Mohammed & Layla & Their Chez Bismilah In Marrakech
I wanted to make a post about all the beautiful places we discovered in Marrakech. It wasn’t supposed to contain the standard stuff like the Jardin Majorelle or House of Photography or other touristy places. It was supposed to be about the shops and their owners.
But then we discovered Mohammed and Layla.
Their warmth, good coffee, and food made us go back to the same place for three consecutive days. And I thought … it’s unfair for their small eatery to share the space with other, probably just as fantastic, but less known, places.
This post is about their tiny eating place in Marrakech called Chez Bismilah.
You can find it here. I wouldn’t dare to give you any instructions simply because there are none to give. We got lost two times while trying to get there. Two out of three that is 🙂 . The souks are a maze and there are almost no reference points.
However, I can promise you this place is worth finding.
Why? Well, Mohammed’s fatherly smile and kindness for one. We were wandering on the narrow streets, trying to capture how light was finding its way through the holes in the roof when all of a sudden we came across two chairs. I was exhausted so I sat. Alin started talking to this guy who was preparing Turkish coffee. He invited us to drink some, but then again, everybody is trying to lure you with something in Marrakech. He didn’t insist, which I found odd, but I said ok nevertheless since I needed to rest for a bit.
This is how we met Mohammed. He showed us how to prepare amazing coffee with four different spices and boil it with fig instead of adding sugar to it. It’s the best coffee I ever had. Mild, yet daring, with a complex taste that resembled all of the flavors and none in particular. It seemed like an intricate work of art. Pretty much like all those layered carpets, you see for sale in Marrakech.
A while later we decided to eat as well. This is how we met Layla, Mohammed’s delightful wife. We had tajine, couscous, lentil soup, and tomato salad, all of them amazing. My experience with tajine hadn’t been that great. Chefchaouen, a year back, and some other cafe in Marrakech has left me disappointed. The meat was either too dry, too spicy or simply without any flavor. But Layla knows. I am sorry, that was Layla KNOWS. In the following days, I tried both lamb and chicken tajine and I basically devoured both. Meat was tender, vegetables savoury and the sauce made me ask for more bread. 🙂
It’s not just about the coffee and tajine. What made us go back to the same place three days in a row were actually Mohammed and Layla.
Do you know that warm feeling you get in your stomach when you are in the right place with the right people? This is how it felt. I have learned that in life I should guide myself after that feeling. It’s never wrong.
In a place like Marrakech where everybody tries to grab your attention, shouts really, these guys felt like Chopin’s Nocturnes.
And if we thought food and drinks and nice service are not enough to keep us coming back …
First day when we were at Chez Bismilah, we met Angie and Marijo, a funky couple from Canada, also in the creative industry. It’s funny how providence made us cross paths again at Jardin Majorelle, a day later. It only made sense that our last day in Marrakech, we’d all have lunch at Chez.
Bottom line is if you ever find yourself in Marrakech, fight the chaos and find Chez Bismilah.
You will get good food, good coffee, nice atmosphere and, with a bit of luck, you will also meet other souls like yourself.