Morocco has a unique and distinct (and delicious!) culinary tradition. Traditional Moroccan food is warm and hearty, with generous helpings of onions and a delicious blend of spices. The smell of tagine and couscous wafts out of restaurants as you walk down the street.
You can find some of the best traditional Moroccan food in the most unassuming places, and for not that much money! We loved sampling all the new and interesting foods to eat in Morocco – there were a lot of delicious options.
Some Basics for Eating in Morocco
Before getting into the list of traditional Moroccan food to eat, let’s first talk about a few basics for eating in Morocco:
➡️First, most restaurants in Morocco have at least 3 levels: street level, one story off the ground, and then a rooftop terrace. If there is space on the rooftop, I highly recommend eating up there! The views are beautiful and it’s just so novel eating on a roof.
➡️Second, Morocco uses the dirham. 9.5 dirhams are equal to one USD – we found it most convenient to just estimate 10 dirham = 1 dollar.
➡️Third, tipping: 10% is standard, but double check the receipt first – sometimes the tip is included in the bill.
26 Traditional Moroccan Foods to Try
All right, let’s get started by talking about what different traditional Moroccan foods to eat in Morocco, and then go into the best restaurants in Marrakech, Fes, and other places around the country!
A tagine cookware is an earthenware dish used to cook meals. It has a shallow base and a cone-shaped top that creates a very hot, moist cooking environment.
The term “tagine” is also used to refer to the meal cooked inside of the tagine dish. A tagine meal will generally include a meat (such as chicken, beef meatballs (aka kefta), or lamb), vegetables (such as carrots, onions, or zucchini), and a variety of spices.
You will often see dishes like “chicken tagine with apricots” or “lamb tagine with prunes.” These variations with the dried fruit are also fantastic!
Tagine is the most common and well-known traditional Moroccan food – you will eat tagine many times on your trip!
A tagine dish is a very practical and fun souvenir from Morocco to bring home with you. You can buy a medium to large dish for around 30 dirham! ($3).
2. Kefta Tagine
Kefta tagine is still considered a tagine (and is served in one), but it’s different enough that I want to highlight it separately. This food in Morocco is meatballs served in a tomato sauce, sometimes with eggs added in.
This ended up being one of the most delicious Moroccan dishes we tried, so don’t skip over it!
At restaurants, a tagine dish is also often used to cook and serve couscous. Couscous usually comes as either chicken couscous or vegetarian couscous.
While Moroccans usually eat couscous on Friday (their holy day), you can order it in restaurants any day of the week.
Briouats are flaky Moroccan pastries, filled with savory fillings, and served as a starter. Usually an order comes with 6 briouats: 2 are filled with ground beef, 2 are filled with grated carrots, and 2 are filled with cream cheese (my favorites!)
I loved the briouats and thought they were one of the most delicious things to eat in Morocco!
Brochettes are Moroccan kebabs! They are served with rice and veggies on the side, and are delicious and flavorful.
Pastilla is a fun dish that is similar to chicken pot pie. A spiced meat mixture is put in the center of phyllo dough, which is then wrapped around the meat. It’s baked, turning nice and crispy, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
7. Chicken Sandwiches
You can frequently find meat-filled sandwiches on menus, which are reminiscent of shawarma. Pulled, seasoned meat is stuffed into a crusty bread, with limited other accompaniments.
Here, the sandwiches had tomatoes, but honestly the chicken and the bread is so good that it really doesn’t need anything else!
Rfissa is a dish of stewed chicken, lentils, and onions, served on a bed of shredded pastry.
Harira is a popular tomato-based spiced Moroccan soup, with lentils and chickpeas mixed in. It’s warm and comforting soup!
10. Moroccan Crepes
The crepes were easily one of the most delicious foods in Morocco I ate the entire time. Moroccan crepes are eaten for breakfast and are served with a variety of topping choices: generally honey, jams, and butter.
In contrast to typical French crepes, Moroccan crepes are flaky and lightly crispy and are often served in squares. While I don’t normally choose honey as a topping, the honey in Morocco was really, really flavorful and paired perfectly with the crepes.
What to Eat in Morocco: Sides
11. Khobz Flatbread
A tray of flatbread is served with every meal in Morocco, even at breakfast! This flatbread – known as khobz – is crusty and a little bit puffier than, say, naan. We really loved this bread and were not mad to eat it all the time. You can also buy it from little stands on the street for 1 dirham (10 cents USD).
