Riad Andalib, Fes, Morocco
My first meal in Fes was a bit of a cop out. I had just been dropped off to my riad and needed to grab something nearby for food. The thought of navigating the medina for a meal… is the last thing I felt like doing with my tired feet. The experience at hotel-restaurant Riad Andalib was a bit surreal, since I was the only diner and everything seemed a bit too fancy.
A quiet place
The thing about Morocco is that you constantly crave some peace and quiet. The streets are all so busy, noisy and it’s hard to catch a break when you can just relax. Even walking around town is exhausting, as you always need to keep an eye out. Riad Andalib is possibly one of the few options where you won’t have any difficulty finding it. Everywhere else I ate in Fes required mental maps and a few tries to get to.
I know it was always going to be one of the fancy options. But the air of pretentiousness was compounded with the fact that no-one else was dining. The food was above average but in lieu of having any fellow diners, the ambience was lacking. I mean, it was dead. The only sounds were of the water feature and my cutlery connecting with the plate which never sounded as loud as it did here.
My starter was the Harrira Fassia (80dh), this is a traditional Moroccan soup with beef, served with dates and almond pastries. I enjoyed the soup, they give it you out of the massive vessel but the sweet things are exceedingly sweet. It kind of kills all the flavour of the soup as your mouth is numbed from the pure sugar. This might just be the nature of this local delicacy, but I’m judging based my own Western-eastern palate. The bread at Riad Andalib is one of the better ones, a completely excessive quantity of it so you’ll never run out.
For my main I didn’t do myself any favours by ordering another sugar-laden dish and that was the Pastilla Fassia (150dh). It’s layers of pastry stuffed with minced chicken with almonds, coated with cinnamon and powdered sugar. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a sweet main dish, I could only do half. It is a massive half, it’s the equivalent of like, two pies. The filling is alright but I had to pick off the top layer to manage my way through it. I have no motivation to eat this dish again and skipped out any dessert.
Overall the cooking at Riad Andalib is alright, but my choices weren’t to my liking and the ambience made it too clinical to be enjoyable.