Essaouira's culinary scene is one of the most relaxed and varied within Morocco, with styles ranging from beachside cafes and outdoor fish grills to trendy establishments and some of the finest seafood restaurants in the country. Unlike the country's other medinas, here many places serve alcohol, though most will still close for lunch on Friday. As with the accommodations within the medina, it's best to prebook your dinner reservation during the peak holiday months of July and August, and definitely during the Gnaoua & World Music Festival in June.
Inexpensive -- Essaouira's fish market, located next to the spice souk off rue Souk Jdid, is where the town's two daily catches are bought and sold, and is also where you can indulge in the freshest seafood meal you'll ever have. The first catch usually comes in around 9 or 9:30am, and the second between 5:30 and 6:30pm. If you can stomach the smell, there are two simple restaurants tucked away in one of the corners, where you can take your purchase to be grilled or fried, served with olives, bread, and salad.
In between place Moulay Hassan and the port are Essaouira's well-known outdoor seafood grills. A selection of the day's catch is on display at each stall, and diners simply choose their meal and have it grilled on the spot. There are wood benches in front of each stall, or you can sit nearby on the medina's ramparts, overlooking the ocean below. The grills are open daily from midmorning to late, depending on the season and daily catch.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.