Sailing into Rabat, Morocco
Sailing into Rabat, Morocco
Closer to thee water is the kasbah, or fort, with huge Islamic arches and tiny alleys painted half white and half blue. Our unofficial tour guide (some guy who latched onto us on the street) told us the blue deters mosquitos. He also showed us some lovely architecture (a colonial-Islamic mix) and directed us to the kasbah cafe, which was pretty touristy but had amazing water views and delicious sweet mint tea.
Unofficial tour guides are everywhere and in our experience pretty much always worth the couple of dollars they demand at the end of the tour (even though the guide book says to avoid them). They took us to parts of the souk and kasbah we never would have found on our own. We realized later that it's best to break the 200 dirham notes the ATM spits out by buying water or soda in little shops. Ben had also bought a ton of Marlborough Reds at the airport and we sometimes hand them out, but what everyone really wants is the money.
After the souk and the kasbah we were getting a little hungry and started wandering toward a restaurant recommended by the guidebook. This turned into a real "three hour tour" wandering the city and when we eventually found the right street the place was closed. Now in the dark and getting hangry (hungry-angry), we got in a cab and named the other, more expensive Moroccan food place place in the book. The taxi cost so little (about $1 for a 15-minute ride), we thought the price was missing a zero at the end. It's crazy how cheap the cabs are.
The restaurant Dinarjat was everything we were hoping for and more. Out on the street there was a sin that said we were in the right vicinity but the way to find the restaurant is to find the old man with the lantern. He led us down through a maze of alleys, the candle in the lantern flickering as he went. Suddenly he stopped and knocked on a door set into the wall.
Photo by Benjamin Morris
Walking through the door was like entering a different world. The restaurant is in an old riad, or house that surrounds an interior courtyard, with intricately carved arches and a gurgling fountain. The hostess asked if we had reservations but didn't seem to mind when we did not. A silver teapot with water was brought around for hand washing and assortment of vegetables, chutneys and breads was presented to be shared by the table. Nate ordered a lamb couscous and Ben and I had tajines, the Moroccan specialty of slow-cooked meat dishes with vegetables and amazing spices. Everything was delicious and we passed all three meals around to share. Ben commented that it might be the fanciest dining experience he's ever had and I would agree: the number of servers and plates and courses was truly remarkable. Dinarjat, which may be one of the fanciest restaurants in Rabat, only ended up costing us about $20 per person. We are loving the exchange rate!