How to Navigate the Djemaa el Fna Night Market

Marrakech Night Market


We had been through Marrakech’s famous square, Djeema El Fna, many times in the few days we were there. However, we were a little hesitant to explore the famous night market found every evening in this huge open air circus. Unable to keep away, we finally acquiesced and jumped headfirst into this veritable pageant of the bizarre.

The smoke is what strikes you first. The fires from hundreds of food stalls produce an incredible amount of smoke that forms dense clouds encircling the square. Then, almost instantaneously, the din from thousands of conversations, the bright string lights and the delicious smells wafting above the Djeema el Fna like smoke from a genie’s lamp all hit you at once.

It’s hard to know where to start, so the best bet is to just dive in. Be forewarned though, there is a nightly competition amongst the vendors to attract as many customers as possible and you will be heckled. The hawkers will yell, cajole, grab and sometimes even block your way in order to get you into their stall. Just remain stalwart and steadfast in your goal and don’t let them intimidate you.

There’s a little bit of everything at the night market, but for some good eats I recommend stall #32. They are usually so busy that their hawkers don’t have the time to harass anyone, so you can peruse their offerings without interruption.

The menu is pretty concise, but the food is excellent. It’s all in French, so

Crowding around for a hearty meal

brush up on your food lingo before ordering. We had the saucisses, which are little grilled sausages and some boeuf haché, or little hamburgers. They give you bread so you can make your own sandwiches. Wash it down with some mint tea or a Coke and you have a quick and tasty meal. I say quick because the stalls are not a place to linger. Once you’re done, they want you out so the next customers can eat.

After this hearty meal, head to the dessert area of the night market. Find one of the stalls selling hot mint tea and shaved portions of spice cake for a perfect end to your culinary adventure.

The bustling and chaotic Djeema el Fna may not appeal to everyone, but a walk through the largest square in North Africa is a priceless travel moment you will never forget.

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By: Mike

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on , and

4 Responses

  1. Wandering Aramean

    We , right next door, a couple weeks ago when there. It seemed that those two were the only ones that had a steady stream of local customers and no need to insist that their food was the best; the butts in seats spoke for them.

    The tagines weren’t very good but the saucisses were some of the best we had during our 4 days in town. And don’t forget the little dessert carts (in the 70s) around the other side of the market. For ~$0.50 a cup of hot ginger mint tea and some dessert things that tasted great though I have no idea what they were is a great deal.

    Reply
    • Mike

      I agree and the dessert was a shaved spice cake. Perfect end to the evening.

      Reply
  2. Brian L

    We have just returned from Marrakech and you must include at least one night walking around the square and just experiencing it. I would recommend stall 98 if you like fish. It was recommended to us and was great and no ‘sllers’ trying to pursuade us to eat here and when we ate we were the only ‘tourists’ in a full seated area. Two portions of sole, chips, bread and one portion each of aubergine and tomato came to 50drms about £4.00 and no tummy upset etc afterwards.

    Finished off with another stroll and a coffee on a terrace of a nearby restaurant.

    Enjoy

    Reply
    • Mike

      Thanks Brian, great recommendations!

      Reply

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