The Essaouira Medina is a whirlwind of different shops, hawkers, and of course the dizzying variety of outstanding restaurants. In all honesty, you can probably pop into almost any of the places to eat in Essaouira and leave satisfied. Yet we found that many restaurants with simple menus and humble Moroccan food were unnecessarily overpriced. This led us to seek out the best food in Essaouira, with the most reasonable prices.
Whether you’re spending a day, week, or considerably longer in this alluring coastal town, you need to give some of these a try. Here are our top picks for where to eat in Essaouira!
All prices in Moroccan Dirham (DH). 10DH = $1(US), $1.35(Can), 0.94€.
The Best Restaurants in Essouira
- Hours: Everyday 12:30 – 3:30 pm / 6:30 – 10 pm
A trendy little restaurant with respect for the environment. Serving only local food, using ecological cleaning products and fully plastic-free, Triskala is a must when eating in Essaouira. They serve up all types of dishes catering to everyone from vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and the ones who can eat it all.
Expect modern, bistro-esque twists on traditional Moroccan and Mediterranean food. Yellow beet carpaccio with basil oil, tuna tartare with goat cheese, and tagine of sardine kefta, are just a few examples.
Lunch service is usually slower than dinner service, so make sure to book a table if going later in the evening, because this place is bumpin’.
What we ate:
- Tapas: Lentil Rillette, Beet Hummus, Zaalouk (eggplant) – 25dh
- Sardine and Caramelized onion pie – 30dh
- Tabbouleh – 30dh
- Hours: 11-3 pm/7-10 pm; Closed Fridays
Tucked quietly down an alley painted bright blue, this tiny restaurant is popular with locals and expats alike. With only a few tables and short opening times, Vague Blue is almost always busy. But don’t let the crowds deter you from stopping in, go early or a bit later and you should be fine.
The board out front displays what is on the menu for the day, usually only three or four items. All dishes are typically around 50/60 MAD and include bread, a plate of three starter salads, two juice smoothies and your main!
The mains range from handmade gnocchi, to fried chicken or monkfish. Each main, except the pasta, comes with a side of veg, salad or potatoes.
What we ate:
- Battered fish and potatoes – 50DH
- Fried Chicken and potatoes – 50DH
Ruly’s Ramen Shop
- Hours: Mon/Wed/Fri 11:30 – 3 pm
Lost in the Medina of Essaouira’s winding walkways, this tiny hole-in-the-wall serves up drool-worthy ramen. Ruly’s is owned and run by a Japanese musician couple who have travelled the world.
Serving a simple menu of two soups: one vegetarian and one meat; and a couple of salads and sides, all made fresh with local ingredients. This Essaouira restaurant is a great break away if you have been looking for something other than Moroccan cuisine.
Amazing service, outstanding flavours, and beautiful sea views from the terrace make this one of our favourite non-Moroccan restaurants in Essaouira.
Make sure to come early because it is only open three days a week for 2.5 hours each day.
Fresh flavours served with big smiles!
Note: Ruly’s Ramen Shop is closed until December 2019, as they’re currently welcoming a new baby!
What We Ate:
- Ruly’s Ramen – 140DH
- Tofu Salad – 65DH
- Hours: Everyday 12-3 pm/7-11 pm
The best Moroccan food we had in Essaouira was at Miyame. This small, locally-owned restaurant is serving up delicious food at reasonable prices. Fresh-caught seafood, perfectly spiced tagines, refreshing salads, and great snacks make this one of our favourite restaurants in Essaouira.
The low tables, dimly lit atmosphere and Moroccan rugs make this a great Moroccan experience as well. And yes, it’s another great restaurant with limited seating. So make sure (once again) to come early.
We visited Miyame twice, and both experiences were outstanding!
What we ate:
- Chicken, Prune, Raisin and caramelized onion Tagine – 60DH
- Shrimp Salad – 30DH
- Mixed Samosas – 40DH
- Hours: Mon to Sat 12-5 pm/7-10 pm, Friday only evening and closed Sundays
Lined up before it opens, Adwak is an institution in the Essaouira medina. Serving an extensive Moroccan menu, with a sampling of almost anything from the country’s cuisine. From fish stews and lentil soup to roasted vegetable couscous and wonderful selection of tasty tagines.
Set menu prices
All include a starter, entree, and dessert. We shared this between two people and got one extra dish, which was a lot of food. You can even order a la carte but if you are getting a starter and a main it is worth to get the set menu.
What we ate:
- 2 Moroccan set menu, one with chicken and vegetable couscous, and one with beef tagine
- Hours: Everyday 7 am – 12 am
This one is a slightly different option. First of all, it’s not anywhere near the Medina. We found this place near the apartment we rented during our time in Essaouira, and we visited on several occasions.
If you’re staying in town for a while and making trips to the Carrefour supermarket, this is a nice place to stop for lunch.
The menu is extensive, and features everything from pizza and burgers, to tagines, grilled prawns, and kebabs. And despite the fairly westernized menu, we only ever saw this place full of locals.
The prices are decent and the portions are huge. I would argue that this has the best value for food of any restaurant we found. Though if you only have a short visit, I’d recommend sticking to some of the more traditional spots on this list.
What we ate:
- Grilled chicken skewers with sides – 40DH
- Cheeseburger – 30DH
Budget Eats in Essaouira
Hand pies and rolled crepes filled with chicken. These are a backpackers glory, very filling and very Affordable!
Other Cheap Local Eats
There are three grilling restaurants in a row down Rue Sayaghine. The most popular being Cafe Jalil. These tiny setups sell a limited menu of salad and tagine of the day, as well as grilled meat and fish. All the food is very affordable and quite delicious.
So grab a seat in the alley and fill your belly for a great price, because street food rules.
For the Sweet Tooth
A great place to get frozen yogurt and smoothies. But they also serve healthy sandwiches salads and wraps. But we highly recommend the Moroccan flavour favourite: Orange chocolate cinnamon 20DH for a small.
Stop into any patisserie you see because they all have their unique desserts. The more wasps and bees swarming around inside the cabinets, the better.
Where to Buy Alcohol in Essaouira
Just in-case you get to Essaouira and don’t want to spend a bunch of money heading to the bars to drink, or you would like to start your afternoon with a cocktail from your waterfront balcony, we have you covered.
If you’re looking to buy alcohol in Essaouira, the cheapest prices and best selection are from the Carrefour supermarket at the southeast corner of town. Connected to the side of the main grocery store, yet using a separate entrance, they have almost anything you could want, at the best prices in Essaouira.
But remember, they are closed every Friday. And if shopping around Ramadan, make sure to stock up a week before, as they’re closed for the entire holy month.
Go Get some Great Food!
Essaouira is one of our favourite cities in Morocco. It has all the charm of the bigger cities, without the madness and chaos. The wind blowing in off the sea keeps it cool, and the fishing port brings in some of the freshest seafood in the country.