There are many things in Essaouira that are fascinating: many travellers come back again and again because there is something special about the place, something that is a real treat… if you visit Essaouira, here are the places where you should eat.
You can have dinner or lunch, thinking that you are back in Europe or something very similar, or let yourself go and get lost among the tastes and smells of authentic Moroccan cuisine; the choice will be up to you, as you will not lack options.
Perhaps that is why the culinary offering is so wide, because the town is full of restaurants, from fancy restaurants to the most typical and authentic Moroccan restaurant.
Of course, in this small fishing village, fish and especially sardines are famous, especially in the summer months, which is the best season to taste them.
Every day boats arrive at the port, and until sunset they sell their freshly caught fish on the quay at the best prices.
Fish Restaurants in Essaouira
To eat good fish, fresh and in the purest “souiri” style, I recommend first of all the “grills” or “parrillas” that you will find easily in the port. This is not exactly a restaurant, as they are open-air tables, but you must try it and it is also a pleasure to eat with such a spectacular view.
You can buy fresh fish next to the dock and then take it to the grills right there to be cooked. You will only be charged for the cooking and the drink. Fresh grilled fish, cheap and delicious. Accompany it with a good Moroccan salad.
In the square, before arriving at the port, you will also see a series of very striking stalls offering grilled fish. Of course, this is a more comfortable way to do it and you can choose which ones will cook for you; however, it is very touristy, so the price will a lot more.
I recommend you to go on the adventure of buying it yourself and go to the typical grills of the place.
Riad Zahra Grill Restaurant
One of the most famous fish restaurants in Essaouira and a must on any recommendation list.
We are talking about an elegant place, decorated with taste and a lot of detail (the whole Riad is incredible), where alcohol is also served.
The menu includes a very elaborate menu of the day, Moroccan and Asian cuisine… in other words, high quality fusion cuisine where fish and seafood are the kings of the house.
The Zahra Grill is one of the restaurants in Essaouira recommended if you want to eat fusion cuisine
Zahra’s Grill (Riad Zahra)
90 Rue Amira Lalla Meryem
Tel. 677 518 136 / 661 905 722
Again, I’m going to leave the traditional restaurant format to recommend a place you won’t find in any guide, and only foreigners who know the place well will go for it.
It’s the famous fried fish of Essaouira: Moroccan tourists queue up to eat it… there’s a reason for that!
When you see it, I’m sure you’ll be a little taken aback, because the places are tiny and usually full, but you can always ask for it to go and eat it quietly in your hotel or on a terrace; I always eat it on the spot. Take a good look because there are stairs at the back and one floor up.
The fried fish displays are one of the best places to eat in Essaouira
If you enter through the door of the medina called “Bab Marrakech”, going straight on, you will find half of the exhibitors with the fried fish to choose from; I recommend you not to miss the “sandines amoreux” or “farcies” (stuffed and packed sardines).
Everything is served with a delicious tomato, onion and harisa sauce, so you can spice it up if you wish.
Moroccan Restaurants in Essaouira
For authentic Moroccan cuisine and a moderate price, this restaurant is perfect.
It is located in the heart of the medina, along the main street that leads to the square and is a modest and unpretentious place, decorated in the purest Moroccan style.
The people who work there are very friendly and the tajin de kefta is particularly tasty (I have tried many tajines de kefta in Essaouira). I recommend it.
Adwak is one of the best restaurants in Essaouira for traditional food
Rue de Tetouan n°2
Tel. 604 127 905
This one is a vegetarian but sometimes they serve fish. To drink there is only water and natural juices (no coca cola or soft drinks of any kind).
The location already makes this place a special one, in one of the narrow streets that surround the old “skala” or fortress.
100% homemade food with products of the day. In fact, the menu changes daily and usually consists of 5 starters, 5 first courses, 5 seconds and some dessert. This is what is called “restaurant à la ardoise” or at the blackboard.
Something that will not leave you indifferent is the decoration and the way the tables are arranged… all of this rounds off an exquisite (not open at midday) and very pleasant dinner.
El Triskala is a vegetarian restaurant in Essaouira
Rue Touahen, Essaouira, Morocco
Tel. 524 476 371 / 655 585 131
Fast But Delicious
Flippin Pizza Restaurant
Simple and cheap, but varied. The menu includes pizzas (from 18:00), paninis, hamburgers or combined dishes. The chef’s salad is big and brings a very rich dressing. The lasagna is not bad either, but the best are the paninis and the hamburgers.
It’s out of the medina, but not far away. You can take a taxi for 7dh or walk for 10-15 minutes.
Flippin Pizza Restaurant
Avenue Allal Al Fassi
Tel. 524 472 059 (home service)
The snacks in the square
For something super fast I suggest any snack on the square, in front of the cafe de france. There are three or four in a row and all equally good, although I always eat the last one.
The snacks in the square are the ideal place to eat in Essaouira quickly
Snacks and Breakfast in Essaouira
To taste the best sweets, I recommend the “Patisserie Driss” which is just before the square.
It is the oldest in the medina and they always have freshly made or day-old sweets. The interior terrace is very pleasant, decorated with paintings by local artists, which gives the place a lot of charm.
Breakfast is super cheap and includes juice and coffee.
The Patisserie Driss is one of the best places to eat breakfast in Essaouira
Patisserie Chez Driss
Rue El Hajjali n°10
Tel. 524 475 793
I have already mentioned that the sunset in Essaouira is something special.
To enjoy the view while having a good tea, a harira soup or the classic Moroccan crepe with honey and cheese “msemem” I advise you to sit on the terrace that is next to the main wall of the square: Café Bachir.
The Café Bachir is the best place to drink tea in Essaouira
When you have been here for a couple of hours you will realize that both the plastic arts and music are part of the spirit of Essaouira.
If you feel like having dinner listening to live music and among artworks by local artists, you should check out the Restaurant Café des Arts.
The cuisine is basically Moroccan (although there is pasta and salads), especially the couscous raisin sec (with onion confit and raisins) and the tajine “boulettes de sardine” (sardine balls)
There are three floors to choose from (even though it is a small place): the first floor is very quiet and relaxed, on the second floor you will enjoy the best live music (if you play an instrument, get on stage!) and finally the rooftop, which offers great views of the main street of the medina.
At the Restaurant Des Arts you can eat in Essaouria with a different atmosphere
Restaurant Des Arts
Avenue de l’Istiqlal, nº56
Tel. 606 122 709
Here are my personal suggestions, I hope they will help you if you are visiting this beautiful and picturesque corner of the world. Do you know any other places I haven’t listed? Please feel free to add your favorite restaurants to improve this list.