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We’ve found Madrid’s Alcázar: it’s inside a Moroccan restaurant in Vallecas

16 October 2018
The first floor of Marrakech

I was on the phone to my other half, about to explain that I was running late (explorers’ problems), when I walked past the beautiful tiled facade of Restaurante Marrakech and said:

I’ll call you back.

A few days later, we came back to eat – and the food was as good as I’d hoped. But the reason why this article belongs in our collection of Living Museums is that I think we’ve found Madrid’s long-lost Alcázar…

A traditional ground-floor fountain on the first floor

A traditional ground-floor fountain on the first floor

The facade of Marrakech

The facade of Restaurante Marrakech

Look closely and you’ll see that every single tile inside this restaurant is zellige: an ancient Moorish design whose pattern has been trending throughout the Arab world for around 1,600 years.

Zellige tiles sport an incredibly complex design, but once the design is carved, the tiles it adorns are relatively cheap to produce, thus providing the feel of luxury in an otherwise no-frills setting. This is perfectly illustrated inside Restaurante Marrakech.

One of the first-floor kitchens

One of the ground-floor kitchens

A traditional Moroccan fountain on the staircase

A traditional Moroccan fountain on the staircase

The stunning staircase

The stunning staircase

Table for two

A booth for two (or six)

A view out to the local mercado

A sun-drenched view out to the local market

Islamic geometric tiles

Geometric Islamic tilework


For dinner between four, we ordered all six vegetarian starters, plus the chicken brewat, and a lamb couscous. The food came fast and hot out of the numerous kitchens, and all of it was delicious.

The zaaluk and chakchuka

Zaaluk and chakchuka

Chicken brewat samosas and vegetable brewat rolls

Chicken brewat samosas and vegetable brewat rolls

Fresh falafel

Fresh falafel

In the photo of the lamb couscous below, you can also see into the private dining room, which can be reserved specially. It can seat up to 12 people and even has its own TV.

The lamb tagine

The lamb couscous

The owners, who are from Marrakech, wanted to bring a ‘little bit’ of home with them to Madrid, and I think they’ve nailed it. Restaurante Marrakech is a splendid space with ancient local history adorning every inch of its walls – all three storeys of them – and it doesn’t look one bit out of place on this bustling street in Vallecas.


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