When you travel to Marrakech, food shouldn't be an afterthought: It should be a focal point of your journey. Like the Moroccan city itself, the cuisine is varied and diverse — dining can range from low-key to lavish, but no matter what price you're paying you're likely to have a great meal. Try to stop at some (or all) of these restaurants when you visit the Red City.

1. Dar Moha 

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This alfresco restaurant is the perfect place to start your exploration of Moroccan cuisine. Chef Moha reinvents traditional dishes such as tagine, couscous and pastilla with refined techniques and distinctive flavors. The restaurant is also a feast for the eyes, as tables are set around a riad pool among lush greenery and tall candelabras. 

81 Rue Dar el Bacha, Marrakech, Medina, Morocco. +212 5243-86400; darmoha.ma


2. Nomad

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Many of Marrakech’s best dining experiences take place outside, and Nomad definitely falls into that category. This rooftop restaurant uses fresh local produce to craft inventive salads and vegetable dishes, as well meat dishes such as kefta and lamb chops. The restaurant has a central Medina location and overlooks Rahba Kedima spice market. 

1, Derb Aarjan, Marrakech, Medina, Morocco. +212 5243-81609; nomadmarrakech.com


3. El Fenn 

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El Fenn is a beautiful boutique hotel whose rooftop restaurant is where to go when you want to see and be seen. The place is bustling at night but a little quieter for lunch, when it features a veggie-focused daily menu. Enjoy multiple small plates that allow you to sample a variety of Moroccan flavors. 

Derb Moulay Abdullah Ben Hezzian, Bab El Ksour, Marrakech, Medina, Morocco. +212 5244-41210; el-fenn.com


4. Bô-Zin

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If you like restaurants where dinner can turn into dancing, then this is your spot. Bô-Zin is located about 10 minutes away from the Medina and offers a vast indoor/outdoor dining area. The menu features both Asian and Moroccan influences — the standout dish for me was the black cod with caramelized miso, which surpassed the version Nobu is so famous for. 

Route de l'Ourika km 3.5, Marrakech 40000, Morocco. +212 5243-88012; bo-zin.com


5. Amaia

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Amaia is perfect for a quick and well-priced lunch. Try a light fish starter such as mille-feuille of spider crab with smoked salmon, followed by a heartier pasta dish or the pork tenderloin. The service is fast and the restaurant has cheerful decor, making it a great midday pick-me-up. 

84 Avenue Hassan II, Marrakech 40000, Morocco. +212 5244-57181; Facebook 


6. Cafe Clock

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This restaurant is most famous for its camel burger, which is a must-try when you’re in Marrakech. It’s also a great spot to eat a hearty breakfast to kick off a day of adventure — nosh on eggs, pancakes and muesli before you spend a long day on your feet. Cafe Clock is also a cultural center: Catch traditional Moroccan storytelling (hikayat), musical performances or photo exhibitions there. 

224 Derb Chtouka, Marrakech, Morocco. +212 5243-78367; marrakech.cafeclock.com


7. Latitude 31

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Latitude 31 links old-school and nouvelle Moroccan cuisine for updated takes on traditional dishes such as harira (Moroccan soup) and a variety of tagines. The presentation here is stunning  the chef creatively assembles different textures and colors on the plate so that the dishes are almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. 

186, rue El Gza Arset lhiri Bab Doukkala, Marrakech 40000, Morocco. +212 5243-84934; latitude31marrakech.com​

8. La Mamounia Brunch 

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Who doesn’t love a big, indulgent brunch, especially after a night out? If you want to spoil yourself, head to La Mamounia on a Sunday for a poolside feast. The buffet is ultra luxe — oysters, lobster, salmon, salads and tagines. The price tag is steep (around $100), but the beautiful surroundings and delightful food make it worth the splurge. 

Avenue Bab Jdid, Marrakech 40040, Morocco. +212 5243-88600; mamounia.com


9. Narwama

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Narwama brings the wow factor. Located in an ancient riad, it features a large fountain in the middle, and the main dining room is a glass-domed enclave. Sometimes there’s a fire lit atop the fountain. Belly dancers and musicians entertain while you dine on Moroccan and Thai delicacies such as Panang curry, Moroccan salads and couscous. What starts as dinner is likely to turn into late-night dancing, so dress accordingly. 

Rue Koutoubia, Marrakech, Medina, Morocco. +212 672-508700; narwama.com


10. Le Comptoir Darna

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Yes, we're closing this list with another clubby restaurant (both locals and tourists like to party in Marrakech, okay?). Whereas other places on the list spontaneously switch from restaurants to party palaces in the same space, Le Comptoir Darna has a dining room, a club and an outdoor patio. Try the hearty kefta tagine, scallops a la plancha or the Berber tagine, which is made with vegetables, fresh mountain herbs and a hint of argan oil. Once you wrap dinner, grab a watermelon mojito and hit the dance floor. 

Avenue Echouhada, Hivernage, Marrakech 40000, Morocco. +212 5244-37702; uk.comptoirmarrakech.com

By Rana Good

Rana Good is a writer and editor who hails from Switzerland but calls New York home. She's on a quest to scour the world for the best eats, sites and experiences and share them with you. Whether she's traversing the wilderness of Mongolia or swimming with sharks in Bora Bora, she's happiest when she's discovering a new place.