It is grey and chilly when I leave the Netherlands to do some Hideaway spotting in Essaouira, Morocco, over the weekend. After a 3.5 hour flight (straight from Weeze- Dusseldorf, I do hope they will continue this flight, but this is never a given – and also straight from Brussels Charleroi, London and Paris and by car only a 3.5 hour drive from Marrakech) the plane lands in the sun. This is one of the perks of my job: being able to catch a bit of sunshine and warmth during the dreary Dutch winter.
It is not my first visit to this area, Essaouira is one of my favourite cities and I love to return here occasionally. It lacks the (touristic) turmoil of Marrakech and it is located on the coast. Its micro climate makes it pleasantly warm throughout the year, about 23° Celsius, and the constant wind creates a fun alternative, bohemian, surf vibe. And if you want to get out of the wind, there are plenty of wind still areas to enjoy the sun!
Obviously I have several great Local Hideaways to sleep in the curated collection but in this blog post I like to share my favourite insider tips in Essaouira with you. And the ultimate tip is to Get lost in the medina, the old city within the city walls. Follow the warren of narrow streets, take unexpected turns and be amazed: there are so many hidden treasures in Essaouira!
FOOD (reservation are recommendable and not every restaurant serves liquor)
MEDINA (old town):
Umia – Dinner
Modern setting, fine dining.
22 bis Rue Skala, Essaouira | +212 5247-83395
Triskala Café – Lunch & Dinner
58 Rue Touahen، Essaouira |+212 643-405549
The Loft – Lunch & Dinner
Modern en mediterranean touch
Rue Hajjali, Essaouira | +212 5247-84462
Les Alizes Mogador – Lunch & Dinner
Rue Scala, Essaouira | +212 5244-76819
Caravane Café – Lunch & Dinner
Eclectic restaurant, world cuisine, total night out including
fire eaters, magicians, dansers and music.
2 bis rue kadi ayad, Essaouira | +212 5247-83111
Ocean Vagabond – Lunch
Beach, relaxed vibe. Slow service.
Bd Mohamed V, Plage d’Essaouira | +212 5247-83934
La Fromagerie – Lunch and Dinner
Special place in the countryside outside Essaouira. Cheese farm with a set menu, obviously a lot of cheese! Route de Safi | +212 666-233534
La Trattoria – Lunch.
Affordable Italian and Moroccan food, also good coffee. Front row near the beach of Sidi Kaouki.
La Mouette et les dromedaires – Brunch, lunch and drinks
Favourite spot for lunch outside Essaouira near the beach of Sidi Kaouki.
Forêt dunes Sud Douar Tighanimine Plage de, ESSAOUIRA، Sidi Kaouki |
Perfect rooftop terrace for drinks and sunset. Not recommended for diner.
Place Moulay Hassan, Essaouira
The pastry shop in town, perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Breakfast, coffee (my favourite is nous-nous, half milk – half espresso)
10، Rue El Hajjali, Essaouira
l’Atelier Café Boutique
Modern setting. Coffee, tea, juices, cakes and light luch. Also a great shop in the back with beautiful tableware and great souvenirs to bring home. They also have a very good cooking studio (see ‘To do’)
rue Mohamed Ben Masoud, Essaouira
BYO restaurant at the fishmarket, marché aux poissons.
Like a local. Buy your fresh fish on the market and let it grill to perfection at the adjoining BYO restaurant. Cheap and cheerful!
From the owners of my Local Hideaway Dar 91,. Lovely collection of local art, textiles and handmade goods. Percentage of the profits goes to charity projects in Essaouira. 91 Rue Chbanat, Essaouira
Histoire des filles
Rue Mohamed Ben Masoud, Essaouira
Gipsy Surfer surf shop
Surf’s up in this shop.
rue de Tétouan 1-3، Essaouira
L’Atelier Café Boutique
The best organic Argan oil, my favourite is the one with walnut flavour! They also sell travelsize bottles to carry in your handluggage. Next to Taros.
Abdellatif ran my favourite restaurant in Essaouira. Unfortunately he closed down but his exceptional vintage finds are still available for sale in his gallery.
22 Ave d’Istiqlal, Essaouira
A choice of African goodies: beautiful fabrics sold by the meter from Mali, Ivory Coast and Ghana, gifts, trinkets and clothes.
59 rue Koweit, Essaouira
Surfing and surf lessons at Ocean Vagabond or at the beach of Sidi Kaouki.
Lounging by the pool of les Jardins de Villa Maroc or Dar Caravane. Non-residents can visit for a fee (including lunch) and enjoy a lazy day by the pool.
Moroccan cooking workshop at L’Atelier Madada, Moroccan dishes or pastry.
Rue Mohamed Ben Messaoud, Essaouira | Tel : +212 7 00 18 90 17
Moroccan cooking workshop at Khadija Kuzina, local experience. Cooking with Khadija at her home. https://www.facebook.com/khadijaskuzina
Esther van Onna – Founder Local Hideaways. March 2019
Local Hideaways Morocco: www.localhideaways.com