Plate With A View: Le Marrakchi Marrakesh, Morocco
Saturday 24 September 2005
On your first night in Marrakesh, it's essential to eat overlooking Jemaa El Fna, the busiest, noisiest square in North Africa. And Le Marrakchi is the place to go. On two floors in the north-east corner of the square, Le Marrakchi is dominated by traditional Moroccan mosaics on the first floor and panoramic windows on the second.
Discreetly lit and furnished with low, comfortable chairs, wooden shutters and lots of candles, the restaurant offers two set menus: the Marrakchi (Dh250/£15) and the Medina (Dh350/£21) and some fine local wines.
Both menus feature pastilla (meat wrapped in filo pastry sprinkled with cinnamon), clay-baked lamb tagine and the ubiquitous couscous. A nine-course Moroccan salad is a healthy starter and the Guerrouane rosé (Dh120) is an excellent accompaniment.
The music is techno-Berber and the staff dress all in black like stagehands - which is apt, given the street theatre going on below.
Jemaa El Fna is an apocalyptic vision: white smoke from scores of fast-food stalls drifting across the square as snake charmers, drummers and vendors rend the air with their cries. Among the mêlée, storytellers and henna artists accost the crowds, while above it all rise stately mosques whose towers obey the Almobad proportions, standing five times as high as they are wide. In the distance you will see the 16th-century ramparts of Marrakesh, which run 12 miles around the city, and the roof of the La Mamounia, one of the best Art Deco hotels in the world, which in its time has hosted Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon and Orson Welles.
Prices are average for a tourist restaurant in Marrakesh. A two-course set meal of Dh250 for two people, plus wine, water and tip, should come to Dh700 (£43).
Open every day from midday to 1am. Dinner from 7.30pm. Book ahead at weekends.
Le Marrakchi, 52 Rue des banques, Marrakesh (00 212 44 44 33 777, www.lemarrakchi.com).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
Are plastic planes the future of flight? Heathrow expansion reopens debate over aviation's effects on the environment
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The most powerful passports in the world
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...