Marrakesh has arguably the best selection of restaurants in Morocco; as a group they serve equal parts Moroccan and international cuisine. Restaurant dining, however, is a relatively new phenomenon for Moroccans, who see eating out as somewhat of a shame on the household. The younger generation has embraced the trendy cafés and restaurants of Guéliz and Hivernage, but as for the older generation,
even the wealthiest Marrakshis would prefer to invite friends over to sample home cooking than to go out for the evening. To get an idea (albeit a rather expensive one) of traditional yet sumptuous Moroccan entertaining, treat yourself to an evening at one of Marrakesh’s popular riad gastronomique restaurants in the medina.
You can also eat well at inexpensive sidewalk cafés in both the medina and Guéliz. Here, don't miss out on a famous local dish called tanjia, made popular by workers who slow-cook lamb or beef in an earthenware pot left in hot ashes for the whole day.
Most restaurants in Marrakesh tend to fall into two categories. They're either fashionable, flashy affairs, mostly in Guéliz and the outlying areas of Marrakesh, which serve à la carte European and Moroccan cuisine, or they're more traditional places, often tucked inconspicuously into riads and old palaces in the medina. Both types can be fairly pricey, and, to avoid disappointment, are best booked in advance. They also tend to open quite late, usually not before 7:30 in Guéliz and 8 in the medina, although most people don't sit down to eat until 9 or 9:30. In recent years a third dining category, the dinner-cabaret, has become a popular format, attracting tourists, expats, and well-heeled Moroccans for their entertainment value, if not necessarily for their cuisine.
There's no set system for tipping. Your check will indicate that service has been included in the charge; if not, tip 10% or 15% for excellent service.