Fez – Palais Amani is a family-run, 18-room riad property, housed in the former home of one of Fez’s most prominent families. Palais Amani has a rich history, apparent across the architecture of the property: from the Iraqi stained glass windows to the Moroccan tiling. It colors everything they offer: the ingredients at the Eden Restaurant and rooftop bar; the rituals and products used at the Hammam; their storytelling evenings, courses in calligraphy and wine tasting. They work exclusively with local staff, ingredients, and products to give back to the community of Fez.
Besides the small riad, the exquisite garden restaurant is very popular with locals, and they also offer cooking lessons! Four vast flowerbeds planted with mature citrus trees, aromatic plants and local flowers are architecturally laid out in pure Arab Andalusian style. The little birds are permanent residents of the garden, splashing, and drinking in the fountain.
Imagine Eden at Palais Amani, dining near a trickling fountain amid the flowering citrus trees or under the stars in this authentic Andalusian-style oasis is an absolute delight. It is the perfect spot to catch your breath after morning touring in the Fez tanneries. I skimmed through my photos and made notes in my journal. Although the ethereal Call to Prayer is five times a day, it always seemed to be perfectly timed to my meals or cocktails, providing an ideal quiet moment to savor and absorb all that is Morocco.
At Palais Amani, the chefs take traditional recipes and give them a contemporary presentation, creating a weekly changing three-course dinner using seasonal produce from the market. Perhaps begin with a selection of Briouates which are crispy parcels filled with seafood, chicken, minced meat, cheese, and vegetables. It was warm in November, and the selection of seasonal Moroccan salads was scrumptious, a bit much for one person, as they are very generous portions! They have an à la carte menu, for lunch as well as dinner, with Mediterranean favorites, such as duck breast and fries. On the beautiful roof terrace, you’ll find a tapas menu and a chilled mojito, or you can dine inside the Art Deco–influenced dining room. In summer the roof top terrace is a profusion of brilliant color, providing medina views, sunshine and relaxation. The perfect spot to settle for coffee or mint tea, a midday snack, or a drink or meal at sunset.
Not knowing the abundance of portions, I over ordered a little, but it gave me a chance to try so many delicious dishes. I ordered Chicken Tajine and as you can see from my photo, it was obviously delicious! In such a serene mood, I forgot to take a photo of the dish as it arrived. The dish was the best Chicken Tajine in Fez- Dada Brika’s Tajine, slow cooked in an earthenware jar with preserved lemons and olives – just yummy as evidenced by my photo!
The lovely female managers were delightful and as promised, they emailed me the recipes within days of my visit. Highly Recommend!
Zaalouk For 4 people Preparation time: 45 minutes
Ingredients: 4 aubergines, 8 ripe tomatoes,1 large bunch of coriander, 8 garlic cloves, 1 large spoon of paprika,1 large spoon of ground cumin. Salt according to your taste 50 cl olive oil
Spicy version: chilli pepper
Grill the aubergines and grate the tomatoes. Then cut the aubergines into cubes. Wash and chop the coriander finely.
Gently fry the tomato pulp in a pan with the crushed garlic and all the spices and make sure it doesn’t burn. When the tomato mixture has reduced sufficiently add the aubergine cubes.
Stir gently for 15 minutes, crushing the cubes from time to time to allow the tomato and the spices to flavor the aubergine.A dd the chopped bunch of coriander and if dry add a bit more olive oil. Serve hot or cold.
NB this dish is often better the following day, as it will have had time to marinate in the fridge overnight.
Chicken Tajine with orange and caramelized carrots
Ingredients: 1 chicken (approx. 2kg) cut in quarters.
2 medium onions
2 oranges Zest
2 cups of orange juice
1/4 tsp Black pepper1 tsp (4g) ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp (2g) of turmeric
1 pinch of powered saffron (optional)
1/2 cup of Olive Oil
3 cups of water
P.S: In Morocco all poultry is washed and marinated in salt and lemon juice to clean thoroughly. Chicken bought in Europe and the States is generally cleaned thoroughly before sold so this process is not essential.
- Wash the chicken and leave to marinate in salt and lemon juice for two hours.
- Cut the onions in fine strips and put them in a large saucepan.
- Add spices and orange Zest to the onions
- Add chicken to the onions and add a little water.
- Mix and put on a low heat.
- Once boiling, add the oil, then leave to cook on a low heat, turning the chicken over at regular intervals. Once the chicken is cooked, add your orange juice to the mixture
- Keep stirring regularly until the onions and orange juice are reduced
- Serve decorated with caramelized carrots and raisins
Bon appétit! shahiat tyb! Besseha. بالصحة