Review: Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz in Marrakech, Morocco
Deciding to break a cardinal rule when traveling due to limited time while hungry, I asked an agent who was behind the front desk at the hotel property where I was staying for a recommendation to dine at a restaurant which served traditional Moroccan cuisine; and among the recommendations was Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz.
Review: Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz in Marrakech, Morocco
The recommendation sounded good enough to me, so I walked the 2.3 kilometers to the restaurant — and I decided to take a photograph of a street sign on my way.
I arrived at Al Fassia Gueliz in approximately 30 minutes with no problem, as signs clearly mark the location of the restaurant.
A copy of the menu is located outside of the entrance to the restaurant — as well as the operating hours.
Patrons walk through an alleyway to get to the entrance of the restaurant.
Diners are greeted by a maître d’ at a stand at the entrance before being escorted to a table. I was brought towards the rear of the restaurant and sat at the table on the left in the photograph shown above.
Although the mirrors in the back give the illusion that the restaurant is more spacious than in actuality, I liked the live plants, which added a nice touch of natural greenery to the ambiance.
I was given a menu…
…which appeared in the shape of a tagine when opened.
Several pages of items in the menu were in Arabic, French, and English — along with the prices.
This is what my table looked like after I decided on what to order and the menu was taken away.
Both large green olives and small black olives were served in separate dishes, and a glass full of toothpicks were provided to stab the olives prior to consuming them. Note that the green olives were scored for easy removal of the pits inside of them…
…and a third empty dish was provided in which to deposit the pits which were extracted from the olives, which were full of flavor. I devoured all of the olives with ease.
I was also served a metal basket of sliced khobz, which is Moroccan flatbread and somewhat similar in taste to pita bread but thicker. It seemed fresh and was so good that not only did I polish this basket off; but I also polished off a second basket — which was placed on the table after the first one was taken away by a server — with my meal.
My meal was accompanied by water — as well as two bottles of Coca-Cola with lime. No high fructose corn syrup here.
For the starter course, I chose the choix de salades fines sélectionnées — or the selection of fine salads, which included no fewer than 15 different small dishes of assorted salads. At one point, I thought that the servers would not stop placing plates on the table in front of me, as there seemed to be so many of them. The menu price was 95 Moroccan dirhams, which works out to approximately $9.84 in United States dollars.
Among the variety of salads — some were better than others; but all of them were delicious — were cucumbers, peppers, carrots and other raw and cooked vegetables. The bursts of incredibly rich flavors in every bite with each dish remind the diner that Morocco is known for its many spices — some of which are indigenous to the country.
Having a dish more Moroccan than tagine is arguably difficult to do. A tagine is usually referred as both the food itself and the earthenware pot — which is of a distinct cone shape — in which the food was cooked.
For the main course, I ordered the tagine de poisson aux légumes variés — or fish tagine, gently cooked with mixed fresh vegetables — which included carrots, potatoes, green peppers, and kalamata olives which looked more like red grapes. The tagine does a great job in keeping the food piping hot, as I had to wait a few minutes before I could start eating it. The menu price was 150 Moroccan dirhams, which works out to approximately $15.53 in United States dollars.
The couscous which accompanied the tagine was good when mixed with the food; but it was rather dry on its own.
Although the tagine had plenty of food and was quite delicious and flavorful, the fish had a lot of bones still included in it; so the tagine appeared to have more fish in it than it actually had — which is my most significant critique pertaining to this dish.
The photograph shown above is the view from the table at which I sat at the rear of Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz looking towards the front and the entrance.
A thick hot wet towel was provided during the service.
The restaurant was established by Mohammed Chab for his wife Lalla Fatima and two daughters — Saida Chab and Myra Chab — greater than 30 years ago. The sisters are currently the manager and owner of Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz.
In fact, if you had not already guessed while dining there, the entire staff at Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz is female. You will not find a male employee working there.
Much of the final preparation of the food from the kitchen is done behind a nondescript white counter.
The walk of approximately 2.3 kilometers to Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz from the Le Méridien N’Fis hotel property — which is the hotel property where I stayed; and I intend to impart my experience in an article in the future here at The Gate — was only 30 minutes or so.
Other restaurants in Marrakech may serve tastier food or may likely be less expensive at which to dine; but I found Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz to be a good choice for a tasty meal with good service — albeit a little pricey, as the meal cost me approximately $31.00 in total, including tax and tip — and you will leave the restaurant satisfied with a full stomach…
…but do not expect to rush through your meal, as although the service is not at the pace of a snail, it is also not fast either. That is not a problem, if you do not mind enjoying the ambiance.
Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz is located centrally in the upscale Gueliz neighborhood of Marrakech; so it is rather conveniently located — although a second Al Fassia restaurant is located in the Aguedal district. Parking is at a premium in Marrakech and is usually not free of charge — even street parking is metered and strictly enforced — so if you can leave your vehicle at the hotel or resort property at which you are staying, do so. If the restaurant is too far away for walking, several public transportation options are available near the restaurant.