12. Cucumber salad
The only time we had the pleasure of eating this was during our cooking class (more on that below!) and while “cucumber salad” might not seem like a standout dish, it was really delicious!
13. Moroccan salad
This chopped salad was reminiscent of pico de gallo, in that it featured fresh diced tomatoes, onions, and peppers, plus herbs and a vinaigrette.
Zaalouk is a cooked Moroccan salad made with eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, oil, and spices. It can be served warm or cold, and is often offered as a small, complimentary starter at restaurants.
A little dish of olives is often set out at meals, with a variety of marinated olives inside. You can also find olive stands in the souks. They are definitely a Moroccan staple!
Date trees are found all over the country, and a bowl of dates is often put out at breakfast time. I’ll admit, I would never usually gravitate towards a plain date, but in Morocco, you simply must sample!
Things to Eat in Morocco: Desserts
This dessert is made by shaping long, skinny strips of dough into a flower, frying it, and then brushed with honey and orange water and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It’s a tasty and unique thing to eat in Morocco!
18. Ghoriba Cookies
These cookies are typically sold by a man carrying a tray through the markets of Marrakech. They are crackly on the outside and chewy on the inside, and were actually really delicious! A fair price is 1 dirham per cookie.
19. Oranges with Cinnamon
Truly just sliced oranges sprinkled with cinnamon, this Moroccan dessert was nonetheless a refreshing end to a meal and a common dessert to eat in Morocco.
20. Gazelle Horns
This dessert is a cookie, made with flour, almond paste, and orange blossom water, and shaped into a crescent. These weren’t our favorite treats, but maybe you’ll disagree! They were very popular among the locals.
What to Drink in Morocco
21 Mint Tea
The quintessential Moroccan drink, mint tea is offered when you arrive at your beautiful riad, guesthouse, or even when you arrive in the Sahara, and is also offered as part of every meal. It is made with green tea leaves and fresh mint.
When the tea is brought to your table, your server will pour the first cup for you, raising the teapot high to create an arc of tea down into the cup. This is a really delightful and very common Morocco food tradition.
You can add sugar cubes to sweeten the tea to your liking – Moroccans like it sweet! And the teacups are not an English style teacup – they resemble shot glasses.
We are not green tea drinkers, but still wanted to participate in the mint tea tradition. The people in Morocco were always very accommodating when we asked them if they could make us a herbal mint tea (just the mint steeped in water), which was actually pretty good too!
22. Orange Juice
The orange juice in Morocco was fresh-squeezed and full of flavor, and we got it at almost every meal. Expect OJ to cost anywhere from 10-20 dirhams at a restaurant.
23. Mint Lemonade
The mint lemonade was hands-down my favorite drink in Morocco. Fresh mint is blended into lemonade, and it just tastes so, well, fresh.
Bottled water is cheap and refreshing in Morocco. It is extremely inexpensive to buy bottled water from the ubiquitous stands on the street (expect around 2-5 dirhams for a bottle), but more like 10-20 dirham for a water bottle at a restaurant.
While it would definitely be more environmentally friendly to use a reusable, filtered water bottle, the problem is that there aren’t really places to fill up your water bottle on the street, and we went through SO MUCH water.
We were constantly buying water throughout our Morocco itinerary, as, even in October, it was mid-90’s F (35 C) in Marrakech and very dry.
25. Pomegranate Juice
We only saw stands selling pomegranate juice a few times, but if you run into one, definitely stop for a drink! They pressed the pomegranates right in front of us, so we were given a cup with 100% pure, straight from the fruit pomegranate juice. And it was delicious. It was also expensive, at 30 dirhams for a cup, but worth it!
26. Other Juices and Smoothies
You can find a variety of other fruit juices and smoothies at restaurants and on street carts around cities, especially in Marrakech. In Jemaa el-Fna, the main square, there is a whole line of carts selling smoothies and juices and you can pick from a wide variety of flavors.
Can You Drink Alcohol in Morocco
Morocco is an incredibly dry country – do not expect to see alcoholic beverages on the menu, and bars are not super common.
Check out my where to stay in Marrakech post for the best areas in Marrakech to find bars.
A Note about French Foods
A French food section? Absolutely. Morocco has a lot of French influence and boulangeries (French bakeries) were fairly common, especially in Marrakesh.
The breads and pastries were high quality but so much cheaper than France – we had an absolutely divine baguette in Chefchaouen that cost 10 cents. Morocco has embraced this food style and made it their own!
