Every thing I thought I knew about Morocco was flipped upside down when I explored Agadir and the neighboring fishing villages off of the southern Atlantic coast. You can't get anything fresher than fish from a seaside city, even if you are in the desert!
Agadir is NOT a sleepy beach town.
Visiting Morocco for the first time, I was expecting to see smooth, sandy dunes (which I eventually got to surf!), and instead we were surprised to find flat desert terrain with colorful architecture.
Among the typical tan and red buildings with brown accents were modern designs with both light and bright colors that popped against the blue sky.
When we finally reached the beach, hoping to find fresh seafood, we catch the beautiful sunset instead. The color of the sand was so rich and looked like it was glistening with dew.
Soaking in the setting sun, checking out the carnival games, and watching some mothers in the water with their children completed our list of things to do. It was dinnertime!
On our way towards the marina for dinner, we saw the words of a Moroccan motto begin to illuminate on the side of the hill, “Allāh, al Waṭan, al Malik.”
Standing guard over the town, the writing on the hill reads,
“God, Homeland, King.”
The marina is the shopping destination offering local-made art products and crafts alongside top international brands beneath luxurious apartment homes. Just like the beautiful boats lined up in a row, the night clubs, pubs and restaurants lined the marina offering lovely views of the water and a lot of international cuisine options.
Although Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country,
it is not dry and alcohol is available in a variety of places.
Being so close to the ocean, we were excited to try Morocco’s seafood. We walked to the end of the marina and finally stepped inside the office of the apartment complex to ask a local for suggestions. The concierge was happy to direct us to the fish market as a great place for the freshest seafood in the city.
He even led us through a secret trap door behind his desk.
Along the way, an older gentleman guided us to his cousin’s restaurant in the market filled with numerous stalls and options to choose from. Each one offered similar foods for a comparable price, but his restaurant came with such great hospitality, we couldn't turn him down.
He even took us to the back where they stored the "it’s-so-fresh-it’s-still-alive" seafood.
We knew it was going to be good.
We got a lot of fresh fish for a low price, just be mindful of the cost of the add-ons. It's a great deal until you order the gambas (prawns) and other bottom half items. They’ll get you with the prawns because the prawns were too delicious to resist!
Like any desert town, when the sun goes down,
the people come out.
We enjoyed the fresh fish and lay back atmosphere so much that we noticed groups coming and going before we had our fill. While we were eating with the locals, we set our forks and knives aside to eat like the locals. This was a meal unlike any other.
The most inspiring business in the market (in my opinion) was the man who charged
to wash your hands before and after the meal.