LE COMPTOIR – MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
Avenue Echouhada Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Nightlife in Marrakech is interesting because as a Muslim city there is not much public drinking. The main square and souks are entirely dry so you need to know the right places to go for a good meal or drinks and entertainment. The biggest nightclub, Pasha, is actually located outside the walls of the medina and attracts up to 600 people in a night.
We started our evening with some cocktails at La Mamounia which is the most famous hotel in Marrakech. La Mamounia has been open since 1923 and is still to this day one of the most oppulent and elegant places I have ever seen. Le bar Churchill is one of Mamounia’s five bars on the property and was named after its most famous guest, Winston Churchill. The maintain the original decor which they describe as “Jazzy 1930’s”. This means a sexy mix of tufted red leather benches walls, leopard print armchairs, a grand piano and photos of famous jazz musicians lining the walls.
The cocktails are a bit pricey but the experience is worth it despite the fact that you do not feel at all like you are in Morocco. After a couple of martinis, little snacks and signature cocktail (an enormous fishbowl-sized snifter of a fruity cocktail) we decided to make our way to dinner.
Le Comptoir was highly recommended as one of the best places to go for dinner and entertainment. The food is good and the entertainment is fabulous. Every hour or so a group of belly dancers comes out and weaves their way through the tables engaging everyone who is eating and drinking. It is a more modern establishment that serves traditional food which is quite good but didn’t quite stack up to our previous night’s meal.
We started off with the salads. I had no idea what this might be but it turned out to be a stacked tray of plates with a variety of different creations. We had a carrot salad with cumin, a tomato salad (like a bruschetta), a black olive tapenade and a sweet sticky fig compote covered in honey among them. An interesting way to sample many flavors.
We also decided to have another pastilla since we had been craving one from the night before. Le Comptoir has a chicken pastilla that was good but nowhere near as flavorful as the pigeon version.
For our main course we decided to keep with the lamb tradition and again ordered the lamb shoulder. This time we got about four times as much lamb as the night before served on a giant plate surrounded by vegetables and some of the best potatoes ever.
Because we did not want to limit ourselves to just having lamb, we also opted for a seafood tagine. This was a combination of mussels and calamari seasoned with saffron – reminiscent of a paella when paired with couscous.
After dinner, if you want some fresh air you can make your way out to the back garden to claim a small table surrounded by tuffets where you can sit and enjoy another cocktail or mint tea and some hookah. This might have been the only meal where we skipped dessert.
Le Comptoir is a must for a night out in Marrakech.