESH FROM 50 TO 100 EUROS
The Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech is a truly spectacular, exclusive location, set in 20 hectares of sprawling parkland. The hotel offers a range of restaurant and bar options to choose from. But the most coveted address has to be Ling Ling, a Cantonese-style restaurant with a bar serving signature cocktails, which play a more complex role than just drinks to pair with food, but rather constitute the heart of the experience. The chef at the Ling Ling is Ho Chee Boon, who is also the executive chef for the legendary restaurant Hakkasan. He divides his time between Marrakech, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
The menu features an array of different appetisers for sharing; on this budget, you could easily try at least 7 or 8 of these tantalising appetisers, such as the golden fried chicken and mango salad in sweet chilli or spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond. If you want to play it safe, just order the Ling Ling experience (approximately 60 euros, excluding drinks). Bear in mind that each super cocktail, like the Ling Ling Collins (Beefeater 24 gin, Green Chatreuse liqueur, shiso leaf, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, elderflower syrup and soda water) will cost you upwards of around 15 euros.