Monday, May 12, 2008

The best little restaurant in Fes - update

Thami's restaurant has been closed for the last week and at first it caused concern amongst his regular patrons who worried that he might have closed. Thankfully that was not the case and now Thami (pictured above) has reopened with brand new décor - all fresh and bright. The food? The food is as good as ever.

For a few years Thami's was a well kept secret among the Moroccans and expat locals. Slowly the word got out and he is now listed in the guide books. However, it still takes some skill to find his tiny kitchen and the three small tables.

Tourists visiting Fez are usually guided to "palace" restaurants where the menu is Moroccan salads, chicken or lamb tagine with couscous followed by fruit and mint tea. For the average visitor, street food is something they approach with undue caution. But we are here to tell you the street food is great.

So where do you go if you want to watch the crowds and enjoy a simple, delicious meal at very reasonable prices and no fuss? The answer is Thami's Restaurant.

At this point we should mention that in the context of Thami, the word "restaurant" should be taken to mean a simple table set on a street corner. In fact, the owner and chef, Thami, started off a few years ago with a single table and four chairs. The following year he expanded to six chairs with two tables covered with a single tablecloth and now he has managed to take over another small area of footpath and has a second table with two chairs - such is capitalism.

On our latest visit we noticed that Thami has two new round tables - now all he needs is extra chairs! At the first sign of an approaching tourist, Thami weaves his way through the crowds on the street and presents them with the card. This is hard work, as his strike rate is often as low as one in fifty. Yet when the restaurant is busy, people in the know, find themselves having to nip around to the Batha Hotel to assuage their thirst while waiting for a seat. Once you get a seat you could well find yourself chatting with some of the Medina's most colourful identities - poets, renovators, English teachers and photographers.

Thami is up against stiff competition. To one side of his small hole-in-the-wall kitchen are a row of smart cafes and several terrace restaurants with ambiance much more appealing than a simple table on a busy corner near the Baboujeloud. So why do so many of the expats and Moroccan's regularly visit Thami? The answer is simple. The food is simple, cheap and fresh - and in five years of eating there - nobody has had any need to rush for the immodium! The second reason is Thami himself. He is a really nice person who looks after his regular customers as if they were members of his family.

The one drawback to Thami's is the fact that being located in such a great spot for watching the passing throng some of the locals have taken up almost permanent residence on some of his chairs and often need prying away from them with a crowbar.

We suggest you try the tagine of kefta with egg, the melange and his fish.

Thami's Restaurant is at the very top of the Tala'a Sghira on the corner that turns right to the Baboujeloud and the Tala'a Kbira. He is open for lunch and in the evenings from about 7 onwards. The restaurant is the best kept secret in Fez, so don't tell anyone else, okay?



Anonymous said...

George:I love this blog, thanks for sharing.

Marvin James said...

I just came back from Morocco and during my time in Fes (2 days) I ate at Thami's Restaurant. The guy is a real sport and a great host. And last but not least: the food is great!

Fernando Grosso said...

The best restaurant in morocco. There is no other like!!!

Fernando Grosso said...

The best restaurant in morocco. There is no other like