Good Restaurants in Fez* = beer & wine
In the Medina
Kasbah, Bab Boujloud, great view on terrace, good vegetarian couscous and tagine, 40 DH.
Thami's Restaurant, Bab Boujloud, at the top of Talaa Sghira, in the corner between the barber shop and Hammam Mernissi; one of the finest and friendliest hole in the wall restaurants in Fes, good home-cooked simple food, 25-40 DH.
Medina Cafe, just outside Bab Boujloud next to the bank; simple Moroccan food and drinks; ask about the daily special; pleasant decor, good "sheesha" (water pipe); comfortable for women alone, 80-100 DH.
Restaurant la Medina*, Derb il Hammam in Guerniz, near Belghazi Museum. Lunch only. Traditional house with amazing carved plaster, zellij, and wood...and lots of bright modern paint! 120-150 DH
Dar Roumana*, creative Moroccan cuisine by a French-trained chef, Jennifer Smith, in a beautiful traditional house; reservations required, firstname.lastname@example.org, 060-29-04-04. 250 DH
Ryad Mabrouka*, Derb il Miter, just off Talaa Kibeera near the parking lot; outstanding Moroccan and Continental cuisine. Dinner only; reservations required: 035-63-63-45, speak to Michel. 250 DH.
Palais Jamai*, Bab il Guissa, great lunch buffet on terrace (you can get just the salad bar), and superb French cuisine in the evening; 100-270 DH. The Moroccan restaurant, open only in the evening, is part of the original palace and is fantastic, perhaps the most beautiful place to dine in Fez. Good traditional music. 430 DH.
La Maison Bleue*, Batha, excellent homestyle food in a beautiful early 20th century neo-traditional house. Good live oud (lute) and Gnaoua music. Dinner only; reservations: 035-74-18-43. 500 DH
Palais de Fes*, Riseef, near Cinema Amal, great food (some say the best in Fes) and terrace. It's usually possible to have only the "salads", which are wonderful and very filling, for 150 DH each; 300-500 DH
Riyad Sheherazade*, Batha, outstanding homemade Moroccan cuisine in elegant riad. Live music sometimes, reservations: 035-74-16-42. 120-500 DH
Chicken Mac, Ave. Lalla Miriem on the left before the big mosque, great rotisserie chicken. 20-35 DH
Restaurant Marrakech, off Mohammed V near the Hotel Mounia, good simple Moroccan food in a very nice setting. 60-100 DH
Vesuvio, Rue Abi Hayane Taouhidi, off Blvd. F.A.R., turn right at the gas station across from Hotel Tghat; Very good Italian restaurant; good pizza and pasta and fresh fish. 60-150 DH
Zagora*, Mohammed V near the Au Derby shoe store, very good Moroccan and Continental food. 80-150 DH
Chez Vittorio*, off Mohammed V across from Hotel Central. Wonderful salads, onion soup, meat dishes (skip the Italian food!); get only one main dish and share. 80-150 DH
La Medaille*, from the beginning of Mohammed V (near the main post office) take the first right and then the first left. Under new management, with very lively and popular bar. 60-120 DH
Jnan Palace*, need to take a taxi; Italian and Moroccan restaurants, the latter open only in the evening; good pizza and pasta for 100-150 DH. Very good Moroccan food and beautiful live music in traditional, but newish, setting. For two order one Moroccan salad, main dish and dessert and share...lots of food! 150-250 DH
La Trois Sources*, Route du Immouzer on the outskirts of the Ville, need to take a taxi, but they'll come pick you up for free if you call: 035-60-65-32. Excellent food, great fresh fish (try the mountain trout), live music on weekends. There are now daily specials, which are fantastic...order from the white insert in the menu. 100-200 DH
Le Majestic*, next to Henri Leconte Tennis Academy, Route de Zwagha, near Marjane; take a taxi or call for a ride: 035-72-99-99; they're happy to meet you in Batha or at your hotel or riad; one of the best new restaurants in Fes, fine French and international cuisine; very good fresh fish, and the best salads in Fes (ask for the "salad automne"....not on the menu); their superb wine list is a bit pricey, but you can get a carafe of very good house wine for 120 DH; 150-500 DH.
Cafes, sitting in local cafes is a great way to people-watch and have interesting conversations with Moroccans. Some of my favorites: Cafe Firdaous, across from Hotel Batha, La Noria in Fez al Jdid next to Bou Jeloud gardens, the one next to the Kantrit Bouros pharmacy on Talaa Kibeera, and the one across from Bank Populaire on Talaa Sghira, just around the corner from Dar Bennis.
Good Moroccan Wine: Cabernet President, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Halana, Domaine de Sahari Reserve, Medaillon, Semillant; the best (and most expensive!!) is Les Coteaux de L'Atlas. Wine here is sometimes bad due to storage problems; don't be afraid to send it back! For local beer, try Flag Special (from Fez) and Casablanca. Note that wine is much less expensive if you buy it at Metro, Marjane, Acima, or the liquor stores one either side of the Marche Central off Blvd. Mohammed V. You can get decent wine starting at 35-40 dirhams; in a restaurant it's 90 DH and up.
Typical Moroccan Food you should try: Couscous, tagine (a casserole with chicken or meat and vegetables), harira (typical Moroccan soup), Moroccan salads, pastilla (sweet-savory pastry with chicken or pigeon, onions, nuts), maakouda (potato fritters), briouwate (pastry filled with meat or rice), mint tea, djaj mhammar (roast chicken), harsha and mllawee (types of "bread" very good for breakfast), cap gazelle (and other almond-paste sweets), shebakeeya (sticky-sweet pastry served with harira).
If possible, try to get invited to someone's house, where you'll get the best Moroccan food. Weddings are also a good place to get great food and sweets...but you may have to wait until five in the morning for the main course! A Moroccan would (almost) never have Moroccan food at a restaurant, which is why Moroccan food in restaurants is often expensive and not as good as at home. Hole in the wall restaurants often have tasty food, but eat at your own risk!! Kufta (spicy gound beef) brochettes are wonderful, but are dangerous unless very very well done. Better to stick to brochette/kebab with chunks of meat.
Learn Moroccan Cooking: Lahcen Beqqi, an outstanding chef, formerly at one of the best riads in Fes, can teach you how to make traditional Moroccan and Berber dishes. He gives classes for one or more persons at his house, at a riad, or at Dar Bennis, if you're staying there. You pay for the lesson, plus the cost of ingredients, which you will buy in the souk with Lahcen. And of course you get to eat the wonderful meal you cook! www.fescooking.com, email@example.com; 071-60-80-15. Layla, the cook at Dar Bennis, is also happy to give you cooking lessons, but she speaks mostly Arabic.
©2010 David Amster