A Taste of Morocco on the Coast in Essaouira
13 Oct 2016
- Fresh fish available throughout this coastal cosmopolitan destination
- More than just tajine and couscous, the fish grills and fish souq in Essaouira sit alongside many markets across the medina filled with fresh produce
- Le Jardin des Douars is open daily for lunches on the terrace and dinner in two restaurants, one for couples only
Essaouira is well located for a food adventure in Morocco. Visitors can try Atlantic catches at Essaouira’s fish souq whilst also sampling traditional Moroccan tajines across this cosmopolitan city. The UNESCO World Heritage medina includes traditional and new dining ventures, showcasing both the city’s location by the sea and the country’s freshest produce at local markets. Restaurateurs head to the port each day to get fresh fish.
Produce is seasonal and visitors can view the freshest produce at the many stalls across the medina. Here visitors will meet farmers who sell their own produce. It is worth noting that Moroccan produce tends to be harvested by hand when ripe. On a basic level visitors can enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice from one vendor followed by Moroccan pastries, many served with warm honey, from another vendor. It is all part of the mid-morning excursion.
Guests staying at Le Jardin des Douars enjoy a Royal Moroccan Breakfast, included in all stays, not to be missed. Guests start with omelettes cooked with cumin followed by Moroccan pancakes served with honey and jam, Moroccan pastries, Khoobz bread baked in a wood-fired oven and coffee or mint tea and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Lunch and dinner are open to all at Le Jardin des Douars and the cuisine is a mix of Moroccan and Mediterranean flavours with both an a la carte and daily changing specials menu. Children’s menus are available. The stunning terrace is secluded and surrounded by botanical gardens. The menu is seasonal and guests can view a daily menu on a blackboard just outside the restaurant.
Lunch courses are priced from 90 MAD (around £8). The evening menu is priced from 185 MAD (around £16). There are two restaurants to select from including the larger livelier dining room and a more intimate and romantic couples only restaurant. A catch of the day fish is available daily. Sundays offer an afternoon barbeque, great for meeting others.
Essaouira’s outdoor fish grill stands are a lively option for lunch. Located at the port, the laid-back stands sit side-by-side and offer a truly unique dining experience. Visitors simply select from a selection of freshly caught fish, this is then cooked on the grill and served with salad and bread.
Further into the medina, a selection of new, young venues have emerged by locals who are keen to combine tradition with contemporary. ‘Mega Loft’ is a vast popular venue with its night-time live music. This restaurant is full of unique pieces of furniture and local art. Dining on the beach is also possible and ‘Ocean Vagabond Restaurant’ is a clear winner with a trendy crowd. This beachside restaurant serves casual local Moroccan dishes.
Made up of a series of traditional terracotta Moroccan countryside buildings, Le Jardin des Douars offers a unique setting. There are just 28 bedrooms, suites and luxury villas; all with their own outdoor space, making it a truly relaxing retreat. The hotel’s three dining areas offer distinct experiences. Le Jardin des Douars has two outdoor heated pools overlooking stunning tropical planting and a hammam and spa open until 8pm daily.
Essaouira has spectacular beaches, great azure sea and perfect conditions for water sports. Essaouira also fuses traditional Moroccan dishes and recipes with the freshest seafood available across this cosmopolitan city, making it a foodie destination too. Essaouira is a mix of old and new flavours!
B&B priced from around £110 per room, per night or £390 per villa, per night
easyJet fly between London Luton and Essaouira twice per week on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
Essaouira airport is located 15 minutes from Le Jardin des Douars and a shuttle service is available. Marrakech is about three hours from Essaouira by coach or less by car.