Taste Morocco – A Breakfast Tour with Locals in Tangier

 

In this guide on how to breakfast like a Moroccan, Tyla Fergusson-Platt, travel writer at One Planet Journey, tours Tangier for the tastiest and most authentic Moroccan breakfasts. With local insight from his Tangier friends, Hajar and Yasmine, Tyla searches high and low to bring you the ultimate morning meal in this Moroccan gem on the Mediterranean. This even includes an Anthony Bourdain approved secret, hidden in the heart of Tangier’s buzzing markets.

 

The Attraction of Tangier – The White City

There is something about Tangier that draws me back, and I’m not alone. From its origin as a Phoenician port 3000 years ago, it has attracted Berbers, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Europeans, and now travellers like myself. Last year, I visited Tangiers three times, and each trip made me fall in love with the city even more.

Wide street flanked by high walls with a hotel on the top seen in the dusk.
The Tangier seafront

It’s the combination of culture, art, and food I can’t resist. The breakfasts, especially, are legendary. On my premier visit, I didn’t know how rich and heavenly the cuisine would be. Since that day, I have never looked back and keep returning to dig deeper. And who better to guide me than my friend Hajar, a Tangier local, who adores her country’s cooking?

We first met during a snake charmer display in a city square. An American tourist asked if I played for the Moroccan national football team, as I wore their shirt. Hajar laughed. A blonde, blue-eyed guy with a thick English accent. How could I be from Morocco? Afterwards we became good friends, and reminisce when reminded of the incident. Now, I wanted to know, what is a proper Moroccan breakfast? And where in Tangier do they serve the tastiest version?

 

My Favourite Spot to Eat Breakfast in Tangier – The Rooftops of Restaurant Macondo 

High up in the centre of the old medina sits a beautiful heavenly white restaurant called Macondo. In terms of scenery, it is unmatched. You can enjoy panoramic views of Tangier from every angle, as a wicker roof lightly shades the scorching sun. I never tire of eating here. It feels like you have entered a different world, floating above the rest of the city.

Breakfast served on rooftop with sea view.
A tasty view in Tangier

Although more brunch than breakfast, I dig into one of my favourite dishes, a Moroccan speciality, Kefta Tagine, to start the day right. Of all the tagines I had in Tangier, this is the best. The principal ingredients are meatballs, eggs, and tomatoes, slow cooked to release all the flavours into a deeply satisfying tomato sauce. To further satisfy your appetite, it comes with fluffy hot-from-the-oven bread and fresh olives.

Address: Restaurant Macondo, Tangier, Morocco

Directions: Macondo is located right around the corner from the Kasbah Museum at 13 Rue Ben Abou.

 

Café Hafa – The Place to go for a “Humble” Breakfast

Café Hafa has a long and colourful history. Synonymous with the artistic community since its inception, famous attendees include Mick Jagger, William Burroughs, and Sean Connery. It is by no means a fancy, all thrills, venue. The decor and seating are rustic, but authentic.

However, it offers stunning views of the Strait of Gibraltar, and a relaxed ambience you don’t want to miss. Fortunately, I had the chance to experience it last year with Hajar, and I can attest that the mint tea is among the best I’ve tasted in the whole of Morocco.

Hajar explains why she loves it here.

“I like to go to Café Hafa for a humble breakfast. Especially for scrambled eggs mixed with fresh Moroccan bread and soft cheese, to give a rich flavour. On the side, I order a traditional soup called Bisarra, well known at Café Hafa.”

Address: Café Hafa, Tangier, Morocco

Directions: Starting from the Grand Succo, first locate the famous Café Central, then, facing the front of the cafe, take the street on the right all the way to Café Hafa. It is a simple, straight 20-minute walk from here.

 

Make your own Moroccan breakfast – from the markets of Tangier

It’s the perfect choice for those who want to source their own food from the city’s beating heart, its long and winding old town markets. They are full of fresh and colourful produce, all the wondrous ingredients from across Morocco, but also a few added secrets, unique to Tangier. A favourite of the locals is Msemen, a square pancake eaten with rich natural honey and goat cheese. All of which you can buy from the Grand Socco market at reasonable prices.

Berba women from the Atlas Mountains make the goat cheese, and sell it in the catacombs of the food markets. They decorate them with a beautiful, hand-woven, palm-leafed case. The famed cheese even has the stamp of approval from the American TV chef Anthony Bourdain, who included it in one of his documentaries in Parts Unknown.

My friend Yasmine explains the optimal way to enjoy Msemen.

“It’s best to eat it with honey and goat cheese. The secret is to warm them up, so the cheese melts over the pancakes and the honey oozes over it. You may also have it with Amlou, which is almond butter, but to be honest, sometimes I love to have it with Nutella!”

Directions: You can find the women sitting on the floor of the indoor food market. If you start at Cinema Rif and walk downhill away from the cinema towards the fish market, you will see them inside. If you get lost, Moroccan hospitality saves the day. Locals go out of their way to help you locate what you want.

 

Skipping breakfast? Check out Tangier’s historic café culture at Cinema Rif

Not hungry? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Morocco is famed for its mint tea, sometimes lovingly referred to as Moroccan Whiskey. It packs a punch, especially after your third or fourth serving. It’s best to take it with sugar as it compliments the mint and tea flavours well. A unique place to enjoy it is the historic Cinema Rif, an art déco structure in the Grand Socco. It is an impressively preserved building from the golden age of cinema with original features throughout. If the mood strikes you, English and French films feature after 3pm.

Yasmine offered yet another insider’s tip. There is a secret ingredient, not known to tourists.

“It is important to boil the tea and sugar, and let them sit before putting in the mint leaves and turning off the gas. Sometimes we add Zhar flower petals (Orange Blossom), at the same time as the mint.”

Address: Cinema Rif, Tangier, Morocco

Directions: Rif is located in the Grand Socco, which is the centre point of the old medina. From here, you can access the food and fish markets, as well as the general ones.

 

Eating with the locals – The best way to enjoy a Moroccan breakfast

“In Tangier life is slow. For a Tanjawa (Tangier local) like myself, sleeping in is the norm. We eat breakfast brunch style, mid-morning in a leisurely way,” Hajar explains.

The Moroccan passion for food is obvious when the meal hits the table. From the way they express themselves, it is more than a means to an end. Their culture, spirit, and personality all come together onto the plate.

Two women at an outdoor table eating.
Breakfast with friends in Tangier

I had the privilege to share breakfasts with the locals in Tangier, and it ranks as the most enjoyable aspect of the stay. My friends showed both excitement and pride when showing me their food and culture, and rightly so, as I believe it’s one of the best kitchens in the world. The hospitality is second to none. They always refused to let me pay and took time out of their days to help me enjoy my trip to the fullest. If you go to one place this year, make it Tangier. You will eat and drink like a king, and meet incredible people.  

 

Have you been to Morocco? Did you visit Tangier? Let us know in the comment section! Subscribe to our newsletter and benefit from travel guides, sustainable tourism and luxury travel tips, insightful interviews, and inspirational places to visit. One Planet Journey – The World’s First Deep Travel Magazine.

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *