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Le Sessions de Pietri


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To put this in context by the time we found the Sessions, we'd been in Rabat for a month, the weather was awful so we'd stuck around Agdal with it's limited number of restaurants, and were basically eating burger at the tapas place, chow mein at the Chinese (as nice as the Chinese is half the menu comes with crevettes (which I'm working on the assumption that I'm allergic to - another longish boring story) and half the ingredients for the others are never available, so we always had the same food), steak or fish at the French place - mostly because it was so good! We'd also tried several other places, 3 of which gave us varying degrees of food poisoning, another turned into an experiment of balance due to the level of grease on the floor (I'm genuinely not exaggerating when I say that when it rained, which it was, a lot, you could see a semi-circle of grease on the pavement around that place) and several more which basically served pizza or kebab style fast food. Vegetables were increasingly hard to come by, especially compared to the quantities I eat if I'm cooking for myself. So the context you have to keep in mind is that by the time we found this place we were eating very repetitve meals, had been eating these meals with the same people for a month, and as much as I love everyone there're only so many topics to discuss with people that beyond a general love of work and the outdoors in general and walking in particular that you can talk about. At some stage you have to stop talking about work, and our cultural references are completely different... Also on the colour personality spectrum thingy I'm most definately a blue, which basically means neurotic, unsociable, reserved... although I think the oficial word might have been non-tactile (compared to say, a yellow - please note this has nothing to do with the Ajahs).


So essentially, a month in, bored of the food; running out of things to say and going hotel crazy (did I mention the weather was AWFUL yet? cos I'm pretty sure I meant to.


Anyway, I've now been to the Sessions 4 maybe 5 times and it is by far my favourite restaurant in Rabat, I was going to say Morocco but there were some very good ones in Marakesh. It's located near the train station off the main strip and is attached to a hotel. It starts serving evening meals at about 7 and finishes serving food around 11, and chucks people out at about 1. It's a 3 minute walk from the nearest tram stop where there is conveniently an array of death defying taxis (coming back from the sessions one evening is the one time I felt unsafe in a taxi).



Different, there's modern art on the walls, mostly in black/white/grey - to my very untrained eyes I'd say pencil and maybe charcoal, occasional bits of 3D semi sculpture. There's a large bar, but mostly it's table service. It's the busiest place we've eaten in and very smart - the first time we turned in I thought we'd be turned away for wearing sandals and in general I always look scruffy (frustrating, I worked for a French company for a while and realised that while French people can turn up to work in jeans and a t-shirt they will ALWAYS look smarter than me, even if I'm wearing a suit - and not scruffy looking in a nerf herder sort of way, just scruffy). There were bouncers on the door, who are naturally very friendly even if they look intimidating. There's a small stage in the corner of the room and a larger pebbled rock style garden in teh centre. There are gypsum candles on the tables, which I've never seen before but now desperately want. Tables are close together, not necessarily crowded though as it feels informal and relaxed (I already told you I was a blue and need my 'space' so that says a lot for the atmosphere of the place). The rocl style garden is a bit of a surprise, since without it they could fit another 15 tables or so, but maybe it's better to be turning people away cos you're full than having empty tables /shrug



The atmosphere is great, there's not a lot to say really. The waiters are very attentive and go round keeping drinks topped up. There's a general buzz, and finally there's live music on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. They're all local people so we never know whose going to actually be playing, but they are probably regulars, since for some groups people in the restaurant have brought various percussion instruments with them to play along. I would suggest you book in advance, we were incredibly lucky the first time as we just sort of turned up, waited 15 minutes and then were given the artists table. We booked every other time and it was always busy. I suspect they don't have sittings as such adn that once people have arrived that 'most' are there for the evening to enjoy the music, at least we've never been rushed away once seated and are generally there till the end.


Morocco doesn't have any anti-smoking laws, so that's worth bearing in mind until you get used to it.


It's also worth noting that, as with everywhere else in Morocco, evening meals are eaten later. When we first arrived we'd get back from work, absolutely starving and nothing would open till 7.



The food is great. There's a fairly extensive menu which includes a couple of tagines, lots of fish, salads (which don't give you food poisoning), meat...

I can personally recommend everything that I've eaten, my colleagues say the same. The meals that stick out are the parmesan crusted salmon with veg. Carpacchio beef with mushroom, pesto (further proof that pesto makes everything taste better) and parmesan and the caesar salad. If I'm being really picky I'd say that the second time I had the salad the parmesan wasn't sliced thinly enough - that's how picky you have to get to find fault with the food. Caesar salad might not sound special, but again keep it in the context of not having had salad for a month before yuo judge. The veg that the salmon came with were herby and crisp and lovely. In short I can't recommend the food highly enough.


We generally had wine with the food and then my colleagues switched to beer afterwards while I finished off the wine. There's Moroccan wine on the menu which was nice as well as more familiar European and Australian wines. Beer I didn't recognise. It's arguably a little pretencious, in as much as they serve delicately arranged food on large plates, pour small amounts of wine into large glasses (at home a bottle of wine is good for 3 or 4 glasses, in teh Sessions it's good for at least 12 even though the glasses are twice as big), but you don't ever get the impression that anybody stood around arranging the food for 10 minutes before being served.


Like the rest of Morocco, a coffee means an expresso, although they look at you askance if you don't add sugar.



Still relatively cheap. The first time we went it was just over 1000 dirham for 3 main meals, desert, coffee, 2 bottles of wine (maybe 3) and 2 bottles of water. We were there for 4 hours, listening to the music and drinking wine. I'll have to check the conversion rates, but I think this comes out to about $100. A main meal is about 150-230dirham, deserts about 40-60dirham, wine varies but starts at 130 (incidentally this is how the artist performing gets paid, drinks are more expensive on the nights they play (maybe 20dirham more on a bottle of wine which goes directly to the artist). Again I'm not sure on the price of beer or the water. Second time we went was around 800dirham for 4 of us, so it's in no way expensive, except in comparison that it's possible to eat a full meal with drinks in Rabat for less than $15.


Average cost for a meal with drinks is probably around $35.

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