The Moroccan creatives to know about

The Moroccan creatives to know about

The Moroccan creatives to know about

The Moroccan creatives to know about: This entry is authored by Arlette Olaerts. Photography is her passion and work, being her specialty the reportage and fresh portraits and above all natural, with a clear documentary approach. Also the result of her second passion, travel, is this story, in which she describes her experiences delving into the neighboring country and taking pictures of Moroccans or, as she likes to call them, brushstrokes.

It was in 2006 when my first trip to Morocco took place: at that time my children were young and we had a Moroccan girl living and working with us. With her, a friend and my three children we made that trip to meet her family.

The Moroccan creatives to know about

There began my love story with Morocco. From the first moment I entered that country I felt at home. Africa in general has something that attracts me: besides the beauty of this continent, its colors, its special light, its people… it is the absence of time. There is no rush and no need to run after things, you are simply present. When I travel to Africa I find myself.

On this first trip we accompanied Zineb to meet her family. Her parents’ house was far from the village and to get there we had to go by donkey and cart. A very humble country house but where we were welcomed with open arms, a hearty meal and, of course, the slaughter of a lamb, which my little daughter did not understand very well. Hospitality is tremendous in Morocco and in Arab countries in general. In Europe this no longer exists: individualism reigns here.

The Moroccan creatives to know about

Since that year, numerous trips to this wonderful country have followed. I feel privileged, as I have hardly known any hotels inside, since most of the time I have stayed in houses. Many times in humble homes without luxuries, sleeping on sofas but with the warmth of its people, sharing delicious moments and, although we did not always communicate well, laughter was present above words. We laughed a lot in this country: I still remember moments when we even cried, with stomach ache included and with people with whom we did not share the language.

Besides, the food is delicious: the best breakfast in the world is probably eaten in Morocco. The wonderful tea or coffee with milk, avocado juice, milwi, puff pastry pancakes with honey and butter, sometimes accompanied by black olives or couscous bread …. I love it! Of course, I usually gain a bit of weight when I go to Morocco….

The Moroccan creatives to know about

During all these trips I have been taking pictures, which is not always easy because many people don’t want to be photographed and I agree with them. Personally I don’t like to “steal” photos: I’m not the typical tourist that as soon as I get off the plane or bus starts taking pictures. I’m slow, I need to get to know the country, get close to the people, spend some time with them before taking my camera. And it is not always necessary to take it out, sometimes things are perfect as they are and there is no need to break the magic with the eagerness to immortalize the moment.

For what or who? I know we live in a world where many insist on showing everyone their experiences (or rather only the beautiful ones) but I believe that our experiences are in our hearts and in the hearts of the people we share them with.

In Morocco I remember with special affection Moulay Bousselham, a fishing village with dreamy Atlantic beaches, where I also lived a beautiful love story that lasted a couple of years. Youssoufia, where Zineb’s parents lived. Fez, Meknes, Marrakech… all wonderful cities. The desert, the Rif, the Atlas, the Mediterranean coast, the Atlantic coast… …. Morocco is very big, and not only in size.

The Moroccan creatives to know about

In 2014 I accompanied the Jarité Association of Valencia on a trip to the desert of Merzouga to immortalize the life of the nomads. My photos are in the Museum of Nomadic Culture in Hassilabiad and here I also show here some of this series. Not all the villages I visited in Morocco were the most beautiful, but beauty can be found everywhere and there are advantages in visiting non-touristy places.

I hope you enjoy the series, small glimpses of the people of Morocco: people with a big heart and unfortunately now exposed to too many prejudices and clichés. Traveling is the best medicine against intolerance and if it can be by living together, all the better.

The Moroccan creatives to know about

Nomadic woman, one of the last remaining living in their tents and not as a tourist attraction. When I stayed with them to make this photographic report at night it was 1 degree outside and I would say that inside as well, since the tents had many cracks. It is a very hard life and you have to be prepared for it. On the other hand they are very proud of the way they live.

A gnawa musician who invited us to eat couscous in his house. The couscous is usually eaten on Fridays at noon and I think it is better to eat at home than in a restaurant (like paella). On the wall you can see a symbol of the nomadic culture that means “free man”.

Where to eat in Essaouira

Today’s post is written by Idoia Doncel, a woman from Bilbao who decided 2 years ago to settle in Essaouira to live the Moroccan culture at the foot of the Atlantic Ocean and combine it with a blog, Alter Ego Morocco, where she publishes information and tips about the neighboring country. We leave you with his post on where to eat in Essaouira, I’m sure you will find it very useful!

There are many things in Essaouira that are fascinating: there are many travelers who come back again and again because the place has something special, something that hooks you… if you visit Essaouira, you will take it in your heart forever.

Perhaps that is why the culinary offer is so wide, and it turns out that the town is full of restaurants, from the highest range to the most typical and authentic Moroccan restaurant.

You can dine or eat, thinking you have returned to Europe or something very similar, or let yourself go and get lost among the flavors and smells of authentic Moroccan cuisine; the choice will depend only on you, because you will not lack options.

Of course in this small fishing village the fame goes to the fish and especially the sardines, especially in the summer months, which is the best season to taste them.

