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Where: Le Tobsil, Marrakesh, Morocco
Why Go: You want to experience the lengthy, elaborate Moroccan meal known as a diffa in a seductive, small-scale setting—not a jam-packed tourist trap.
A Side of Atmosphere: After the adrenaline rush that comes from jostling your way through the labyrinthine medina, this restaurant, hidden behind an unmarked door (next to the Riad Catalina hotel), feels like a sultry sigh of relief. Gnaoua guitarists pluck out hypnotic, trance-inducing melodies, candlelight flickers from every nook, and rose petals on the tables actually feel right strewn amidst all the silk and velvet. This is mystical Marrakesh—rich, dark, sexy—at its most beguiling.
Appetite for Seduction: Le Tobsil has one of the medina's most well-executed set menus, so be prepared for a procession of succulent, savory dishes such as slow-cooked chicken with onions and roasted tomatoes (it's paired with cornmeal crêpes) or aromatic leg of lamb made with ras al-hanout (a heady blend of spices like cardamom and nutmeg) and topped with cinnamon-quince sauce.
The Hot Seat: The restaurant only seats 50 people, and tables are arranged around an open-air courtyard and its upper perimeter. Table 9, under an archway on the balcony, has the best position over the overall scene; downstairs, the "table de la cheminée" is snuggled into a dark nook by a fireplace.
22 Derb Abdellah ben Hessaien
Tel: 212 24 44 4535