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Dining in Morocco

As a regular user of Chowhound, I have noticed that there is very little information about where to dine in Morocco. There are often many requests, but few responses -- so I thought I would list the restaurants my family and friends tried over the last week or so as we travelled across the country.

in Rabat, we had a nice lunch at Le Dhou, a new restaurant on an antique boat docked near the harbor. The setting was beautiful and the food was good with a more modern flair than many of the other restaurants around the country. We had dinner at Le Dinajat, which is in a beautiful riad, and the menu of traditional Moroccan fare was executed well. We particularly liked being greeted by a man with a lantern who guided us from our van to the restaurant in the medina.

In Fes, we loved the restaurant in the Palais Amani Riad. The setting and food were A+. The menu was a modern take on Moroccan fare -- semolina soup with cilantro, Medfounah and banana beignets for dessert. The owner was very personable as well and his family had dinner in the restaurant next to us. The next night we had dinner in our riad, Al Kantara in the medina. The owner had friends over who entertained us and each other with some traditional and modern music before dinner The service was well intended and the food was authentic and hardy. Dinner our last night in Fes was at Maison Blanche in the Ville Nouvelle. The food was international and executed quite well in a modern setting.

In Merrekech, we really liked lunch at Catanzaro. The thin-crust pizzas were really good even when compared to our options in New York City. The restaurant had many locals and was located in the Ville Nouvelle. Our first dinner was at Dar Moha. The setting was beautiful (restored 19th century riad) particularly by the pool, and the traditional Moroccan food was good--not great. We liked Al Fassia Guetiz better. It is run by Berber ladies with wonderful traditional food from around Fes. The service is a little abrupt and the space is nothing special, but go for the food. We took a day trip the next day to the high Atlas mountains and had lunch at Kasbah Tamadot. It is a must! The food was creative and the outdoor tables surrounded by the mountains and the hotel's property were amazing. While some in my group like Dar Yacout the next night, I did not. It is billed as the best restaurant in Merrekech--don't believe it! While the riad is truly beautiful (designed by Bill Willis), the menu is fixed and formulaic and the place is full of tourists. The food was uninspired and left me feeling like a number. The wine choices are red or white... We went to Le Comptoir for New Year's Eve. What a scene. It was expensive (over $300 per person), the food was odd and the show (including the belly dancers) was low rent. We were very disappointed but to be honest others looked like they were having a good time. I highly recommend taking a cooking class at our riad, Riad El Fenn with chef Hafid. We had a great time shopping in a local market with him and cooking up fine (if I do say so myself) tagine and tangines. We were served our creations on the roof terrace with some fennel salad and lentils for lunch. We also had a nice lunch at Le Jarnin in the medina. The place was kind of groovy and the food (international fare) was pretty good too.

I hope this helps future travellers to Morocco and sparks more discussion on Chowhound from locals and others about the many dining options available.

Jan 02, 2013
ghutcher in Middle East & Africa

Dining in and around Holbox Mexico

I wanted to thank Veggo and mediakzar for the helpful info and link. Sounds like Holbox will be just what we need for a few days in July!

Jun 04, 2011
ghutcher in Mexico

Dining in and around Holbox Mexico

I would really love some help with any interesting restaurants or bars in and around Holbox, Mexico. I will be staying at Las Nubes de Holbox during the July 4th weekend and would like some guidance on any great/interesting food and drink options nearby. Usually we stay in Tulum but decided to try something different this year.

May 27, 2011
ghutcher in Mexico

Quick recap of memorable meals in Turkey and Athens

We were in various places in Turkey and Athens over the last two weeks and here is a quick recap of our meals.

Athens: Many restaurants are closed in late-August but made it to Varoulko which had excellent fresh fish and terrific roof top dining with a view of the Acropolis. The service was also great but the food was similar to that served at nice restaurants in New York. The meal was costly but worth it. We really enjoyed Athiri. The restaurant is in a cool neighborhood and only locals were dining there. The open air dining area feels like a tropical setting and the food was varied and pretty good too. We hated (really hated) Mamacas! While the neighborhood is lively, the food was poor and it felt like a tourist trap. I don't know why the New York Times repeatedly recommends it. The food was average to poor, and it was costly.

Istanbul: First of all, thank you Antman for directing us to Ciya Sofrasi and Abracadabra. It was great fun taking the ferry to Kadikoy and walking through the produce market on the way to Ciya. While very casual (a plus for us), the food was very interesting and our waiter took the time to explain each dish in English. It was a real highlight. Abracadabra was fun with terrific modern Turkish food and a great view of the Bosphorus from the balcony on the top floor. The cocktails were good and some of the food combinations were unusual but they worked. This restaurant has kind of a hip feel and is well priced.

