What’s Hot! Where to eat and drink in Fez
Fez Café at Le Jardin des Biehn (map reference 5)
This relaxed bistro has tables inside, on the verandah and in the garden. In peak periods, there are also tables on the roof terrace. Standard Moroccan cuisine lacks flair, but it’s a lovely venue. Licenced. Lunch and dinner. Escort provided if necessary. Wifi. Bookings essential in peak season 06 64 64 76 79.
Restaurant Nur (close to Riad Laaroussa, map reference 28)
Well-known international chef Najat Kaanache serves an intriguing 6-course tasting menu at this award-winning, fine dining restaurant. Expect to pay about Dh600 per person (plus drinks). Licenced. Dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Bookings essential 05 35 63 89 24.
Riad Fes (map reference 15)
The elegant L’Ambre restaurant at this Relais & Chateaux riad hotel serves traditional Moroccan cuisine. The Alcazar bar with its reflecting pool is lovely for summer evenings, as is the rooftop bar. Licenced. Dinner. Bookings essential 05 35 94 76 10.
La Maison Bleue
This old favourite in Batha still produces excellent Moroccan food in enormous portions. You can opt for a lighter version. The menu never changes – but does it need to? It’s a large restaurant set in several salons around a courtyard in a former family home. Pleasant oud and gentle Gnawa music enhances the evening. Wine is included in the price of Dh600 per person. Dinner only. Bookings essential 05 35 74 18 43.
Dar Roumana (map reference 39)
Eat around the courtyard fountain at this lovely guesthouse. The chef makes the most of local produce for his French-Moroccan cuisine, but standards have slipped recently. Licenced. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. Escort provided if necessary. Bookings essential 05 35 74 16 37.
Set in a tastefully restored house with a monumental wall fountain, this restaurant is located in R’cif and is open daily for dinner only. The food is excellent and features home-made bread and plenty for vegetarians. If you’d like to try something extra special that takes more time to prepare such as trid (a soft, almost pasta-like pastry filled with chicken), tanjia (a beef stew slow-cooked in an urn-shaped pot in the coals at the hammam) or mroziha (a sweet and spicy lamb tagine flavoured with ras al hanout spice mixture), order in advance. Wine available. Bookings essential 06 18 45 37 38. www.darori.info. Staff will meet you at the R’cif police station and escort you to the restaurant.
Ruined Garden at Riad Idrissy (map reference 7)
This delightful garden attached to Riad Idrissy serves Moroccan street food with a twist. Light meals of tapas or b’sara (broad bean soup) or full meals are available, but it’s the ambience in the garden that’s so enchanting, rather than the food. Eat inside round the fire if it’s cold. Escort provided if necessary. Wifi. Bookings advised 06 49 19 14 10.
Café Clock (map reference blue 3)
Excellent coffee, milkshakes and café food here including the famous (and delicious) camel burger. Wifi. Full cultural programme of Sunday evening concerts at 18h00, films, jam sessions and football (see www.cafeclock.com for details).
Maison Moi Anan
This is a genuine Thai restaurant and stylish boutique run by designer Anan Sorsutham. Open daily for dinner from 19h00 except on Fridays. Wine available. This makes a good change if you’ve had too many tagines, but the one waiter is overworked.
30 Zkak el Ma (signposted half-way down Tala’a Kebira). Bookings advisable 05 35 63 57 13.
Restaurant Family Berrada
This is definitely worth seeking out in Achebine – a gem of a place serving lunch only (not Fridays). If you can’t decide what to eat, the owner will take you into the kitchen so you can taste a bit of everything.
Most of these restaurants, stretching from Bab Boujloud all the way to the Post Office in Batha, offer similar fare of tagines and brochettes. It’s all pretty bland because there’s a misconception that foreigners don’t like spicy food.
This splash of purply pink on Tala’a Kebira is Najat Kaanache of Nur Restaurant’s tiny Mexican outlet. With just a couple of small tables in a dog-leg square half way down Tala’a Kebira, it offers Mexican food for when you’re tired of tagines and brochettes. A burrito with trimmings is Dh80.
Newly opened in a restored stable, this comfortable place has an ambitious menu. Standard Moroccan fare along with some different options that we haven’t tried yet, such as pumpkin soup with puff pastry lid, Tom Yum soup and Caesar salad. On Zqaq El Ma, opposite the tiny street leading to Moi Anan.
And just outside the medina:
This beautiful, modern hotel has wonderful views across the medina. It has two restaurants, the excellent Moroccan Amaraz, and the French Relais de Paris. Lunch at the Relais de Paris is an affordable Dh180 per person. Sunday brunch is best avoided as there are a lot of noisy children and a mediocre buffet.
Ask us about a car and driver to take you there and bring you back to the medina.
Reservations: 0535 94 03 32
In the Ville Nouvelle:
As the owner here has a duck farm just outside Fez, there’s plenty of duck and foie gras on the menu and it’s very good. But there’s impressive, home-made pasta, too, and a range of other offerings. The salads are good. Service is delightful. If you’re very discrete, you can take along a bottle and the waiter will serve it to you as Coca Cola.
5 rue Abdelkarim El Khattabi, near the Hotel Splendid. Bookings advisable 05 35 94 39 60.
Excellent wood-fired pizza oven, good pastas and salads and a glass of wine – what’s not to like? The only worthwhile Italian restaurant in Fez. Downside: the acoustics are terrible, making it impossible to have a conversation when the restaurant is busy.
Avenue Omar Al Khattab, Champs de Cours, 05 35 94 33 84.
BARS IN FEZ
This modern but now slightly down-at-heel bar on the edge of the medina next to the Jnan Sbil Gardens has a great roof terrace and serves light meals. It’s perfectly placed between the medina and Bab Al Makina for Fes Festival-goers. Licenced. Wifi. Sports screen. DJs some nights.
The reflecting pool bar is open to the elements and can be chilly in winter. Opposite the bar is an enclosed smoking room which is cosier, if smellier. The roof terrace also has a bar and great views over the medina. Beware the one waiter who always tries to persuade you to part with a larger tip than you’ve given: say no.
The best thing about this elegant hotel in Ziat are the stupendous views from the roof terrace and the bar. There are two restaurants, one ‘international’ and one Moroccan, but best just to go for a drink.
There are two bars at this somewhat tacky hotel in Batha – one around the pool and one at the back of the hotel. Prices are slightly higher at the bar at the back, which also has music in the evenings. The bar next to the pool is great in winter when it has a roaring fire.
In the Ville Nouvelle:
Jungle Social and Tapas Club, Hotel Sahrai
This is a great place for a drink, with good views over the medina (look beyond the supermarket). There’s a dark and jungly bar inside, and a wide terrace outside, with DJ. Avoid the tapas.
At the Hotel Sahrai, outside the medina. Talk to us about a vehicle and driver to get you there and back.
Upstairs from the restaurant of the same name, this dark, slate-walled bar is elegant and serves free snacks with an aperitif.
Rue Ahmed Chaouki; 05 35 62 27 27.
Marriott Hotel Jnan Palace
It’s delightful to lounge around this enormous pool on a summer’s day and enjoy a bottle of wine or a beer. The bar inside is comfortable, too, with a sports screen. Avoid the restaurant.
Rue Ahmed Chaouki.