One of the delights of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music is the opportunity to explore the cuisine for which Morocco is justifiably famous. For visitors to Fez, here are some of our suggestions for top places to enjoy fine food. We offer seven of our favourites. If you are attending the whole festival, try one per day and you'll still have a couple of days to spare for some street food!
Moroccan food is incredibly diverse, thanks to the country’s interaction with a variety of cultures and nations over the centuries, including Amazigh (Berber), Moorish, Arab and Mediterranean influences. Spices feature extensively in Moroccan cooking and there is a centuries-old art to their careful balancing.The Ruined Garden
The Ruined Garden is in the garden of Riad Idrissy and is a delightful, relaxed oasis. It will be opening its doors each day between 13.00 and 21.30.
|The Ruined Garden is a delight|
The Ruined Garden lunch menu will have will be more tapas this year and in the evening there will be the most famous Fez speciality - Pigeon B’Stella - a filo pastry pie stuffed with pigeon meat, spices, egg and toasted almonds with an orange and tomato salad and cinnamon and sugar. There will be no need to order a fixed price menu as it will be a main course dish. The Ruined Garden is still one of the few places in Fez to offer this on an a la carte menu (200 DH).
There are also a couple of dishes that are worth taking the time to order in advance.
Worthy of special mention is the slow-cooked (7 hour) lamb 'Mechwi' - 240 DH for 1 kilo (32 oz). It is a good dish to share and comes with a saffron, garlic, cumin and vegetable tagine (each extra kilo costs 180 DH).
Sephardic Saffron Chicken - 280 DH for one chicken, enough for two or three people. (Ask if you are a bigger group and need a larger bird.) This is poached with saffron, chickpeas, garlic, onion, eggs and stuffed with spiced minced beef.
Ice creams are also on the menu and to drink there is salty lemon and sprite and coke floats.
Contact: 06 49 19 14 10 or firstname.lastname@example.org
13 Derb Idrissi, Sieje, Sidi Ahmed Chaoui. Ph 06 49 19 14 10 http://www.riadidrissy.com/
|Moroccan mint makes the world's best mint tea|
The Eden at Palais Amani
Gastro Pop-up in the Fez Medina - The Eden at Palais Amani. This is a boutique hotel just inside the Medina in Fez and another excellent place to eat. The Eden restaurant introduces guests to the diversity of Moroccan cuisine through the types of dishes found in Moroccan homes. The menus are revitalised with a twist of creativity and sophistication and brought to your table by their acclaimed chefs.
As part of the 23rd edition of Fez’s Sacred Music Festival, Eden will be running a three day Gastronomy Pop-Up event, in collaboration with Food and Friends.
Food and Friends are a duo - both born in Belgium; one with Italian/Indonesian roots the other Moroccan.
Carlo worked for years in Belgium, in iconic Michelin star restaurants such as Comme Chez Soi, De Slagmolen, Clos St Denis and De Bijgaarden. Noureddin has been running a hotel in Belgium with his partner. Today, Noureddin's sense of hospitality blends with Carlo's culinary talent and together they form Food and Friends.
They are passionate about high quality food from fresh and seasonal local products. Together they work on many private dining projects and are also involved in gastronomic pop-up events in Morocco and Belgium.
From the 12th to 14th May (inclusive) Food and Friends will be showcasing a delightful tasting menu available at lunch and before and after concerts.
For more information please contact Amilia Baha at email@example.com or +33 6 87 09 98 63 and for bookings please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
|Cafe Clock - home of the camel burger|
Over the last 10 years Cafe Clock has become a significant feature of Fez social and cultural life. It is is especially the place to head for the camel burgers. Service is efficient and the menu has something for everyone. Their coffee is particularly good. Cafe Clock is open 9am to 11pm and will have their regular events - storytelling, jamming and Sunday concerts. Workshops will also be available - Clock Kitchen, Calligraphy, Oud and henna.
Call into the Clock at 7 Derb el Magana off the Tala'a Kbira, to check out what else is happening there during the festival. https://www.facebook.com/Cafeclockfes/
Fez Cafe Restaurant
Nestled within the grounds of the well known riad, Le Jardin des Biehn, is a surprisingly vast garden, designed in Andalusian style and encompassing both flower-lined walks and produce for the kitchen. The cafe, with its pastel coloured walls and doors open to the courtyard, is one of the most relaxed in Fez. The food drawing equally on Moroccan cuisine and that of Mediterranean France, is Fez fusion with highlights including salmon tapenade, duck b’stella or the spiced goats cheese salad. They stock some reasonably priced local wines.
The colourful and cosy Fez Cafe at Jardin des Biehn has a gorgeous interior and also an outdoor garden setting. A great place to chill out between events.
Contact: 0664647679 or email@example.com
The opening of Nur restaurant in Fez was greeted with much excitement. For good reason. Chef Najat Kaanache presents seven courses of fine food with creativity and flair.
|Nur presents fabulous food in creative ways|
The Nur experience is such that it is probably best to reserve for a night when you are taking a break from the music, or heading to the Sufi performances at 11pm.
Find them at 7 Zkak Rouah in the Medina - make a reservation: phone: +212 6 94 27 78 49
Dar Roumana is a guesthouse on the north side of the medina, close to parking at Bab Guissa. it has wonderful medina views from the terrace and a great chef. Dar Roumana normally offers Fes Sacred Music Festival Special Pre-concert dinners.
|Dar Roumana has a great atmosphere|
Dar Roumana 30 Derb el Amer Zkak Roumane, Fes Medina +212 660 29 04 04 (mobile) +212 535 741 637 www.darroumana.com
Maison Moi Anan
With his distinctive flair, fashion designer and chef Anan Sorsutham creates genuine Thai dishes, as if you were a guest in his home in Thailand.
Using the freshest of local ingredients, supplemented by imported herbs and spices, the subtle and authentic blend of flavours is an unexpected but exciting experience to find in the Fez Medina.
Maison Moi Anan is located in a traditional Fez house, which is tastefully decorated. On the ground floor is the boutique, where Anan’s latest fashion designs are on display. Upstairs offers a range of dining options from an elegant dining room, to a plant festooned terrace, to two intimate rooms that can be shared by up to six guests.
Find Maison Moi Anan at 30 Zkak El Ma, Chrablyen,
Tel: 06 52 49 73 91 / 05 35 63 57 13
*STREET FOOD is good - take your pick of any of the sandwich places around Bab Boujloud and the market at the top of Tala'a Kebira. Choose your filling from the display and watch as it's cooked on the grill. For around 30 DH, you'll get half a round loaf, or a small baguette, stuffed with grilled chicken, tomatoes, onions and olives, or beef and liver, or merguez sausage. Chips or fried eggs are an optional extra. Many of the stalls also do vegetarian options with fried aubergine slices or green peppers.
*SELF-CATERERS are in for a treat with markets at the Bab Boujloud end of Tala'a Kebira and the huge market in R'cif. All sorts of meat (except pork, of course), fish and a wide array of fruit and vegetables are on display. Cheese is limited to a softish white variety wrapped in leaves - very tasty, too. You will find a wide range of recipes in The View From Fez Cookbook
*BAB BOUJLOUD: there's a wide selection of restaurants near the famous Blue Gate, from the well-known Thami's to Abdou's Restaurant Fassia, Restaurant Bouyyad, Rachid's and the Kasbah and several others. Choose one where the seat covers appeal to your sense of style (gold with large bows, polka dots or zebra stripes?) and enjoy a fairly standard range of Moroccan traditional dishes. A three-course meal with water or mint tea will set you back around 100 DH.
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