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The Best Restaurants in Essaouira, Morocco

The StarTripper Journal presents the best places to dine in Essaouira, both International gourmet and good Moroccan food.
Our team in Essaouira are young European Travelers. They love to travel and they love Essaouira and the Moroccan culture.

Essaouira, the blue city by the Atlantic ocean. Its ramparts pounded by the Atlantic waves, its white facades with blue shutters, all the carved doors and its lively souks make it a charming protected medina you’ll quickly fall in love with.

Here Orson Welles shot his 1952 classic version of "Othello" with several memorable scenes from the medina, and Bille August produced “Jerusalem” in hotel Riad Al Madina, in the same hotel where Jimi Hendrix wrote "Castles Made of Sand".

Located at the foot of the Grand Atlas, facing the ocean, surrounded by hills, argan forests and dunes, Essaouira is built on a rocky peninsula. Founded to promote international trade, from the outset it has been a place of warm welcome for all cultures and religions, an intention that is engraved on the grand entrance of the port.

The city’s craftsmanship is rich and varied thanks to the mix of cultures. Here are masters of jewellery, inlaid woodwork and carpentry, mostly in thuya wood. Fishing still remains an important industry because of the old port, the heart of Essaouira, and the towpath of its handcrafted shipyard, unique in the world. Snapped up by the most famous luxury brands, argan oil is gold in the region and has made Essaouira’s reputation worldwide.

In the seventies Essaouira was the hippie-capitol, and Jimmy Hendrix old rom at Hotel Riad al Madina still stands as he left it.

In recent years, new disciples have arrived: windsurfers and kitesurfers attracted to the waves pushed by the Alizés winds towards Moulay Bouzerktoun and Sidi Kaouki.

Music-lovers will also enjoy the Festival des Alizés (chamber music, April) and Gnawa World Music Festival (fusion music, June) held annually in Essaouira.

Stroll down to the old harbour in the early morning hours, sniff the wonderful sea-air, feel the mild breeze, listen to the seagulls and watch the fishermen returning with the night’s catch. Then the sun rise and you are in heaven. No wonder that the old hippies choose Essaouira, the blue town.

Language is Moroccan, but everybody speeches French. Currency is Moroccan dirham (MAD or dhs).

The StarTripper Journal Recommends these Hotels and Restaurants:
A classical restaurant located in the Medina, a romantic place for you and your friend, a place to head for when strolling around the city centre.

Stunning yet understated décor makes you feel welcome and special. Walls are decorated with gnaoua murals which were created by a local artist.

The menu is not extensive, but each and every dish is a feast.

Waiting for your dinner, you can watch the chef in action in the open kitchen, as well as tucking into beautifully presented, modern dishes which are locally sourced and full of freshness.

And don’t skip the dessert – they make a chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream worth dying for.

Very warm service and hospitality.

22 Bis Skala Street
Located in the heart of the Medina, an unprepossessing entrance gives way to an Aladdin's cave of 1970s Arabic junkyard – chic, packed with old vinyl records, prints and cool-kitsch decor. 'I call it hippy chic,' says Abdellatif Rharbaoui chef and proprietor.

Quite opposite to the trash-aesthetic decor, his menu seems quite conventional – oriental classics with an Italian twist – but the mains are deliciously inventive.

We tried chicken tajine with figs and gorgonzola, and gnocchi with almond pesto – and there was well-presented Moroccan salad entrées included. We loved both dishes.

Terrific food, a warm and funky ambiance, this is a place to return to. Consider pre-booking to be on the safe side.

1 Rue d'Agadir
Gusto Italia is located close to the Medina and close to the beach, a lovely refined Italian restaurant with a modern setting.

If you long for a change from Moroccan cuisine, Gusto Italia will replenish your taste buds with something more familiar.

Gusto Italia serves typical hearty Italian food. The cuisine is of high Italian quality and includes all you can think of – from beef tenderloin to fish ravioli, everything is made fresh and from scratch – we loved the pizza with their own unique toppings.

This is the perfect lunch or dinner stop after an adventures day in Essaouira.

Very Italian, very warm and friendly, a very nice place to sit down and just enjoy life and Essaouira.

Bon appétit!

14 Rue Charif El Idrissi
Thalassa This luxury 5-star hotel is located close to the beach and only 5-minute walk to the medina and the harbour. It is designed around a large outdoor swimming pool and blends modernity with Moroccan style.

Inspired by the magnificent Moroccan Riads, the Médina Thalassa sea and spa is decorated in the traditional red of Essaouira. It offers spa facilities, 3 restaurants and 2 bars, and free Wi-Fi in public areas.

The air-conditioned rooms with balconies have modern decor and are equipped with TV, minibar and free wired internet. Rooms have in suite bathroom facilities with bathtub and shower.

With the thalassotherapy institute directly linked to the hotel, guests can enjoy a range of treatments. For supplement, a hair and beauty salon is available on site.

The hotel's restaurants present good International and Moroccan cuisine. Afternoon tea, French and Moroccan pastries are offered in La Scala tearoom and the evening Mogador's Club offers cocktails in stylish environment.

A modern and nice hotel with excellent professional service.

Avenue Mohamed V
Villa Maroc Located in the heart of Essaouira, inside the fortified walls of the Medina, on the premises of a former residence of Mogador notables, Villa Maroc has kept intact the architectural heritage and the friendly hospitality of the premise.

The rooms inside this historic mansion have traditional Moroccan style, timeless charm yet equipped with all the modern comfort, romantic alcoves and spacious family rooms, and there is a spectacular ocean view from the roof terrace. The accommodation quality is more than a good match for a big and luxury hotel.

The hotel has a beautiful Hammam with natural products and bio olive oil soaps produced on their own farm, among other the essential and famous Argan oil from the argan tree.

The spa Villa Maroc – L’atelier du bien-être – a place of know how, professionalism and exclusive cares in a beautiful environment.

Villa Maroc, a very friendly and nice place with views and the sea freshness, excellent service and gourmet food.

10, rue Abdellah Ben Yassine
Palais des Remparts A very nice Riad built between the ramparts of the old medina of Essaouira, recently renovated to represent authentically classic forms of the traditional medina, an elegant building decorated and arranged with style and taste of traditional Moroccan architecture.

This stylish Riad dating from the 18th century is overlooking the Atlantic ocean only 3 minutes from the beach.

All the spacious rooms at Palais Des Remparts are individually decorated with warm wooden furnishings. They have private bathroom and traditional Moroccan decor.

The Riad serves regional cuisine made from fresh local produce. Guests can enjoy meals in an intimate atmosphere in the cosy dining rooms, relax on the terrace planted with palm trees, or enjoy a moment of relaxation in the SPA Palais Des Remparts.

Beautiful building next to the ocean – spectacular view – well furnished – very friendly and warm service.

18 Rue Ibnou Rochd, Kasbah

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