Staying Healthy While Eating in Morocco
Food poisoning is a regular concern among travelers heading to Morocco, and indeed, you definitely need to be aware of what and where you’re choosing to eat. While restaurants are generally very safe, street food can cause issues. Choose places that look clean and have food cooked fresh. Be very wary of the stalls in Jemma el-Fna, as they are common culprits for food poisoning in Morocco.
We actually did get food poisoning during our last *hours* in Morocco. In Chefchaouen, we bought this really fun drink from a roadside vendor. He cut up lemons and oranges and then ran them through a machine with a whole stalk of sugar cane. The machine pressed out the juices and the sugar and made a really delicious drink.
Unfortunately, the sugar cane or the fruits must have been contaminated, because Matthew got sick for the next couple days. So, don’t just worry about the meats and cooked foods, also pay attention to the cleanliness of fruit vendors as well!
Best Restaurants in Marrakech:
Cafe Kif Kif
Truly, the best part of this cafe is the location, which overlooks the Koutoubia mosque. Highly recommend the briouats and the mint lemonade!
Cafe Dar Touareg
This cafe had a nice, colorful, covered rooftop terrace. The brochettes with rice were delicious!
The view here is fantastic, as the rooftop overlooks the street outside the Saadian Tombs. I can highly recommend the chicken pizza here!
Cuisine de Terroir
The chicken tagine and chicken shawarma sandwich were fantastic at this restaurant. Plus, we got a complimentary plate of small desserts at the end.
Jardin Majorelle Café
Our lunch at the Jardin Majorelle Cafe was easily the most expensive meal of our time in Morocco. But, it was a delicious and convenient restaurant in Marrakech when I was on the verge of getting hangry, the cafe area was lovely, and the drinks themselves were absolutely priceless.
My avocado, date, almond milk smoothie was thick and creamy and flavorful, but Matthew’s milk with dates and orange blossoms was literally one of the most delicious drinks that has ever crossed my lips. I miss that drink!
Best Food Experience in Marrakech: Cooking Class with Najlae
If you want some culture, a true local experience, and the best meal of your entire trip, you absolutely must do a cooking class with Chef Najlae. It was one of my very favorite activities in Morocco!
We met up with Najlae, a 30-year-old Moroccan woman at a local market near her house. There, we bought ingredients for the dish we chose – lamb tagine – with Najlae talking us through what we needed, and tips for picking the best produce and cuts of meat.
Back at Najlae’s home, we settled in for a traditional tea ceremony, where she talked us through the steps to prepare the customary mint tea.
Then we got cooking! Najlae had a table set up where we all worked together to prep the lamb tagine and four different Moroccan salads – all very authentic Moroccan food and recipes.
She struck a great balance between giving us plenty of opportunity to prepare the meal and talking through steps that she did herself.
We learned about the different types of spices used in Moroccan cooking (including one spice not used in the US), how she pickles lemons in a jar that lasts for two years, and a lot of other fun tips and insider knowledge about cooking traditional Moroccan food!
And finally, we feasted! This was hands-down, the best meal we ate in Morocco. The lamb was insanely tender and flavorful and was drizzled with apricot and prune compote reduction.
The salads were so fresh-tasting and absolutely delicious. We loved talking with her and the other couple at the cooking class – we learned more about Moroccan culture, Najlae’s life and experiences, and just had the best time chatting.
It was such an intimate and authentic experience, and the evening absolutely flew by. I cannot recommend this cooking class enough!
>>Book this cooking class with Najlae here!
Best Restaurant in Ait Ben Haddou
Maison de Sable
I recommend La Maison de Sable, just right off the main road and opposite a little parking area. We literally just walked up to the first restaurant we saw and it ended up truly being one of our favorite meals in Morocco.
I got the kefta tagine and Matthew got a chicken sandwich. The kefta tagine had meatballs and eggs in a tomato sauce and it was absolutely delicious! While it’s great plain, I also recommend sticking some of the meat and eggs in the flatbread you get – those bites were fantastic.
Best Restaurant in Tinghir
If you’re driving yourself through Morocco out to the Sahara, you’ll likely pass through Tinghir, and I’d HIGHLY RECOMMEND Chez Michele. The dining rooms were absolutely drop dead gorgeous. The downstairs is French-themed and serves traditional French food, and the upstairs is Moroccan-themed and serves traditional Moroccan food. We got the kefta tagine and harira soup.
