Boiled sheep head, anyone? Thought not. How about lamb simmered in a dozen exotic spices, sprinkled with grilled almonds and drizzled with a touch of honey? That's more like it. Like the city itself, cuisine in Marrakesh is an enchanting, sometimes mystifying, blend of cultures. There's no doubt French expertise (and pretension) has played into Morocco's culinary ways, but the real delights here are traditional dishes such as pastillas (a mille-feuille pastry stuffed with pigeon or chicken); hearty soups like chickpea harira; couscous of all sorts, including vegetable versions; and tajinesthe ubiquitous Moroccan casseroles of lamb, beef, or chicken cooked au jus with vegetables and spices in a conical-topped clay pot. To accompany everything, there's not just the mint tea but a number of eminently quaffable Moroccan winesfrom hearty reds to delicate and light blush wines known as gris.
As a general rule, restaurants specializing in traditional Moroccan food are located in the Medina and usually have a prix fixe policy, whereas à la carte menus and European watering holes are mainly found in Guéliz (the new town) and the smart Hivernage neighborhood. Many restaurants stop serving dinner around 11 pm, although some of the hippest spots such as Bô & Zin stay open past midnight. It's common for a bountiful Moroccan breakfast of eggs, yogurt, croissants and pastries, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and often sautéed Berber crepes with honey or fig preserves to be included in the room rate.