Tangier's been my home for 3 years now and these are my current favorite restaurants, places that I just keep coming back to because I love the food, the ambiance, the price-to-quality ratio, and the location. Although it feels overly-simplistic to rank vastly different restaurants in one list, we all love numbered lists so—
Here are the top five restaurants in Tangier, based solely on how often I eat there
Read on to get the full breakdown below, by category. I'll talk about my 5 faves and other great places that are similar.
Category 1: I just want some good Moroccan food!
For me and my friends, the top Moroccan restaurant in Tangier is definitely Al-Bachir! It’s downtown (near what locals call ‘the boulevard’ - Avenue Mohammed V). Prices are very low and range from 5 dirhams for soup to 50ish dirhams for a nice tagine or 100 dirhams if you’re really living it up. They do a Friday couscous (pictured above) that’s around 30-50 MAD depending on the meat you choose.
Bachir falls in the category of "shabbi" restaurants (shabbi means "popular" or "of the people"): this means the quality is solid and the prices are great because it’s targeted primarily at the average Moroccan. They also have a lot of space, so even at peak hours you don’t have to wait too long for a table to free up.
Toilet situation: Shabbi restaurant = shabbi toilets. Bachir does have western style toilets (upstairs), but the cleanliness is usually a bit lacking. If you are accustomed to using toilet paper, you should bring your own. They do also have sinks downstairs with soap where you can wash your hands. You don’t have to pay to use the toilets here.
If you’re looking for something a bit nicer and more “tourist-friendly”...
I’d recommend Le Bistrot du Petit Socco in the old medina. It’s a tourist restaurant, but prices are moderate (70-100 MAD / entrée). The quality is good and the ambiance is great, with a lovely rooftop terrace that overlooks the Petit Socco. The bathroom is pretty clean but may also be BYOTP.
Another good tourist restaurant is Rif Kebdani, good quality and a bit more expensive. Nice bathroom.
Dar Lidam (wait a second, did they change their name? It might be called La Terraza de la Medina now...) has a lovely view and a fixed price menu of 150 MAD .
I’d also recommend Chez Hassan which is good and moderately priced, but it’s all al fresco and sometimes I don’t want to feel so exposed when I eat.
Frankly, A L’anglaise always leaves me disappointed, the ambiance is fun and the food is good but the price feels pointlessly high. Probably safe to eat salads.
El Morocco Club is, of course, a classic and I enjoyed it the one time I went there. Maybe I'll go there again one day, but I never end up deciding to go there because it's pricey and in the end I’m a creature of habit and EMC hasn’t broken into my habitual haunts yet. Safe to eat salads.
Category 2: I just need a break from Morocco!
We’ve all been in that place where we just need to get away. These are places I recommend with not-Moroccan food, great ambiance, nice toilets, and where you can eat the salad without fear (confident that the veggies have been well-washed).
There are no words to describe how much I love Las Chicas. While Tangier is becoming more hip, for many years Las Chicas felt like the lone island of trendiness in the city. The first time I walked in, it felt as if I had entered an entirely different world. The two story space (plus a roof that is open seasonally) is an art gallery, a boutique selling designer clothing and home decor, as well as a French-Moroccan fusion cafe with salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Lunch runs around 80-120 MAD range (depending on if you get dessert).
The food is a welcome change from the heavy fare offered at most other places, with intentionally vegetarian and gluten-free options. I'd definitely recommend the Buddha Bowl, a salad which changes daily and includes fresh and healthy ingredients like quinoa, a medium-boiled egg, lettuce, and various cooked vegetables (sweet potato, zucchini, etc.). It's filling and guilt-free. On the dessert side, I love their pavlova and chocolate soufflé.
My new favorite restaurant in Tangier is Macondo. It's slightly more expensive than Las Chicas (100+ MAD per dish, ~150 if you get something nice, like prosciutto!!!). They serve Italian food and hand-make their pasta. It’s owned by an Italian and a Moroccan, and they've crafted an amazing space, which includes two floors for indoor eating, a small garden (one of whose walls is the Kasbah itself!), and two rooftop terraces with amazing views of the medina, the bay, and the city. The Italian proprietor Mary designed, created, and picked out the decor herself and it’s lovely and chic.
Another great Italian place is Anna e Paolo, near Hotel Chellah. I think A&P is slightly cheaper than Macondo, however the ambiance isn't as good and the food doesn't seem to be as consistently good (but is still very good). A&P does have their liquor license while Macondo currently does not.
Anna e Paolo's ravioli noir with clams — a daily special— pictured alongside the prosciutto salad from Macondo:
Just typing out the name is making my mouth water! Sander's serves gourmet hamburgers with fresh ingredients. The menu options and hipster-feel make me feel like I’ve returned to America, however briefly. Highly recommend. ~100-150 MAD / burger
I'm sorry, it's a personal failing that I haven't visited more Asian places. I do enjoy the two that I've visited: Tom Yam, which is owned by a Thai-Moroccan couple, and Anji, an authentic Chinese restaurant on the corniche with family-sized portions. They are in the same price range as the rest of restaurants in this category, I believe.
Category 3: I just want the best food money can buy!
There are some fine dining options here in Tangier, most of which I haven’t tried out due to my small pocket book size (the restaurant on top of the Hilton hotel, for example). Ô Saveur (French cuisine) is amazing, located in a secluded villa with a peaceful atmosphere and a sheltered and exclusive feel. ~200-300+ MAD
Of course Mirage is also up there, although I felt like the food there was “just okay” for the price I was paying (although of course, the location kills). ~200-300+MAD
Fast Food / Flat Broke: eating on a budget in Tangier (coming soon)
Eating gluten-free in Morocco (coming soon)
I did not receive food, money, or any other incentives connected with this post.
All prices quoted are approximations of price per person based on memory, unless otherwise specified.
These restaurants are my personal favorites, limited by my geographic location and my finite knowledge of Tangier. You are entitled to disagree. There's still so many places I've heard about but haven't tried yet... like that great fish restaurant by the corniche (did the name start with an A?), or that awesome meat place in Char-ben-diban that makes tanjia in the authentic Marrakechi style....
Cafes will be discussed in another post, since they’re a category to themselves.