I just had a short vacation in Morocco, visiting Marrakesh and Essaouira, and I found it very accommodating for the vegan traveller. I even think eating raw here would be quite easy. I didn’t try though, as I wanted to satisfy my lifelong desire to eat couscous in Maroc… and satisfy it I did! I was concerned about the broth but I always enquired and was always guaranteed the veg dishes contained no animal stock what so ever. So I trusted.

 

Marrakesh

I started my days with breakfast at my hotel, Tchaikana: fresh fruit on the rooftop (oranges, strawberries), fig jam and tomato jam (yes really and it’s great), baguettes and special Moroccan flatbread (my fave, double check that there’s no butter). I brought along Lake Klamath blue-green algae to stir in my morning juice. I think it gave me lots of energy throughout the day.

Earth Café is the organic vegetarian and vegan restaurant of Marrakesh, and it is in the heart of the medina, just off the Jemaa el Fna square. They have six entrees, three of which are vegan and cost 60 dirhams [about 5 or 6 euros] for huge delicious portions. They also have good fresh juices. Earth Café is welcoming and friendly with a great atmosphere. This is the kind of place I would like to hug.

I visited Chez Chegrouni after hearing they didn’t use animal broth in their vegetarian dishes: in fact I even got someone from our riad [hotel] to double check! Fabulous view from the top floor terrasse of the square and the minaret. Cheap. Loved it. You even get to write down your own order.

Café des Epices is a wonderful, friendly, welcoming and stylish place. Spotless and with impeccable service, we ended up here for mint tea often. I enjoyed their vegan avocado and tomato sandwich served with bowl of warm stewed and spiced lentils and their fruit salad (swimming in fresh orange juice of course). Also, they have Wi-fi, but no I did not blog while I was there!

Terasse des Epices has the same owner as Café des Epices. Beautiful, cool, stylish, very comfortable, fun view, I can’t say enough about this place, especially the setting. I had tomato and cucumber salad, orange and strawberry juice, and penne with aubergine. Complementary bread and olives, as is common but always welcome in Morocco. Wi-fi here too.

Le Foundouk is rather Chic and quite lovely. Good food, including cooked salads, and the best couscous I had in Morocco. The classiest and most expensive place I visited.

Le Tobsil was recommended and hard to find, yet we were surprised to find it totally empty. No one came. We ordered some mixed salads. Nothing special.

Essaouira

Lalla Mira is an organic and ‘eco’ restaurant, hotel and spa. The food here was good: so good it was gone before I could take a picture. I had tabouleh with bulgur and their tagine with fennel: so perfectly spiced and I don’t mean spicy. Have a treatment at the spa for an authentic, if brutal and somewhat surreal, experience worth writing home about… but perhaps not blogging in great detail.

Cafe de l’Horloge provided good food in a nice square. Plenty of outdoor seating and street entertainers kept the music coming, for a small fee.

La Petite Perle is a charming, authentically decorated popular restaurant. Friendly service, great food. We tried green salad, an amazing aubergine salad (which is cooked, mashed and seasoned) and tagine.

In addition to restaurants I should mention that Argan oil is the pride of this area. Drive through argan orchards past cooperatives. I bought cosmetic and culinary varieties. This oil is all the rage these days, and it is very good. It is harvested in an interesting manner… look it up…

Street food

Street food is also a big part of the fun in Morocco –

  • Bread on the street: Yum, yum, and also… yum. Hot, crispy, flaky and greasy.
  • Orange juice: fresh, cheap, delicious.
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Coconut and pineapple

In some ways, I found Vegan Maroc to be easier than Vegan Paris. I always felt that the people were keen to work with my diet and make sure that I felt welcome. I am looking forward to returning there some day soon.

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