Villa Kahina

Discover Essaouira!

There are lots of guides available giving you lots of information on what to see and do in Essaouira and the broader region, so rather than creating our own, we thought it was better to direct you to some of the best ones:

Made in Essaouira - which includes information on shopping, restaurants and things to visit in the town and region.

Best of Essaouira - an eguide (downloadable for a small charge), collated by a Scottish friend Lynn Sheppard who lived in Essaouira for many years.

But if you're looking for suggestions of where to eat or go for our drink, there are so many good restaurants in Essaouira! Here are some of our favourites.

La Table by Madada – in our view this is simply the best restaurant in Essaouira in terms of the food, the place, and the welcome you get.  It's in a former carob warehouse near to the entrance to the medina (Bab Sbaa).  It's a seafood restaurant and lounge bar.  The menu is fresh fish, seafood and also some good vegetarian dishes too.  Try the spider crab – our top recommendation! It's best to book, prices mid- to top-range but top quality. 

L'Heure Bleue – this is THE address in Essaouira: it's a hotel relais-chateau.  Fine dining in a wonderful atmosphere!  Indeed, you won't believe your eyes when you walk through the door from the medina into the hotel! It's a gastronomic restaurant with prices to match the quality of the food and the service.  However, it's a place you must visit in Essaouira as it is simply amazing.  We love going there for lunch.  They have a restaurant on the terrace on the roof of the hotel – with the only roof-top swimming pool in Essaouira – with some of the best views across the town.  The prices for lunch on the terrace are mid-range and, for us Belgians, if you are feeling homesick, they often serve frietjes as a side-dish to your main course offered on the house!  Prices in the evening in the restaurant are mid- to top-range.  At the entrance to the medina next to Bab Marrakech.

Caravan Café – this is a perfect place for an entertaining night out: delicious food, great décor and a party ambience with singers, fire-eaters, dancers and even magicians.  This is the restaurant of a Swiss painter Didier Spindler who has lived in Essaouira for many years.  The food is modern cuisine, with Moroccan and Polynesian influences.  Remember to try their famous digestif with orange and ginger!  You need to book (and try to get a table on the ground floor, if you want to be at the centre of the entertainment).  Prices mid-range.  Easy to find, just on a side street off Avenue de L'Istiqal (one of the main streets in the medina).

Gusto Italia – you may be asking why you would want to eat in an Italian restaurant in Essaouira when there are so many good Moroccan restaurants.  Trust us!  Try Gusto Italia and you'll understand why.  The pizzas are amazing, the pasta wonderful and the risotto – especially the seafood risotto – is to die for!  Great selection of Moroccan and European wines.  It's better to book, particularly on weekends.  Great live music too. Located just outside the medina on a street parallel to the seafront.  Prices mid-range.

Laayoune – Simple and tasty: Moroccan food at its best.  If you're looking for a good couscous or tajine, try out this restaurant.  The menus are particularly good value and their harira (a soup made with tomatoes, onions, lentils, chick peas and vermicelli) is one of the best we've had in a restaurant (only my grandmother's was better!).  You cannot reserve and have to wait outside the restaurant until the next table is free.  Don't worry though, you never have to wait for that long and it's really worth the wait!  Try out their home-made yoghurt as your dessert, simply delicious. It's near to Bab Sbaa, go underneath the clock tower and follow the road around it's on the right-hand side and will be easy to spot as there'll be lots of people eating there.  No alcohol: but try out the raisin, almond and date drink though! Prices low-range; very good value; menus (starter, main course and dessert) from 69DH!  It's a small, family-run place, so they don't have a website of their own.

Mega Loft by Othman Chic – in the centre of the medina, near to the skala, this is a café/restaurant, great for a relaxing lunch on a terrace in the sun, or a fun meal with live music in the evening.  The deco is the most innovative that you've seen – look for the lamp shades made out of recycled cassettes! Great for both adults and kids.  Modern cuisine with a Moroccan touch, good vegetarian options too. The service is never that quick, but you're on holiday so relax and enjoy the food and great atmosphere!  No alcohol licence yet.  Prices low- to mid-range. 

Chaabi Chic – a townhouse restaurant/café in the medina in the direction of the mellah.  Simply delicious Moroccan dishes; menu changes every day.  Great roof terrace and it's never packed so it's a good place to pop into to get a quick lunch.  Service with a smile; one of the friendliest restaurants in Essaouira. Prices low-range. No website.

Tara Café – this is a little café on the square just next to Chaabi Chic.  The menu is simple and straightforward, lots of fish, salads, and standard Moroccan dishes, but the freshness of the food, the quality of the ingredients, the friendliness of the staff, and the really inventive way in which the food is presented on the plate, makes this café stand out from the crowd.  My favourite is the way in which they transform a piece of banana into a dolphin to decorate a salad!  Prices low-range. 

