My favorite Essaouira restaurant, Taros, is on the most beautiful square in Morocco: Place Moulay Hassan.
The square opens out onto the sea so here too people are busy playing football, flirting and parading. The superb, authentic Taros is a kind of cultural center for the town. Music performances, book-signings, and exhibitions are held here. While sipping a cup of tea you can immerse yourself in North African art, as the café has a small library, and talk with some of the many interesting regular clients. But that is something for the hot afternoons.
Now it is time for Moroccan tapas on the blue and white roof terrace which looks out over the square, the kasbah and the sea, into which the sun is setting. In the distance I hear a rhythmic drumming: gnaoua music. This relatively unknown music form was brought, with the caravans, from black Africa. Thanks to the hippy community who started a yearly festival in which gnaoua is mixed with other musical styles, Essaouira is now the gnaoua capital of the world. Today is Thursday, the day on which Muslims marry. Follow the music!
Fortunately, the family of the bridal couple are very hospitable and I am allowed to join the celebrations. The dancers spin relentlessly in a trance in which they let themselves be carried away by the stirring rhythms of the drummers. For the first time this week, it is a late night for me in the most likeable town in Morocco. A very late night.
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