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A Foodie’s Guide to Marrakech Dining Etiquette

Marrakech has one of the most eclectic and diverse dining scenes in the world. Marrakech cuisine is some the tastiest and most colourful out there, and the Red City has attracted foodies from all over the world for this reason.  

You owe it to yourself to discover the best restaurants in Marrakech and the meals that will leave an indelible aftertaste. With that said, Marrakech has a rich dining culture and traditions that bring about dining etiquette. 

To enjoy the best of Marrakech food it’s helpful to know what these rules are.  

When in Marrakech, Eat How Moroccans Eat

During your stay in Marrakech, you will likely dine at restaurants such as Le Trou Au Mur

Depending on the nature of your trip, you might even find yourself dining with the locals. Regardless of where you enjoy the flavourful food of Morocco, you should know the dining rules of etiquette ahead of time so that you don’t offend your hosts. 

Moroccan Food Etiquette: How to Eat Without Offending Hosts 

  • When eating with your hands, eat with your right hand only.
  • When eating with your hands, use just your thumb and first two fingers (using your entire hand is a symbol of gluttony).
  • Only use your left hand to pick up bread or to pass dishes to other people.
  • Never help yourself to bread, wait until the bread is passed to you.
  • Use the bread to mop up leftover sauces on your plate.
  • Don’t lick your fingers until the end of your meal – use bread or a napkin to clean your fingers during the meal.
  • Wash your hands before a meal (usually done with rose or orange-scented water).
  • When eating with a family, the meal only begins after the host announces “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah) and everyone else echoes it.
  • It’s advisable to continue nibbling even if you are full – if you stop eating, everyone else may stop as well, even if they aren’t full.
  • If you dine at a Moroccan home and receive a gift, don’t refuse.

Apart from dining etiquette, there are some observations about Marrakech restaurants that visitors have made which you will want to know beforehand. They can spare you unnecessary frustration and confusion. 

  • Tipping – At any Marrakech restaurant, it’s customary to provide a 10% tip. With that said, tipping just one dirham (Moroccan currency), even if it is 10% or more, is considered an insult. So even if you paid 5 Dh for a beverage or snack, you should still leave at least 2 Dh tip. 
  • Diner/Waiter Interactions – Typically, a waiter will show diners to their seats, offer a menu and then go about their rounds. One may think that the waiter is simply ignoring them, but this is common practice in Morocco – it’s nothing personal. What should you do in this case? Signal to the waiter that you’re ready to order and they will indeed arrive at your service. 
  • Language – The two main languages spoken in Morocco are Arabic and French. If you’re looking for English menus, it will take a bit of effort to find them. Brushing up on either will no doubt be advantageous. Nevertheless, there are quite a few Marrakech restaurants that provide a menu in English such as our very own, Le Trou Au Mur menu which features English descriptions. 

Marrakech Cuisine – A Taste of the World’s Finest Foods

Marrakech’s vast and bountiful cuisine is sure to offer some “eats” that will become your new favourites. While we encourage you to get lost in the numerous aromas, flavours and textures of Moroccan food, we want you to find your footing early on when it comes to following the rules of dining etiquette. 

Be sure to consult the tips mentioned above so that you do not become overwhelmed by food etiquette in Marrakech. The only thing that should overwhelm you is the pleasure of biting into the scrumptious Moroccan cuisine.