Marrakesh, Morocco


cafe-des-epices-marrakech-moroccoA decade ago in Marrakesh, Morocco, you could usually count on getting a floor show served along with your dinner including jiggly belly dancers and manic drummers designed, perhaps, to distract you from what you were eating. But slowly, the doors have opened, and in today’s Morocco, where the private has begun to go public, more and more boutique riad hotels, as well as an increasing number of serious restaurants, are featuring meals with the food of young chefs who are reviving and seriously sourcing soulful Moroccan dishes. The result is a genuine Moroccan cuisine that travelers can actually taste. Café des Épices fuses the best of old and new Marrakesh in the thick of the souk. This rooftop café, clubhouse and hangout has black stone cabanas, big round wicker chandeliers, and cushion-lined banquettes spritzed with hiccupping clouds of cooling mist from ceiling vents that create a perfect hideaway from the heat. The photogenic waitstaff wear big straw hats and carry portable chalkboards scrawled with each day’s menu, a list of eclectic dishes that jumps from tagliatelle to tagines, couscous to crème brulée. At midday, opt for the lighter dishes with clean, bright flavors: the trio of Moroccan salads (usually cubed eggplants, the sweetest carrots, and potatoes) or a fruit bowl piled with oranges, kiwi, and pineapple.


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