La Mamounia Hotel offers four restaurants. Two of them are Michelin Starred. But we decided to try their Moroccan restaurant. I thought, why would I go for French or Italian food when I am in Morocco?
To reach the Le Morocain you walk along a gravel path and manicured gardens. Visually the restaurant is stunning, with a romantic setting of candles, arches, fountains and pools. It is all very enchanting. You can dine outside or inside. In October everyone chose outside, although inside also transports you into dark private dining rooms with couches and pillows, and it is all very seductive.
Head Chef Rachid Agourey, has two menus. One is traditional and the other is a more contemporary take on Moroccan cuisine. We chose dishes from both. Much of the menu is in a different league than you will find in town, and also much more expensive.
The evening will transport you to the heart of Moroccan hospitality. They bring Moroccan spices to the table along with homemade breads. Many of the vegetables are grown in the hotels vegetable garden. There are sensorial pleasures of sweetness and spice. They seemed to cook with a perfect balance of both. They also use an abundance of spices. Many dishes can use upwards of 20-30 spices. You may taste saffron, turmeric, cinnamon, sesame, paprika, orange blossom etc; that provide a multitude of flavours. We had a sensational tomato soup called harira, that is served with dates. Apparently, this is a dish that the majority of Moroccan’s have right after Ramadan because the spiciness and the sweetness helps if you have low blood sugar.
I also had the best pigeon pastilla of the trip. The meat is ground and cooked with many aromatic and flavourful spices. It is on the sweet side and the pastry was flaky and delicate. The shrimp dish had an unusually soft texture to it that I didn’t care for, although it had a lovely presentation. Of the two tagines, we preferred the lamb over the fish, although both were good. We tried Moroccan wine for the first time and were pleasantly surprised and pleased. I’ve been told that many of the vintners are French and are doing a great job in Morocco.
You are serenaded by local musicians and belly dancers who put on a couple of shows throughout the evening.
The food was diverse and exotic with a fusion of flavours and textures.