All were delicious and not that expensive, considering how pretty the place was. It also had strong, free wifi, which was a nice perk.
Best Restaurants in the Sahara Desert
All of our meals in the Sahara were provided at our luxury desert camp, and especially considering they were prepared in the middle of the dunes, were really, really high quality.
Dinners were four course affairs (salad, soup, main dish, and a dessert), and the chicken tagine we had for lunch was a favorite tagine of the trip.
There’s no menu, but rest assured that you will eat extremely well in the Sahara! Check out this Sahara desert camp here!
Best Restaurants in Fes
This trendy café has really cute tiling on the floor, a nice rooftop terrace, and free wifi! As far as food goes, I can vouch for the camel tagine, the pastilla, and the mint lemonade! The camel tagine was a fun twist on traditional Moroccan food!
Café Clock often has rooftop concerts (when we were there, a man was playing the guitar), and has a few unique dishes, including camel burgers, date smoothies, and rfissa (one of the very few times we saw this on the menu).
This restaurant served more middle eastern fare than traditional Moroccan food, which was a nice change! We loved their selection of tapas, particularly the hummus and crispy potatoes! In my opinion, Fondouk Bazaar had the cutest terrace of the restaurants we visited in Fes.
Traditional Moroccan Foods to Eat for Breakfast:
One of the perks of staying in Moroccan riads (a riad is a traditional Moroccan guesthouse, with a courtyard garden in the middle) is that the price almost always includes a delicious Moroccan breakfast spread.
The exact offerings varied a little bit between the 4 different places we stayed in Morocco, but traditional Moroccan breakfast food included flatbread, sweetbread or cake, eggs cooked in argan oil, berber omelets, Moroccan crepes (delicious, crispy, flat pancakes), butter, cheese, honeys, jams, orange juice, fruit, and yogurt.
Breakfast felt like an absolutely luxurious affair in Morocco!
I can 100% vouch for the delicious breakfasts in these different riads and guesthouses:
Riad Dar Palmyra: This traditional riad in Marrakech, which was in a great location, had the smell of jasmine in the air, and a peaceful garden courtyard, all for an insanely good price. There were a ton of options for breakfast – I love the condiments in the mini tagines!
TAFSUT Stay with Locals: This guesthouse near the Dades Gorge, which was very colorful and inviting, and had the most stunning rooftop terrace of any place we stayed. The rooftop breakfast was a dream – I particularly enjoyed the multiple types of honey on the Moroccan crepes! (Moroccan crepes are a little flakier and crispier than traditional French crepes).
Desert Heart Luxury Camp: This camp was absolutely luxurious, with a truly stunning tent that included carpets, a bed, a fully functional bathroom with running water, and wifi in camp. The camp was set among the dunes of the Sahara and was a bucket list experience top to bottom.
They also had my favorite breakfasts of the entire trip! The Berber eggs (right-most dish in the picture below) and the Moroccan-style crepes (bottom left) were sooooo good!
Read all about our experience staying in a glamping camp in the Sahara here!
Riad Sara: This drop dead gorgeous riad in Fes, which truly felt like I was staying in a palace. There were intricate mosaics everywhere, plus luxurious fabrics, intricate carved stucco and wood, columns, and high ceilings. I never wanted to leave! Enjoying this spread in the beautiful atrium was a perfect way to start the day in Fes.
Lastly, Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Securing some travel insurance is an important part of prepping for any international trip – you never know when something might happen, and your regular insurance generally won’t cover you overseas. Costs for a medical emergency on vacation can add up extremely fast, so it’s just better to be safe than sorry.
I like booking insurance at Insure My Trip, as they offer a variety of plans with different coverages to choose from, so you can find the right option for you. Plus, they have great customer support if you need help before, during, or after your trip.
Experiencing Traditional Moroccan Food: Final Thoughts
The food in Morocco was truly a journey in its own right. It was flavorful with potent and unique spices, and had contrasting savory dishes with light and abundant fruit. We loved the opportunity to try lots of completely new-to-us dishes — I bet you’ll love that aspect too!
If you liked this article about food in Morocco, you might also like:
- Our Morocco Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Morocco Cost?
- Moroccan Scams: What to Watch Out For and How to Avoid Them
- How to Hike the Monkey Fingers in the Dades Valley of Morocco
- Read Every Post I’ve Written About Morocco Here