The foodie trail in Fez

Moroccan cuisine is a cultural melting pot, and Fassi flavours originated in the funduqs (ancient inns used by travelling merchants), where numerous nationalities crossed paths. The Berber influence is found in staples like couscous, Arabs brought dried fruit and spices, and the French left a cafe culture. Recipes vary by region, but some of Morocco’s most unique dishes hail from Fez.

Best for light bites: Café Clock
Set in the heart of the medina, Fez institution Café Clock is spread over two dars (traditional townhouses with internal courtyards). It’s the perfect place to take a sightseeing break with nus nus – half coffee, half milk – and a bite from the eclectic all-day menu, perhaps shakshuka (a Berber-style omelette), a hearty harira soup or the justly famous camel burger. It’s vegetarian friendly, too. Wash it down with a luisa (lemon verbena) tea or a date milkshake.

Best for Moroccan tapas and Fassi classics: The Ruined Garden
Set in the romantic remains of a ruined riad, The Ruined Garden serves Moroccan ‘tapas’ for lunch, such as sardines in chermoula (garlic, paprika, cumin, olive oil and lemon juice) with a polenta batter, and makouda, spiced battered potato cakes. Dinner is a la carte, but you can also order special-occasion dishes a day in advance, such as slow-roasted mechoui lamb, Sephardic chicken and the quintessential Fassi dish, pigeon b’stilla. It’s usually made with chicken nowadays, but here it’s the real deal: boneless braised pigeon cooked in spices, topped with a layer of toasted and ground almonds, saffron and cinnamon, all wrapped in paper-thin warka pastry, baked and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.