TarosTaros is the place to go in the medina in the evening for a drink.  It has several levels of roof-top terraces, music (usually a really good DJ) and dancing.  Great views over the medina and the port. It's also a place we often go for lunch or for dinner.  Mid-range priced menu with a lot of choice.  Good wine list too. 

Dar Caravane – a hotel just outside of town (5 minutes' drive) on the road between Villa Kahina and the town centre, with the same owner as Caravane Café (see above).  It has a wonderful swimming pool and garden and a great restaurant. A fabulous place to have lunch on a sunny, but windy, day as the pool and garden are well-sheltered from the wind and the food is really good too.  Good fish and seafood and great salads.  Prices mid-range. Don't forget to bring your swimming costumes!

Le Val D'Argan – this is the top of our list for things to do and we go here every time we come to Essaouira.  Val D'Argan is a vineyard some 20km outside of Essaouira (on the road towards Marrakech in the village of Ounagha; follow the road from Essaouira towards Marrakech until you come to Ounagha and turn left at the big roundabout in the centre of the village, the vineyard is then a short drive up the road).  It's simply beautiful with huge fields of vines and olive trees.  They also have the best wine-tasting lunch you'll ever have experienced!  You start your lunch with appetisers, then huge bowls of the tastiest, freshest, Moroccan salads you'll have ever tried and then 'brochettes' as a main course (cooked over the wood from the wineyard) and a great dessert, all with wine á volonté.  Their wines are amongst our favourite Moroccan wines, particularly Le Gris de Mogador.  Great value for money!  You can relax in the sun after your meal near to their swimming pool too. 

On your way to Le Val D'Argan you may want to stop off at an argan oil cooperative.  The best argan oil comes from these cooperatives, which are entirely run by women.  There are many of them on the road to Marrakech.  Our favourite is Marjana, where the welcome is always top-quality.  You get a short tour (5 minutes) explaining how they extract the oil and make their products and then you can buy fabulous argan oil-based hand and face creams and scrubs as well as argan oil for your salads and dipping your bread into!

La Moutte et les Dromedaires – this is simply a fabulous place to eat.  It's a little restaurant on a beach in the middle of nowhere, just before you arrive into the surfing village of Sidi Kaouki.  It can be a little hard to spot, but you should see the signs on the side of the right-hand side of the road as you come into Sidi Kaouki.  It's then a short drive down a track to the restaurant.  Don't be too concerned about the track to get to it; you don't need a 4x4, it's not too long – a 5 minute drive – and the track is rough but ok.  You eat simply and extremely well: lots of fresh fish, great salads, and good vegetarian options too.  It's a place to go during the day only as it is not on mains-grid electricity.  It's a place where you feel completely on holiday, great food in front of the sea and completely relaxing

Places to go for a drink

L'Heure Bleue – see above!  Also great cocktails (and desserts) in the evening in the Salon Anglais

Taros – see above!

The Roof – a recent addition to the bars in Essaouira, on the sea-front opposite the beach, on the top floor above the restaurant La Petite Algue.  A friendly bar with a great choice of wine and beer and a wide selection of tasty tapas.  Directly opposite the beach and so is the perfect place to watch the sunset.  There are great value formulae combining wine or beer with a selection of tapas.  Funky, colourful furniture made from recycled pallets, barrels and tyres and comfortable woollen blankets to keep you warm once the sun goes down.  Surprisingly never that full, we don't understand why!  Well worth a visit. 

Beach and Friends – a great place to watch the sun go down with a glass in your hand!  A beachfront café at the end of the promenade (it's next to where you'll see all of the men shaking keys at you when you come into town – they've rooms to rent if you're wondering what they're doing!).  Good music, nice atmosphere, great mix of surfers, residents and tourists.  You can eat in Beach and Friends, but it's more bar snacks and tapas to go with your drink.

Ocean Vagabond – next to Beach and Friends (see above) and more relaxing as it's usually quieter as the terrace is smaller.  Just as good though for watching the sunset and all of the camels and surfers going by! Here the menu is more extensive with burgers, pizzas and salads. 

Villa de L'O – when you are in the medina, this is a great place to stop and have a drink on the roof-top terrace.  You have one of the best views across the medina, the beach and the promenade.  It's well worth a stop.  No alcohol served here. Just at the entrance to the medina, after Bab Sbaa.

Medina Hotel – this is the former Sofitel hotel in the town centre (just outside the medina).  It has a great bar, which is never full and serves the best mojito in town (a Mojito Souri made with Moroccan spices and mint!).  It's on the promenade along the seafront. The Medina also has a great swimming pool which is completely sheltered; perfect for windy days.

Sofitel – next to the golf course (and our villa), pool bar and restaurant.  Again a great place to watch the sunset with a nice glass of wine in your hand.  You can also pay a day fee to access the swimming pool.