As much as I love to travel, travelling with a restricted diet can sometimes be a challenge. So when a vegetarian diet and a gluten free diet travel together I can hear chefs all over the world collectively *sigh*.
I was a little concerned about finding gluten free and vegetarian friendly cafes and restaurants in Morocco. Normally self-catering is a good option but it was very limited due to staying at Riads (hotels) in Morocco.
However, during our two weeks in Morocco, we found plenty of choices for gluten free and vegetarian diets in the cafes and restaurants of Morocco, here are our favourites by city.
I loved getting lost in Marrakesh’s medina. So much to see and do and a great introduction to Morocco.
Marrakesh was our first destination in Morocco. Chez Yassine was the very first restaurant we went to. It was just around the corner from our Riad and it became our “local”, much to the amusement of the host.
Chez Yassine was really was reasonably priced, had great service and a menu we could both eat from. I highly recommend the Large Moroccan Salad — I ordered it every time — the host also found this very amusing.
Essaouira is a gorgeous seaside town. It’s just a few hours bus ride from Marrakesh. It’s well known for kite-surfing and home to many stray cats.
We found Essaouira to have the biggest selection of gluten free and vegetarian friendly cafes and restaurants in Morocco that we both enjoyed.
The owners were lovely and welcoming. Every dish was explained well with special comments about suitability for either gluten free or vegetarian diets.
There wasn’t a huge amount of vegetarian and gluten free dishes on the menu but enough to keep us coming back for dinner for a few nights.
This restaurant had great decor – long benches and high stools. The service was good and had a good selection of pasta dishes suitable for vegetarians and also offered gluten free pasta.
There was also a nice selection of salads — we ordered the Caprese salad as a starter and it was quite good.
The waiters at Tara Cafe are very welcoming and it’s a nice spot to relax and drink some mint tea (minus the sugar if you want to keep your teeth). They had loads of the usual Moroccan fair – tagines, couscous but they also customised dishes to make them vegetarian friendly.
La Cantina and Tara Cafe are in the same square, the square makes great people and cat watching.
The Clock Cafe is a multi-story cafe down the narrow lanes of the Medina. It’s near the Bab Boujloud, but it can be hard to find.
It has good service and a mix of Moroccan and western options on their menu, plus quite a few vegetarian dishes. It’s a nice place to relax and hang out.
Recommended for the fantastic garden setting but it’s a bit pricer than we’d normally pay (without a noticeable increase the quality of the dishes). I also ate my first and only Vegetarian Tagine in Morocco here. The poor waiter really got grilled about how vegetarian the Tagine actually was but I felt confident and it was good.
A Note on Tagine
In general, I would not recommend eating the Vegetarian tagine or couscous in Morocco for vegetarians or vegans. Unless you are very confident that the vegetables are not cooked with meat stock or animal fats. I had a feeling that sometimes the vegetables are cooked with meat products and our lovely host at Ches Yassine confirmed my suspicions when we first arrived in Marrakesh. So avoid tagine or couscous if you want to be 100% sure or thoroughly ask the waiter like I did at The Ruined Garden.
Gluten Free Restaurant Cards
A great travel resource for those who are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity are the gluten-free restaurant cards – available in 54 languages from Celiac Travel.