Yacout – Marrakech, Morocco

Romancing the Palate

The great chef Paul Bocuse once announced, “There are only three cuisines in the world: French, Chinese, and Moroccan.” And not necessarily in that order, one is inclined to believe, after dinner at Yacout.

Deep in the heart of the medina, through the massive, unmarked door of a sumptuous 200-year-old house, visi­tors cross carpets strewn with rose petals to enter rooms that are almost too romantic, with hundreds of flickering candles, tiles and mosaics, and fireplaces. In the air, there’s a scent of jasmine and the delicate music of a zither.

Yacout, which means “sapphire” in Arabic, has created a visual mise-en-scene that enchants all the senses. Rapt guests succumb to the arrival of a feast (sans menu) redolent of ancient caravans and the foreign nations that shaped Moroccan history and food.

The elabo­rate variety showcases the breadth of traditional Moroccan food, but even a simple couscous dazzles. Repair to the gloriously tiled, beauti­fully lit courtyard for apres-dinner mint tea and desserts sweeter than honey served next to a splashing fountain and a narrow pool.

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