Marrakech Go’s and No’s

Food and drinks
During your visit you’ll eat many many tagines, with or without meat. You’ll find them anywhere. For some other great dishes and drinks read my recommendations below.

In the Medina
For cheap but relatively good food you should go to the famous Jamaa el Fna square. Here you’ll find street artists and eateries.
Also visit Earth Cafe (N 2, Derb Zawak, Riad Zitoun Kedim). The prices are European, but the menu’s very special and completely vegan.

Furthermore I dare you to try a crazy but healthy drink that you pronounce as ‘’gooden-gel’’ (with the first ‘’g’’ pronounced as the sounds in Dutch/German/Arabic languages). It is rumored that this spicy herbal drink would work like a natural Viagra! I’m not sure if it worked for me, but I noticed it’s stimulating the blood circulation system. It’s served in fall/winter season because it is great when you’re having a cold. You can find the drink at small food stands on the Jamaa el Fna square, or in the Medina streets.

In Gueliz
Lovers of all sorts of (fried) seafood should visit Avenu Moulay Rachid, behind Cafe la Poste. Pick one of many fish restaurant, it doesn’t really matter which one, as all are qualitative and very affordable. The fish is served with water, bread, olives and some Moroccan tapenades. Don’t expect something chique though, the restaurants are more like the better snack bars. Visit on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays or Sundays, when the catch is freshest.

For delicious flavored coffee or chocolate milk you should visit café and restaurant Extrablatt, which is located on the corner on Avenu Echouada and Rue Alqadissia. Caramel, choco, coco, chili flavor… all yummy. Prices are European, think 3-5 euro for a cup, but not as high as competitor Starbucks on Rue Sourya. Besides I found the quality much better.

 
Oriental Dance Classes
For some dancing you should visit Khalid’s classes at Dance-4-You (Immeuble LOUMAMI, Rond Poind Casa-Safi, Apartement N. 16, across Mc Donald-Rte de Casa) in Gueliz.
Khalid is a great performer who danced at famous modern ballet companies like the Martha Graham Company. He will teach you the art of being elegant and feminine sexy but without being vulgar. I consider the music very ‘’orientale’’ and the choreographies too. Nonetheless, Khalid’s choreographies are special and creative, as he blends them with dance styles like salsa, tango and modern ballet. It’s no wonder, the classes are very popular amongst Marrakchi woman.
Classes are given on Monday from 19.15-20.15, Tuesday morning from 09.00-10.00 and evening from 20.30-21.30, Thursday morning from 09.00-10.00, Friday evening from 20.30-21.30 and Saturday from 17.30-18.30. As classes are sometimes a little crowded, you can best attend a class in the morning or on Saturday.

Nightlife
If you’re looking for nightlife (and some culture shocks), I advise you to go to one of the many night café’s in Gueliz. Here, you can enjoy some alcoholic drinks and live music. Bands play western pop hits, but mainly Arabic pop music. Oh how I love it.
Unfortunately the prices, especially of alcohol, are generally relatively high in Morocco. Think of or above European prices. There are some cheaper bars but they don’t provide live music. The more expensive ones, do however.

Culture shock 1: don’t be surprised by the many working girls in these places, if you know what I mean. They are in stark contrast with the covered girls in hijabs and jelaba’s in the Marrakech streets.
Culture shock 2: I found the atmosphere in these places by far not as loose and open as in European nightlife. Visitors don’t dance as much (maybe because they drink little alcohol?). Besides they seem more serious and keep an eye on each other as if the club is a dangerous jungle… Don’t let it bother you, just enjoy the experience.
I’m curious of your opinion, share it below 😉

Cheaper without live music, with good atmosphere
At Cafe Atlas (Boulvard Mohamed V, across Cafe Renaissance) you can best order beer or Moroccan wine.

The Chesterfield Pub (115 Boulevard Mohammed V) offers some low-priced beer and acceptable but low-priced cocktails. In warmer nights you can sit in the beautiful garden which is decorated with plants and candles.

More expensive, with good live music
African Chiq (Rue Oum Errabia) the most kitschy place I’ve ever seen. The walls are packed with pieces of decoration in every style from every age on the whole planet. They’ve got great live music and delicious and huge cocktails. For a cocktail you’ll pay approximately 5 up to 10 euro.

Also visit the VIP Room (Jardins de la Palmeraie – c/o Hôtel du Golf) and le Carre Rouge (Hôtel Tikida Garden, Route de Fès, Circuit de la Palmeraie) for great live oriental music and dance.

Discothèques
Not my favourites, but for those who are into it: the real discotheques you’ll find on route Mohammed V. Here you’ll find Theatro, Pacha and most expensive Club 555. The entrance and prices for drinks are very high, but you’ll be treated with live performances of go go dancers (f.e. in Pirates of the Caribbean- or circus- style) and live djembé percussions along with popular dance-able house/ hip hop/ pop music.

I found the looks, go go performances and the quality of sound very good in both Club 555 and Theatro. The music played at Theatro was very popular, and sometimes cheesy, but dance-able thanks to rhythmic live percussion sessions. Summed up, the music in Theatro was not great, but fine for a night. However, the DJ’s at Club 555 were just terribly bad as well as the atmosphere and the high prices. By far no recommendation. Pacha I didn’t visit yet, so I will share my review in a later post.

Shisha Lounges
If you want to suck on a shisha pipe, you’re very unlucky. Unfortunately most of the shisha lounges in Morocco closed this year, as a consequence of a change in law.
That’s it for now.
Let me know if you’ve got any question/comments/suggestions/opinions!

 

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