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People have always flocked to Marrakech for the local cuisine, a refined mix of Berber, Arab, Moorish and Mediterranean influences. But now that the city is a hub among the jet-set circuit, acclaimed chefs have also arrived to put their own twist on traditional flavors. The result: Marrakech has become one of the most diverse and desirable gastronomic destinations anywhere. Visit these top restaurants when you’re in town:
1. Dar Moha. Star chef Moha Fedal gets creative with his nouvelle Marocaine dishes, whipping up a medley of couscous combos made from both durum wheat and Berber barley and laced with ingredients like caramelized pumpkin. Enjoy cucumbers soaked in orange water and apples stewed in saffron while Gnaoua and Andalusian musicians play poolside in this former home of couturier Pierre Balmain.
2. La Grande Table Marocaine. Given that the ultra-deluxe Royal Mansour Marrakech hotel is owned by the king of Morocco, it's no surprise that the restaurants inside are fit for royalty. With menus created by Yannick Alléno, a notable chef at Le Meurice in Paris, La Grande Table Marocaine serves up delectable veal-and-apricot stews, spiced duck and artichoke tagines, and shredded pigeon in layers of millefeuille. Its sister restaurant, La Grande Table Francaise, is reputed to have the best French food in Africa.
3. Le Tobsil. Lip-smacking five-course prix fixe traditional meals that include Moroccan salads, tagines, couscous and pigeon pie make Le Tobsil a hit. So does the romantic candlelit ambience of this rose-petal-strewn former palace in the medina.
4. Le Marocain. Amid the lavish gardens of the La Mamounia hotel, this to-the-hilt restaurant inside a three-story riad serves up extravagant 14-course meals that fuse traditional and modern Moroccan fare. Try expertly cooked lamb shoulder and date-stuffed quail in a setting that's hard to beat — under the stars, in a courtyard terrace and surrounded by a pleasure garden that would embarrass Xanadu.
5. Le Crystal. When you need a break from Moroccan food, try this Mediterranean restaurant in the Pacha nightclub in the Ville Nouvelle section of town. The menu comes from the Pourcel twins from Montpellier and features innovative dishes like shrimp and mascarpone risotto and dried fruit polenta. Stick around after dinner for a thumping party in the biggest nightclub in Africa, a regular stopping point for superstar international DJs.