On a recent trip back to Essoauira, I tried another couple of excellent restaurants in my favourite seaside city. These ones are slightly further up the price and fine dining scale than some of those I reviewed here, but the cuisine at both is well worth the (closer to European) prices.
I know well the rooftop bar at Taros – overlooking Place Moulay Hassan, the port and the ramparts, but this is only a small part of the French-owned Taros boutique/ restaurant/ bar/gallery enterprise. On a cold January evening, we were fortunate to be seated in the restaurant beside a roaring log fire and entertained by the house magician while dining on a truly delicious meal. The décor is a combination of traditional-style tiled walls, art by local artists and European-style fine dining. The menu features modern French cuisine using fresh local ingredients, as well as a selection of Moroccan dishes. The dessert menu is also impressive. As an example, I started with mini goat cheese and marinated pepper toasts on a bed of salad leaves followed by the daily fish special and – as if that weren’t gluttony itself, we also had desserts – one of us actually managed the moelleux au chocolat with vanilla ice cream! We washed all of that down with a delicious Moroccan white wine. The staff were friendly and attentive and the chef, Abdessamad Amahri, was happy to make personal recommendations. The mains range from around 80-130dh, with starters and desserts averaging 60-100dh. Wines – as in most Essoauira restaurants – come in at around 200dh a bottle. That doesn’t make for a cheap dinner, but the price/quality ratio at Taros is excellent value and still considerably less than I would pay for similar quality cuisine in the UK.
Taros, Place Moulay Hassan, Essaouira. Tel: +212 5 24 47 45 72
Le Km 8
Recently I ventured outside Essaouira to eat for the first time, to this restaurant situated – you guessed it – 8km from the city, in the new town of Essaouira. It’s a lovely setting – with seating beside a fountain on a patio outside and inside beside an open fire. (There’s a theme here – winter nights in Morocco are cold!) Another French-owned establishment, Le Km8 has a mainly French style menu featuring daily specials of fresh local ingredients. We shared a prawn cocktail which was far more impressive than anything of that name I have ever seen before! As a main course, I had a perfectly cooked filet of John Dory and my companion had the fish tajine. We came by car, so I took advantage of a wine available by the glass and we had verbena infusion by the fire to assist our digestion. This was a blow out dinner (at over 450dh for 1.5 courses each for two of us and only one alcoholic drink) but the cuisine and atmosphere were spot on and it was well worth it for an occasional splurge!
Le Km 8, Route d’Agadir, El Ghazoua, Essaouira. Tel: +212 666 25 21 23
© Lynn Sheppard