Founded in 789 by the first member of the Idrisid dynasty, the imperial city of Fez is all about history and tradition. Its picturesque old town is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its winding streets are home to souks, mosques, and tanneries that have changed very little for hundreds of years. The culinary scene in Fez is similarly traditional, with Moroccan cuisine like tagine and pastilla taking center stage. Some restaurants offer cooking classes so that you can recreate these legendary dishes in your own home, while others have branched out to offer fusion cuisine that borrows elements from Europe, the Middle East, or Asia. Read on for our selection of the top restaurants in Fez.
For a modern approach to Moroccan cuisine, try M-Touch, a chic little eatery located inside the medina, near Bou Inania Medersa and the famous Blue Gate. Your dining experience will be defined by friendly and attentive service, as well as an innovative menu that combines traditional Moroccan staples like rfissa and tagine with more modern concepts such as burgers and salads. The camel burger is a particular highlight, and there’s a delicious alternative for vegetarians, too. All food is beautifully plated and well priced, and best enjoyed on the high-walled rooftop terrace. An oasis painted in shades of deep saffron, the terrace provides a welcome moment’s respite from the hustle and bustle of the streets below. Linger a while over dessert, or savor the house drink specialty, a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage made with ginger and honey.
Best Traditional Moroccan: Restaurant Dar Hatim
To sample Moroccan delicacies prepared from recipes handed down through the generations, pay a visit to Dar Hatim. Located in the Mellah, or old Jewish quarter of the medina, the restaurant is a converted private home run by husband-and-wife owners. Dining here is like dining with family—especially as the husband, Fouad, will come and fetch you from your Fez hotel if you book in advance. Expect fabulous, authentic décor, including painted wooden ceilings and intricate zellij tiling. Dar Hatim offers a variety of set, three-course menus featuring Moroccan favorites like succulent lamb tagine and flaky chicken pastilla. Love what you’re eating? Wife Karima also offers a morning cooking class, complete with a shopping trip to the souk for ingredients. Dar Hatim doesn’t serve alcohol, but you can bring your own without paying corkage.
Best Budget: Chez Hakim
Fez (and Morocco in general) is known for being pretty affordable when it comes to good food, but even in a city of cheap eats, Chez Hakim stands out for its low prices. Reviewers claim that the family owned and operated restaurant offers great value, too, with generous portions and plenty of meat in the meat dishes. This is a very traditional and unassuming spot, with a welcoming atmosphere and excellent service. Expect the usual roster of tagines, pastillas, and couscous, with fish and tomato tagine and minced meat and egg tagine being particularly popular. Another reason to choose Chez Hakim is its covered rooftop terrace, which allows for outdoor dining all year round. Like most traditional medina restaurants, this one does not serve alcohol. Instead, wash your meal down with a glass of fresh fruit juice or fragrant mint tea.
If you’re in Fez with your loved one and looking for a restaurant worthy of a special romantic occasion, Eden at Palais Amani is the stand-out choice. Also located in the medina near the city’s famous Chouara Tannery, the restaurant is part of a 5-star riad known for its sumptuous, Andalusian-style architecture and romantic atmosphere. You can choose to dine fireside in the Art Deco dining room, or out in a garden paradise, with the scent of citrus in the air and the sound of tinkling fountains to serenade your meal. The menu is an homage to classic Moroccan fare, prepared with seasonal ingredients and plated with immaculate precision. Imagine pastillas filled with fresh-caught seafood, royal beef tagines, and tender lamb shoulders to share. Can’t decide? Opt for a tasting menu for two. Unlike many Moroccan restaurants, Eden serves alcohol, including a fine selection of Moroccan wines.
