Imagine a wind tunnel which serves fabulous sea food and is constantly sunny. Then sprinkle in some North African bustle, the waft of exotic spices and the occasional call to prayer and you’re mentally in Essaouira. If you enjoy watersports, then you’ll be in paradise.
Having devoured all the guide books and experienced the place for ourselves, we thought we’d share our experience which should help you plan your trip. This is the first video we've ever made... so we hope you like it and aren't too critical!
Where to stay:
We stayed at Riad Casa Lila which was moderately priced, friendly, helpful, very clean and the purveyors of a very superior breakfast served either on the terrace or balcony. I fell in love with their tomato and orange jams. The memory of the tomato jam is cemented in my mind due to me serendipitously reading about it in one of Elizabeth David’s tomes whilst slapping it onto one of their pillowy croissants.
If you’ve got more money to throw around, then Madada Mogador on Mr and Mrs Smith's site looks very porno as does L'Heure Bleue Palais. If your budget is more modest then Trip Advisor has a range of decent Riads on show. Ocean Vagabond looks pretty good.
Where to eat:
We ate very well indeed. Our highlights included:
An imaginative meal in a creative setting at Elizir
A progressive North African meal at Patio
Excellent tagines at Laayoune
Half decent fish at Sam’s on the waterfront
Lowlights included the overcooked fish and hassle of the harbourside barbecue which I had hoped was going to be awesome and the worst fish soup I’ve ever eaten at an anonymous tourist trap in the main plaza. It was like eating cumin spiced glue.
Villa Maroc is regarded as setting the standard for traditional Essaouiran food. But you pay handsomely for it. After Five has its fans as well but unfortunately we didn't get a chance to eat there.
Where to enjoy a sundowner:
Taros was the best bar to enjoy a well made drink whilst the sun went down. Get there before the sun has started its rapid descent to avoid missing out on a spot on the terrace. Then enjoy some spiced olives as the harbour basks in the rose tinted evening glow.
When the sun goes down you've eaten a belly full of tagine and dried fruit have a stroll around the night market and enjoy the multi sensual smorgasboard of stimulation. Just watch the semi-orchestrated chaos unfold around you and have your camera ready for some good snaps.
Settle in to Gourmet Chick’s Moroccan adventures and then digest Not Eating out in New York’s thoughts.
If you've got any thoughts or stories about Essaouira please share them below so we can help people get the most out of their trip.