Every day the boats arrive at the port, and until sunset they sell their fish on the pier at the best price and freshly caught.

Fish Restaurants

The grills of the port

To eat good fish, fresh and in the purest “souiri” style, I recommend first of all the “grill” or grills that you can easily find in the port. It is not exactly a restaurant, as they are outdoor tables, but you must try it and it is also a pleasure to eat with such peculiar views.

It consists of buying the fish next to the pier and then taking it to the grills right there to be cooked. You will only be charged for the cooking and the drink. Fresh grilled fish, cheap and delicious. Accompany it with a good Moroccan salad.

In the square, before reaching the port, you will also see a number of very attractive stalls offering grilled fish. It is certainly a more comfortable way to do it and you can choose which ones they will cook for you; yes, it is very touristy, so the price will not be modest.

I recommend you to go for the adventure of buying it yourself and go to the grills so typical of the place.

Riad Restaurant Zahra grill

One of the most famous fish restaurants in Essaouira and a must on any list of recommendations.

We are talking about an elegant place, decorated with taste and a lot of detail (the whole Riad is amazing), where alcohol is also served.

The menu passes through a menu of the day quite elaborate, Moroccan cuisine, Asian … that is, high quality fusion cuisine where fish and seafood are the kings of the house.

Fried fish

Again I’m going to leave the traditional restaurant format to recommend a place that you will not find in any guidebook, and only foreigners who know the place well fall for it.

This is the famous fried fish of Essaouira: Moroccan tourists queue up to eat it… there must be a reason!

When you see it, it will probably throw you back a little because the locals are tiny and are usually crowded, but you can always order it to take away and eat it quietly in your accommodation or on a terrace; I always eat it on the spot. Look carefully because at the bottom there are stairs and one floor above.

If you enter through the door of the medina called “Bab Marrakech”, going straight ahead, you will find towards the middle the displays with fried fish for you to choose from; I recommend you not to miss the “sandines amoreux” or “farcies” (stuffed sardines).

Everything is served with a tomato sauce, delicious onion and harissa, so you can spice it up if you wish.

Traditional food restaurants

Adwak Restaurant

For authentic Moroccan cuisine and a moderate price, this restaurant is perfect.

It is located in the heart of the medina, on the main street that leads to the square and is a modest and unpretentious place, decorated in the purest Moroccan style.

It highlights the friendliness of the people who work there and

the kefta tajine that is especially tasty (I have tasted many kefta tajines in Essaouira).  I recommend it.

Triskala Restaurant

This is a vegetarian restaurant but sometimes they serve fish. To drink there is only water and natural juices (no coke or soft drinks of any kind).

The location already makes this place a special place, in one of the narrow streets surrounding the old “skala” or fortress.

100% homemade food with products of the day. In fact, the menu changes daily and usually consists of 5 starters, 5 main courses, 5 main courses and a dessert. It is what is called “restaurant à la ardoise” or “à la chalkboard”.

Something that will not leave you indifferent is the decoration and the way the tables are arranged … all this ends up rounding an exquisite dinner (not open at noon) and very nice.

Fast but delicious

Flippin Pizza Restaurant

Simple and cheap, but varied. The menu includes pizzas (from 18:00), paninis, burgers or combination plates. The chef’s salad is large and comes with a very tasty dressing. The lasagna is not bad either, but the best are the paninis and hamburgers.

It is outside the medina, but not far from it.  You can go by cab for 7dh or walk for 10-15 minutes.

Snacks in the square

For something super fast I recommend any snack in the square in front of the café de france. There are three or four in a row and all equally good, although I always eat at the last one.

Snacks and breakfasts

Pâtisserie Driss

To taste the best sweets, I recommend the “Patisserie Driss” which is just before reaching the square.

It is the oldest in the medina and always has freshly made sweets or sweets of the day. The interior terrace is very nice, decorated with paintings by local artists, which gives a lot of charm to the place.

Breakfasts are super cheap and include juice and coffee. I go a couple of times a week … I do not forgive!

Café Bachir

I have already mentioned that the sunset in Essaouira is something special.

To enjoy the view while snacking on a good tea, a harira soup or the classic Moroccan crepe with honey and cheese “msemem” I advise you to sit on the terrace that is attached to the main wall of the square: Café Bachir.

And also …

When you’ve been here for a couple of hours you will realize that both the arts and music are part of the spirit of Essaouira.

If you feel like having dinner listening to live music and among works of art by local artists, I’ll be waiting for you at the Restaurant Café des Arts, where I work with a team of wonderful people, trying to contribute my bit to the gastronomy of Essaouira.

The cuisine is basically Moroccan (although there is pasta and salads), especially highlights the couscous raisin sec (with onion confit and raisins) and the tajine “boulettes de sardine” (sardine balls).

There are three floors to choose from (although it is a small place): the second floor is very quiet and relaxed, on the second floor you will enjoy the best live music (if you play an instrument, get on stage!) and finally the roof terrace, which offers great views of the main street of the medina.


So much for my personal suggestions, I hope they will help you if you are visiting this beautiful and picturesque corner of the world, let us know!

Do you know of other places that I have not included in the list? Please feel free to add your favorite restaurants to make this list grow together… and to the taste of all palates!

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