Riad Anata and Riad Anata Cooking Class, Fez
The first time I saw Riad Anata’s website, I knew it was our kind of place and exactly what we were looking for in a Riad in Fez. There are, no doubt, many options of where to stay in the city, which makes it hard to decide where works best for everyone. We wanted somewhere near the medina, but not exactly in the middle of the craziness. We also expected it to be within walking distance to the main attractions, easily accessible, with cozy rooms, a nice shower, a rooftop, and a staff which we could trust. Too much to ask? Well, guess what? We found it:
Before we even arrived in Morocco, Riad Anata’s team sent me a booklet to help us plan our visit to Fez. However, it is way more than just a booklet, it has insider tips on where to eat, where to go for a Hammam, how to reach the Riad, tips for the city, and a nice introduction to the staff. While reading it, it was impossible not to smile with they way they made it! What a great idea. We felt welcomed before we even got there, and it turns out, this little booklet ended up becoming our guide to Fez, and every recommendation we followed, we loved!
We arrived in Fez at night, after a long bus trip from Chefchaouen, and were glad that we already had told the staff that we wanted to have dinner in the terrace. We did our check-in with Simo, and he explained a few things, and offered to help us the next day with our plans on what to do in Fez.
The Riad has 5 rooms, each one in a different color theme. We stayed in the White Room, located on the patio. It couldn’t be more cozy. With a comfy bed, chic decoration, a wonderful shower and toiletries that smelled like heaven, we were happy that we were going to stay 3 nights there.
Curious to see more? Check out the other rooms here.
The facilities, services and the staff
The Riad has an incredible relaxing vibe, and the elegant and contemporary decoration helps. In the patio you find chairs and tables, where once in a while dinner is also served, a small corner with books and games, and on the terrace, you find the kitchen, tables and chairs where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, a small pool with a hammock and couches and chairs to relax.
Riad Anata offers a few very helpful and nice services apart from a great Wi-Fi connection, such as laundry, transfers, guides which they trust, cooking classes in their own kitchen with their chef Samira, they also can organize day and short trips for you, like to Chefchaouen and to the Desert, and they are always happy to recommend where to eat, shop and visit.
The staff was a highlight in our stay, always with a smile and happy to help you with anything you need. Said, the maître d’hôtel, is always happy to chat and do everything in his power to make you comfortable and happy by simply noticing details about what you like. Simo, the manager and receptionist, made the largest medina in the world seem simple by giving us great tips with a map, and everything he said worked out for us. He also booked us a Hammam, and arranged that our laundry was done in the same day. And Samira, the chef, well, cooks heavenly, no wonder we decided to take a cooking class with her.
Cooking class with Samira at Riad Anata
W. and I were keen of taking a cooking class while in Morocco, and when we discovered that Riad Anata offers their own, we had to try it, and we ended up cooking for 10 people with the big help of Samira. She is originally from Fez, born and raised, and if there is something she can be proud of, that is her cooking skills. Oh well, she is also great at bargaining at the market, and also a Formula 1 fan, like me. What are the odds?
Our cooking class lasted for about 3 hours, plus the time we went to the market to buy some vegetables and meat with Samira. We helped cutting onions and aubergine, cleaning the lentil, opening cooked prunes to insert roasted almonds inside, and, of course, I made lots of questions. Our main recipe was Lamb Tagine, but not any Lamb Tagine, a very traditional one that has been cooked by Samira’s family for a long time. We also made aubergine and lentil salads.
We were impressed by the amount of spices used, no wonder Moroccan food is a big mix of tastes. We were also surprised to discover that making tagine is more simple than we expected it to be. Planning on making one? Here is Samira’s Lamb Tagine recipe for two people:
2 lamb shanks
500g of onions
50g rancid butter
1 pinch of cinnamon powder
1 pinch of ginger powder
1 pinch of dried saffron
Salt and black pepper
Olive and/or vegetable oil
Sugar or honey
40g of blanched almonds
Enough sesame seed to cover all prunes
Let’s get cooking
In a large pressure pot throw in lamb shanks, the onions in chunks, spices and olive oil and set the stove to high. Then add the butter and leave it in the pot pressure for 30 minutes. Reduce the stove temperature and let it cook for 1 more hour or until it’s well cooked.
In the meantime, in a small sauce pan fry the almonds with enough oil to cover them, until the skin gets softer, for about half an hour.
Wash the prunes, and in another sauce pan, cook them with oil and more spices, until they become soft and get bigger.
Once both almonds and prunes are ready, peel the almonds, cut prunes in the middle and insert about 3 almonds into one prune, then coat each one of them with the sesame.
When the meat is ready, take it out of the pot and leave the onions. Add honey or sugar to caramelize the onions, it will be done when the water dries out. Once everything is ready, arrange them all in a plate, and decorate as you like.
Highlights of Riad Anata
– The friendliness of the staff
– Samira’s amazing food
– Said’s impeccable work
– The location
– The wonderful booklet
– The shower!
We were guests of Riad Anata in October 2016. As always, views and opinions are our own, and we only recommend what we like and believe our readers will like too.