Eating in Rabat Part 2: A Muddy Medina, Couscous, and More Baby Tagines…

2-3 February 2017

After another frustrating early morning not being able to figure out what to do — thanks to the nearly non-functional Wifi — I ended up heading out a little later than planned. I just wandered around the Medina and to the crazier parts of it. It is a madhouse at times, with stray cats clawing at a person cleaning fish and old ladies clawing at hucks of greying tripe that even flies don’t go near. And how many damn shoe stores do you need in one town, not to mention one small block of the Medina?

And because it had been raining, the place was a muddy mess…especially that street with all the live produce and fresh butchering…

After awhile I had about enough and sought out a much-liked restaurant near the south-east corner of the Medina called Dar Zaki. I got there just as it opened and the very friendly proprietor led me to my table. I relaxed and soon ordered. Being in the Medina, this lunch is going to be booze-free, and that’s just fine by me.

a1-kefta-briouat

I relaxed and just sipped on water for a bit before my starter arrived, the briouat stuffed with kefta. It was a little bland to be honest, but cooked well. And was hearty, so that’s fine — knowing the main was going to be tasty and big. I chilled and drank more water before it arrived, and I began drooling…

a2a-couscous

I’m usually not a great fan of couscous, partly because so many people screw up its prep. This place is well known for this dish, and it did not disappoint. The sauce (jus) was just brilliant, I wish there was more as the thirsty couscous drank it up quickly. The veggies were excellent, the veal was totally soft and delicious. An excellent dish, and good size too.

Some other diners had come in and this family-run place was starting to come alive this lunchtime. I asked for some mint tea and orange with cinnamon, and after a bit it arrived.

a3-orange-a-la-cannelle

A nice dessert for me, as it was not too sweet but added just the perfect touch to a good lunch. I thanked the proprietor and headed out. A nice lunch. Now the challenge was to fight through some busy alleys in the Medina to get back to my hotel. Got a few things to do for my departure tomorrow…

I spent part of the afternoon sorting out logistics of getting back to New York and what I need to do there during my short stay before heading home. Also needed to sort out some stuff for the short stop in Madrid coming up. Not easy with a failing wifi, but I got it done.

I wandered out early into the Medina again for dinner. It was more of a rainy mess and a lot of the dirt in the Medina had already turned into mud, which made for a total mess to be honest. But eventually I got to my dinner destination, a place people rave about online called Dar El Medina.

The dining choices in Rabat is limited, so there’s only so much you can trust research. I didn’t feel like going too far, and I seem to get the grasp of this small Medina pretty well, so this was a good choice. I chilled and ordered, having to change something that wasn’t available… Soon came the opener.

b1-salad

A simple salad. Hmmm… Nothing very special here, then the main…

b2-merguez

Huh? That’s it? No wonder it’s so dirt cheap, there’s almost nothing here. I hate empty filling potato-derived items… I was nowhere near full and the prices were dirt cheap, and they weren’t closing for another half hour, so I ordered another main. I didn’t imagine something of a similar price would be so, so different…

b3-trida-aux-poulet

Wow. Trida au poulet, and the portion was huge. Trida is a type of wheat pasta that’s eaten in the east of the country, and this was nice — although a bit baked to death near the edges. But very tasty, with plenty of chicken and veggies. But the portion nearly killed me…

I didn’t have any dessert, I just saundered back to my hotel with the rest of my water, full beyond comprehension… I was thinking of taking some wine, but nah…I’m done. I just need to get some rest. I’m exhausted from this trip. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Drained…

Another bad sleep but I didn’t care — I was ready to get out of here. I should have gone somewhere out of town yesterday like Meknes or even Casablanca, but oh well. I was ready to get out of this death-trap and managed to get my luggage to the ground floor without killing myself — though I did bang my head…

I headed out into the Medina for a final lunch and lo and behold, where I went, Dinarjat, was shut. Great. Not wanting to waste time exploring as the airline told me not to go to the airport too late, I decided to go back to Dar Rbatia — where I had my first meal in Rabat.

I relaxed in the side room and ordered, but told them I need to finish by a certain time due to my flight, so that’s that. I chilled and again, my table was graced with those cute baby tagines I didn’t manage to find for sale anywhere in the Medina for some reason…

c1a-salad

Another set of good salads, and terribly addictive. I pretty much emptied them with a good helping of bread. All this before my main arrived.

c2-seafood-pastilla

This seafood pastilla was okay, but nowhere as good as the chicken on the first day. Very big and filled with seafood and vermicelli, it was indeed filling — which is what I needed since I won’t be eating until late tonight in Madrid. I chilled a little before they brought out my dessert — and mint tea at the same time, knowing my clock issues.

c3-fruit

A rather boring fruit dessert, but still better than the sweet pastilla the other day. I finished it off and paid my bill, not waiting for the change as the main dining room was lousy with a Chinese tour group, so I got the hell out of there. Got back to my hotel and was off to the airport.

Well, Rabat, it’s been interesting…off to MAD-ness…

Dar Zaki
23 Rue Moulay Brahim

Dar El Medina
3 Rue Benjelloune

Dar Rbatia
6 Rue Farane Khachane
Rabat, Morocco

PS: Well, Royal Air Maroc told me to go 3 hours before my flight due to enhanced security. Huh? I got there 2.5 hours before and no one was ready, not even security… Rushed for no reason…

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