Moroccan food is incredibly diverse, thanks to the country’s Berber, Moorish, Arab and Mediterranean influences. Morocco was well-situated along ancient spice routes, which is why its cuisine is so spice-centric today. There are ten spices that Moroccan chefs mostly use— saffron, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ground ginger, black and/or white pepper, sweet paprika, hot red peppers, aniseed, and sesame seed—but there are many more. And the way they use them is an art! We spent an unforgettable evening at Le Marocain restaurant situated in La Mamounia, the iconic luxury hotel in Marrakech, where we tasted modern Moroccan cuisine well orchestrated by the the Head Chef Rachid Agouray.
Located in a Riad in the heart of the gardens, Le Marocain is very opulent thanks to artistic vision of French interior designer Jacques Garcia. It is one of the most romantic sceneries we have seen in Marrakech- discreet alcoves create an intimate atmosphere and it was beautiful just to look at the moon and the stars while enjoying La Mamounia‘s wine and a live trio that was playing legendary Algerian chaâbi song “Ya Rayah”.
Le Marocain is very opulent thanks to artistic vision of French interior designer Jacques Garcia
Inside, the décor features warm colors, sculpted wood, zellige tilework, and enchanting arabesques
At this amazing restaurant Chef Rachid Agouray, who joined La Mamounia team in 1988, invites you to discover the Moroccan cuisine in all its richness and variety. He is one of the world’s most prestigious chefs who gained experience and fame at prominent venues such as Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, Hotel Cipriani in Venice and Martinez in Cannes. Before Le Morocain, he was at the head of the Italian restaurant and of the Buffet by the pool before the renovation. Chef Rachid Agouray likes to display a wide range of both traditional dishes and revisited Moroccan cuisine.
Le Marocain restaurant features the fabulous culinary delights where Chef Rachid Agouray blends the best of current and traditional cuisine
Don’t leave Le Marocain without trying pastilla, tagines, couscous, Moroccan pastries and La Mamounia’s wine. At the restaurant there are plenty of exciting options, a combination between Moroccan classics and adventurous twists and fusions, like the famous pastilla with lobster and spinach. A pastilla is a kind of Moroccan pie, usually with a glazed casing, and this one we had a chance to try and it was delicious. For starter you may also order one of chef’s signature dishes- Langoustine salad with cilantro, smoked eggplant and preserved lemon or Rolled sardine, purslane, olives, garlic and saffron emulsion.
For the main course we ordered Braised beef shank tagine “makfoul” and Couscous with fish and green vegetables. The dish most synonymous with Moroccan cuisine is tagine. The word “tagine” is used to describe both the cooking tool (a shallow clay pot with a large conical top that basically functions as a portable oven) and the slow-cooked, stew-like dish that’s prepared inside. The meat goes on the bottom of the tagine because it requires the most heat, the vegetables are layered on top, and the spices are distributed throughout. As far as what specifically goes in the tagine, the possibilities are vast. At Le Marocain you may also choose:
“R’hamna” free range chicken tagine, olives and lemon confit
Monkfish tagine, fennel and red olives, verbena emulsion with saffron
Spring chicken tagine, almond, chick peas and glazed turnips
Berber style cabri tagine
Traditional minced beef tagine with soft egg
Lamb tagine, prunes and almonds
Lamb leg tagine, Brania style eggplant
Garden stuffed vegetable tagine, celeriac emulsion
Couscous is a fine wheat pasta traditionally rolled by hand. It is steamed over a stew of meat and vegetables. To serve, the meat is covered by a pyramid of couscous, the vegetables are pressed into the sides and the sauce served separately. It is often garnished with a sweet raisin preserve, or in the Berber tradition, with a bowl of buttermilk. And the best place to try couscous is definitely Le Marocain because it has various delicious options like:
Chicken couscous with “Tfaya“ and carrots, Lamb couscous with seven vegetables
Couscous, vegetables, beef kefta and spicy merguez
Couscous with vegetables
Chef Rachid Agouray is certainly a chef who never ceases to surprise with originality and creativity. His signature main courses are:
Fes style spiny lobster tagine
Marinated sea bass tagine, garden small carrots
Mrouzia style rabbit, dry and pear confit
Free range chicken with honey and ginger, cracked wheat and fried onions
Lamb with green tea, Granny Smith apple and figs
For the desert we highly recommend Moroccan pastries. They have such a magnificent taste and we can guarantee that Moroccans are masters in making them. During our stay at La Mamounia we always ordered pastries with dates. What is interesting is that La Mamounia has developed a signature scent which you can smell everywhere and in its base are also dates. If you would like to order something more light, we recommend Fresh fruit, Jamaican thyme with Mamounia garden fresh herb. La Mamounia‘s pride is its own organic garden and many products that are used in their cooking come straight from it.
Address: Avenue Bab Jdid
40 040 Marrakech Maroc
Tel.: +212 5243-88600
We give very special thanks to Morocco Luxury Experience- an exclusive transportation service that assisted us on our trip. With their professional help tailored to our needs we could quickly travel between different locations.
Vesna Filipovic for Fashionela