Elizir (Gourmet Chick in Morocco)

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It may feel like you have fallen down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole when you eat at Elizir in Essaouira but in actual fact to get there you have to go up a narrow tiled staircase off an alleyway in the medina. The restaurant has a fantastical decor of eclectic junk shop finds ranging from the illuminated mannequins that double as atmospheric lighting to the toy robot gleaming from the windowsill. The quirky furnishings add a playful touch to the rabbit warren of small rooms that make up the restaurant. It really shouldn’t work with the traditional mosaic tiled walls but somehow it does.

The menu is concise, limited to four entrees, mains and desserts offering Moroccan food with a Mediterranean influence. A complimentary starer of a long platter of dips means that there is really no need for an entree. The dips and accompanying bread are all home made and include vibrant olive pesto and a spicy pumpkin dip with a subtle tang.
 
 
Traditional Moroccan dishes are served with a twist as was evident from the tagines on offer. Tagine of organic chicken is slow cooked until the chicken is tender and teamed with figs and roasted chestnuts which add fragrance and flavour to the chicken. Similarly, lamb tagine features delicate slithers of lamb coupled with slices of aromatic pear.
 
 
Unlike many restaurants in Morocco Elizir serves wine. The wine list offers even less choice than the menu – your selection is essentially limited to red or white but the Moroccan red on offer proves to be decent enough with a smooth peppery taste.

 

Elizir’s chocolate tart is the perfect accompaniment to mop up the remainder of the bottle of wine. Served piping hot and oozing gooey melted chocolate sauce the only blemish was the accompanying coffee ice cream which was too bitter for my tastes.

A meal at Elizir is a holistic, heady experience and quite possibly the best meal you will have in Morocco. You will regret finishing your meal and having to climb back down the stairs and leave the Wonderland.

Details: Rue de Agadir, Essaouira, Morocco (ph 024 472103). Only open in the evenings from 7.30pm.

Damage: Pricey

9/10

If you liked reading this you might be interested in reading about the street food markets in Marrakesh or try a Moroccan recipe for Tatuka salad.

3 comments

  1. Brilliant stuff. We are going to Essaouria in September and Elizir has just made it onto our hit list. Any other suggestions for us?

  2. Browners – lucky you! Elizir for sure and I also recommend the little seafood stalls (which I will post about soon) and bar Taro for drinks. Watch out it is very windy so you will need warm clothes even in September.

  3. OMG, juts look at that choclate tart…

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