Borsa is hard to find but the Central and Eastern Turkish food was excellent. There is almost no view but the interesting and well prepared food makes this restaurant a good choice. We highly recommend Zubeyir if you want a locals only spot. The kofte, salads and grilled meats were excellent, the neighborhood is interesting and it is very inexpensive. Cezayir has a cool outdoor bar and dining area three flights down from street level with a lot of style. The food was kind of a Mediteranian and Asian mix, and it was good -- not great -- but our cocktails were just right. Our last dinner in Istanbul was at Sofyali 9. We really enjoyed the scene and the Turkish food was very good. It is an excellent value, and it is fun watching the crowd and street vendors pass by. We also had two good lunches at Hamdi and Sultanahmet Koftecisi.

Capadocia: We had two really nice dinners -- one in our hotel, the Museum Hotel, and the other at Elai. Both were quite sophisticated with well prepared local ingredients and great atmosphere.

Izmir: We did not have good luck with dinners in Izmir. Our best meal was in our hotel, the Swissotel Grand Efes, the last night. We hated Topcu. While we got several recommendation to go there, we found the food to be cold (when it shouldn't be) or stale, and we got ignored by our waiter as well. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. We also tried Denzi. The location across from the water was nice, and I enjoyed the sea bass cooked in a block of salt. The rest of the meal was not memorable, and it was on the expensive side. We did have two good homestyle lunches. One was near Sardis at Degirmen and the other was between Efesus and Sirence but I can't find the name of it. It was one of the first restaurants on the right on the road to Sirence. We got there late but the owners happily brought all of the food back out of the refrigerator and it was excellent. BTW, the drive to Sirence was beautiful but the village is a total tourist trap.

Sep 03, 2009
ghutcher in Europe

Istanbul Culinary Institute

Has anyone been to Enstitu, the restaurant at the Istanbul Culinary Institute? I thought it might be interesting? Is is conveniently located?

Jul 12, 2009
ghutcher in Europe

Gigikes & Mermikas in Athens

I read about Gigikes & Mermikas in Athens on Chowhound but cannot seem to locate it. Does anyone have more information about the resaurant? I remember that it sounded very interesting and was set in a market.

Also, i have tried pretty hard to make a reservation at 48 The Restaurant but cannot get through. The internet link does not work either. Does anyone know if the restaurant in still open, as good as all of the old reviews suggest and how to reach the restaurant in Athens?

Jul 12, 2009
ghutcher in Europe

Restaurants in Athens, Istanbul and Izmir

Thanks to all who responded to our last post. We have done some further research and are thinking of the following restaurants in Athens, Istanbul and Izmir in August. We think these restaurants should all be open and are in order of our interest. We would appreciate any reactions.

Athens -- August 20 - 22: Gigikas & Mermikas in Plateia Papadia, Varoulko, Ola Ta Kala, Orizontes, Logia tis Ploris and Ta Kioupia. Only three nights, so which three? I think 48 The Restaurant , Alatsi and Kafenio will be closed then. Is Hydra in the Galazia Hytra worth the drive?

Istanbul -- August 23 - 25 and August 31 - September 1: Abracadabra, Borsa (which one Harbiye or Kandili?), Milka, Zubeyir and Otto. While Changa looked interesting, I think it will be closed when we are in Istanbul. Is Aqua in the Four Seasons worth it?

Izmir: August 28 -30: Topcu and Reci. These came from responses on Chowhound. Anyone have any other suggestions or further thoughts on these restaurants?

Jun 25, 2009
ghutcher in Europe

August in Athens, Istanbul and Izmir

We wil be in Athens, Istanbul and Izmir during the last two weeks of August this summer. We really enjoy a good meal and search for special chefs and dining experiences as we travel around -- we can even be a little competitive about it. We would appreciate any suggestions and are happy to do the same for anyone interested in New York City restaurant recommendations or places we have visited recently (Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Uruguay coast, Tulum). We will be traveling with our 10 year old daughter but she likes a good meal as much as we do. We haven't done any research yet on Istanbul or Izmir but have started to put together some possibilities for Athens:

For lunch or snack: Kuzina, Kapni Kareas, Athinaikon, Diporto

For dinner (only three nights): Pasaji, 48 The Restaurant, Varoulko, Milos, Mamacas, Spondi, Bakaliko Ola Ta Kala, Alatsi, The Butcher Shop, Cafe Boheme

Thanks for your help. GHutcher

Jun 14, 2009
ghutcher in Europe