With locations in Fez, Marrakesh, and Chefchaouen, Café Clock has become something of an institution for bohemian backpackers and trendy young Moroccans. Located right by the Blue Gate, the restaurant channels a laid-back, artistic vibe and offers a menu of Moroccan favorites (think harira soup, pastillas, and tagines) and Mediterranean delicacies (gazpacho and falafel). It’s also open for breakfast from 9 a.m. and serves an impressive array of global non-alcoholic beverages from cappuccinos to banana lassis. What makes Café Clock stand out, however, is its schedule of workshops and events. You can learn how to bake traditional Moroccan bread and patisserie, play the oud, or wield a calligraphy pen. Come for storytelling on Monday nights, movies on Saturdays, and sunset concerts on Sundays—the latter showcasing traditional music from all over Morocco.
Just as Eden is synonymous with romance in Fez, Dar Roumana is renowned as the place to go for fine dining. Located in the medina, this traditional Fassi home comes complete with astonishing tiled floors and walls and intricately carved wooden doors. The restaurant is helmed by head chef Younes Idrissi, who uses the finest local produce to create Franco-Moroccan set menus that change with the seasons. Past delicacies have included jamón, ricotta, and nectarine salad; braised rabbit with seeded mustard sauce; and bitter dark chocolate tart. Opt for two or three courses, and be sure to arrive well in advance of your reservation so that you can enjoy a refined cocktail on the rooftop terrace beforehand. If you want, you can even request a complimentary porter to accompany you to and from your hotel when you book.
Le Jardin des Biehn is one of many Moroccan riads offering accommodation and dining in the medina, but its restaurant, Fez Café, stands out for its fresh take on classic Moroccan cooking. Instead of adhering religiously to authentic recipes, the chef at Fez Café introduces accents of French culinary culture into the dishes. The daily menu features fresh products from the local market in addition to ingredients not often seen in traditional Moroccan restaurants, including salmon, avocado, and quinoa. The setting is just as unique, with chairs and tables hidden away in a corner of the riad’s lush garden, creating a tropical sanctuary ideal for languid lunches or romantic dinners under the stars. Food can take a while and the menu is limited, but special vegetarian dishes can be prepared to order upon request. Unusually for a medina restaurant, Fez Café serves local beer and wine.
When tagines and couscous become a bit monotonous, treat your palette to a completely different flavor spectrum at Maison Moi Nan. This medina gem serves authentic Thai food with a focus on homestyle recipes from the north of the country, prepared by owner, chef, and fashion designer Anan Sorsutham. Expect richly flavorful curries, soups, and noodle dishes (including iconic staples like tom yum and pad thai), all prepared with fresh ingredients sourced from the local markets. Vegetarians do well at Maison Moi Nan, too, with delicious meat-free options like vegetable green curry and lemongrass tofu. The restaurant’s tranquil rooftop complements the mouthwatering cuisine, providing a cool space for dining, stargazing, and listening to the muezzin’s call floating across the city. A variety of local beers and wines are served at Maison Moi Nan.
Quirky, on-trend Cinema Café is another modern offering worth visiting in Fez. Easy to find, with a reputation for quick and friendly service, the menu has options for everyone. Traditionalists can choose a flavorful pastilla or Moroccan tagine, while those with a taste for Mexican food will enjoy the café’s generous tacos. Western favorites like pizza, pasta, burgers, and salads make Cinema Café a particularly good choice for families—especially since kids can get authentic henna tattoos while you wait. The restaurant also serves European and Moroccan options for breakfast, and has a variety of non-alcoholic beverages to choose from, including milkshakes and smoothies. Sit inside surrounded by cult movie posters, or outside on the whitewashed brick terrace.
If your tastes run more to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, make your way past Maison Moi Nan to nearby Fondouk Bazaar. Recently opened at the beginning of 2020, the restaurant is hip, informal, and thoroughly modern, with beautiful décor and an open-air courtyard hung with brightly colored lanterns. The menu offers an imaginative take on local, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors, focusing on healthy ingredients that also manage to pack a lot of taste. There are plenty of options for vegetarians, and some for vegans, too. Start with tapas or classic Lebanese mezze, followed by kefta or grilled vegetable sandwiches. Round our your meal with orange and ginger jam cheesecake. Menu items change regularly depending on what is available in the market, and daily specials keep the experience fresh even if you decide to return multiple times.