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Morocco – a culinary travel guide

Roadside cafe in the sky - Atlas mountains, Morocco [1]

Roadside cafe…in the sky 😉 – Atlas mountains, Morocco

I am just back from eating my way around Vietnam, yet am about to delve into an earlier Morocco sojourn. Luckily newly launched Dubai-based travel blog, Travel Junkie Diary [2] prompted me to dig out my photos, reminisce fondly and write this guide up. So here’s FooDiva’s culinary travel tips on Morocco, plus a pictorial tour thanks to my lifesaver Instagram. [3]

1. What is the traditional dish of Morocco?

2. What spices are used in Moroccan cuisine?

Hover over each photo with your mouse to read the captions :).

Café Arabe - Marrakech Medinah [6]Cafe Arabe - Marrakech Medinah Tagines galore [7]Rghayef pancake [8]Riad breakfast - pain perdu [9]La Kasbah des Sables restaurant - Ouarzazate [10]Spices galore - Ouarzazate market [11]Jardin des Aromes restaurant - Ouarzazate [12]Bread baking [13]Marrakech market [14]Casablanca market [15]And more tagines [16]Kosy bar - Marrakech [17]Rooftop view from Kosy bar - Marrakech [18]Herbs galore [19]

3. Any particular dish you fancied?

4. What are the best restaurants in your opinion in Morocco?

Here are my top picks for the destinations I visited. Bar one restaurant, all specialise in Moroccan dishes. When I travel I tend to embrace local culture and wrap my taste buds around that country’s cuisine.

Ouarzazate

Marrakech

Sofitel Tour Blanche Casablanca [26]Sofitel Tour Blanche Casablanca bar [27]Mosaic Palais Aziza - Marrakech Palmeraie [28]Mosaic Palais Aziza - Marrakech Palmeraie [29]Mosaic Palais Aziza - Marrakech Palmeraie - translates to diva [30]Riad Adore - Marrakech Medinah [31]Riad Adore - Marrakech Medinah [32]Riad Adore - Marrakech Medinah - my duplex room [33]Le Temple des Arts - guest house Ouarzazate [34]La Mamounia - Marrakech [35]Tray tables - Ouarzazate market [36]Marrakech Medinah shop [37]

5. Which hotels would you recommend?

Casablanca mosque [44]Kasbah - Ouarzazate [45]Gorges galore - Atlas mountains [46]Kasbah de Taourirt - Ouarzazate [47]View from Kasbah de Taourirt - Ouarzazate [48]Ouarzazate alleyway [49]Kasbah Aitben Haddou - Morocco [50]Medersa ben Youssef - an old children's school - Marrakech Medinah [51]YSL's Majorelle gardens - Marrakech [52]Horse and cart - Marrakech [53]Ouarzazate market shopping [54]Marrakech Medinah shopping [55]

6. Any tips on what to avoid?

FLIGHTS: I flew to Casablanca direct with my favourite airline, Emirates [57] (and no they didn’t sponsor my flights). Morocco may be North Africa or Middle East but the twice daily flights are an eight to nine hour journey, winds dependent. Thanks to an excellent code share agreement, internal flights on Royal Air Maroc are bookable on the Emirates website for cheap as chips (in my case Marrakech – Casablanca), so take advantage of this facility rather than booking separately.

DRIVING: Like here, it’s on the right side and pretty easy with a Tomtom – no need to hire a driver ;). The usual car hire suspects are all present in Morocco. Make sure to take out insurance – we had a mini car accident, thankfully nothing too serious but with the correct forms, the police process wasn’t too painful.

WEATHER: We visited late March/ early April but the last few days were marred by unusually chilly weather given it’s meant to be Spring and an advisable time to hit Morocco before the Saharan summer heat kicks in. My recommendation is to plan a holiday around May/ June or September/ October.

Morocco - couscous [58]Next time Fez is high up on my itinerary. We purposely avoided Essaouira on the coast which apparently doesn’t compare to the likes of Santorini, a Greek Cyclades island we know very well – anyone visited both to compare? Or anywhere else in Morocco? Would love your feedback.

Incase you’re wondering, credit for this holiday research is pretty much down to my lovely sis @mrsbubbly [59] who is even more anally retentive than moi and plans trips with Excel sheets. She really should set up a travel website.

If you fancy a taste of Morocco right here in Dubai, the only restaurant FooDiva can truly recommend is Almaz by Momo [60] hidden away on the top floor of Harvey Nic’s in Mall of the Emirates. The Beirut outpost [61] is also a gem. Or else opt for Frying Pan Adventure’s North African [62] street food tour…when the weather cools down.

Provided Dubai’s restaurant openings slow down, I promise to write up Vietnam sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll love you and leave you with this funny postcard – and dare I say couscous didn’t grace FooDiva’s lips once ;).

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

P.S – fellow food blogger Sips and Spoonfuls travelled to Morocco just after moi…and had much better weather – do check out her snaps [63] of another stunning Marrakech riad.

P.P.S – if you’re not fasting, here’s an updated round-up [64] of independent eateries open in Dubai for daytime dining over Ramadan.