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Essaouira : where to eat, where to sleep

Surf Essaouira Morocco

I could happily live like this: waking up in the morning in a nicely decorated, bright room

Palazzo Desdemona, Essaouira, Morocco

walk down the stairs of a beautiful palace to the dining room, where a yummy breaky is waiting for me

Palazzo Desdemona, Essaouira, Morocco

Palazzo Desdemona, Essaouira, Morocco

have a walk along the beach

Plage Essaouira

wear my wetsuit, grab my surf board & dive into the waves,

Surf Essaouira Morocco

eat, surf again, eat, sleep, repeat...

All that with my love, of course <3

I already enough talk about surfing in Essaouira, it's time now to tell you about the cool, little places we discovered :)

Where to sleep in Essaouira:

Palazzo Desdemona, Essaouira, Morocco

We stayed at Palazzo Desdemona, a charming palace just at the entrance of the old city.

Medina entrance door Essaouira Morocco

The location was more than perfect as we were in the old city, but really close to the main entrance door so that we could get very quickly to the beach.

Palazzo Desdemona is an old palace from the XVIII century that has been turned into a hotel. Artists like Orson Welles & Rita Hayworth used to stay there.

Palazzo Desdemona, Essaouira, Morocco

It's not the most luxurious riad you can find in Essaouira, but it's a beautiful place full of charme & history, that is much better in my opinion :)

There are a lot of sitting rooms, a nice tea room on the ground floor and rooftop from where you have a nice view of the medina & the clock tower.

Palazzo Desdemona, Essaouira, Morocco

Now that we solved the sleeping part, let's move on to the important things: the food :)

Essaouira is a very touristic place and so is also full of "fancy" restaurants offering a European inspired kitchen.

In search of something more authentic, we asked for suggestion to the hotel staff. 
When the guys from the surf school suggested the same places, we knew we picked the right ones!

Where to have dinner in Essaouira:

If, like me, you prefer authentic places & local food, I have two gems for you :

  • Laayoune : is a tiny restaurants & it's always full. You may want to arrive early to have a table or prepare to queue (it totally worth it!). 
Restaurant Laayoune, Essouira, Morocco

We went there on our first night in Essaouira & we came back the last night as the food was delicious, the owner was super gentle & there was a nice atmosphere.  

Restaurant Laayoune, Essouira, Morocco

As you seat, you're greeted with bread and some dippings, that the owner kindly refills while you wait for the main dish. 

Restaurant Laayoune, Essouira, Morocco

You can chose among all the Moroccan specialities: couscous, tajines... 

May I suggest the royal couscous? Everything was delicious, but the couscous royal... Have a look at it for yourself

Restaurant Laayoune, Essouira, Morocco

All washed down by mint tea (they don't serve alcohol anyway)

Restaurant Laayoune, Essouira, Morocco

^ See how I master the art of serving mint tea ;))

If I really have to find a less positive thing, desserts weren't as good as all the rest

Restaurant Laayoune, Essouira, Morocco

But don't worry, you know me, I have a solution: just go to the nearest bakery shop (there's one just around the corner that's open until late) & grab a couple of Moroccan pastries. 

Moroccan pastries

Then you can quietly enjoy them in one of the sitting rooms of your riad

Palazzo Desdemona Essouira

We could only eat couscous & pastries cause we were surfing 5 to 6 hours a day - just warning you ;p

  • Ramsess : it's a family restaurant that serves good local food (& wine!). They also play live music. 
    Restaurant Ramsess Essaouira

    Nice atmosphere & food was very good. 

    But, maybe we haven't been lucky: the service was way too long & the owners weren't that kind. As several persons suggested the place, I think that we were there on a bad night ;)

    Restaurant Ramsess Essaouira

    In addition to all the Moroccan specialties like couscous & tajines, fish is obviously super good in Essaouira. 

    You can also try a mix: the fish couscous, it's different & very tasty. I already ate it a couple of years ago in Trapani, Sicily, where is one of the local dishes & I had it again in Essaouira.

    Where to have lunch in Essaouira:

    The reason I'm suggesting the following places for lunch is just that they seem to me more easy going & good for a quicker meal, but of course you can go there at night as well ;)

    • Café Restaurant Ch'rif : this place is behind the beach in the new town. Honestly, seeing the place from the outside, I would have never stopped there. But one day we asked to the guy of the surf place where we could go for lunch not too far & he suggested this place. Let me tell you, I'm so glad we listened to him!
    Café Restaurant Ch'rif, Essaouira, Morocco

    To find it, if you walking along the beach, going from the end of the beach to the medina, just turn right on the little street before the oil station.
    If you're walking from the medina to the beach, you'll turn left on first little the street after the oil station.

    Either way, the restaurant will be on your left 200-300 m after the beginning of the street. It's just near a kitesurf school.

    Don't expect anything fancy inside, but super tasty, incredibly inexpensive (at least from a European point of view) local food  & local people.

    Café Restaurant Ch'rif, Essaouira, Morocco

    Café Restaurant Ch'rif, Essaouira, Morocco

    We shared a mixed fruit & an avocado smoothie that were to die for (especially the avocado one!!) & had one of the best tajine we ever had!

    Café Restaurant Ch'rif, Essaouira, Morocco

    Café Restaurant Ch'rif, Essaouira, Morocco

    I really can't recommend this place enough!!! 

    • Fishing port restaurants : I already mention in one of my previous post, the restaurants on the fishing harbor. Just at the entrance of the harbor, there are several restaurants lined up, all serving grilled local fish. 
    fishing port restaurant, Essaouira

    You can see outside the different kind of fishes they have. They're very simple places, but we found really relaxing sitting there in the sun. Plus, the fish we had was super good, very fresh & perfectly cooked. It came with mixed salad. Price was very reasonable as well. ;)

    fishing port restaurant, Essaouira

    All the restaurants offer the same kind of food at more or less the same price (price is mentioned outside, if not you may want to check it before), so I cannot really recommend a particular one. We just picked one that was in the sun, feeling bad for the one before it & the one after it because we didn't sit there...

    I still have a couple of nice places to tell you about, more to have a drink & watch the beautiful Essaouira sunset. I'll tell you about that in the next post ;)

    Have you been to Essaouira? Do you know other good places there?


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