The private estate, Jnane Tamsna, takes up nine acres of lush Moroccan land, offering 24 ensuite bedrooms, sprawling gardens and an in-house dining experience like no other. When you eat at Jnane Tamsna, you eat like you are family. The large dining room with high arched ceilings, bright textiles and potted greenery maintain the familiarity and comfort of your most content family dinners.
Chef Bahija Lafridi has run the kitchen at Jnane Tamsna since 2004. He took an unconventional route to get there, having studied Spanish literature in college. Naturally, the progression would be teaching Spanish, but Lafridi had always had a passion for cooking (one he thanks his mother for) and followed his heart into studying culinary arts in Morocco instead. After connecting through a friend with the owner and interior designer of Jnane Tamsna, Meryanne Loum Martin, the two began a culinary partnership in 1999. Bahija recalls, “Mrs Loum-Martin hired me at the condition that I would forget everything I had learned. She wanted home food and not hotel food.”
While most people hear of and visit this elegant estate for it’s lush gardens and hotel luxuries, the restaurant remains rather under the radar considering the unforgettable experience it provides. The food at Jnane Tamsna is nothing less than sensational. Fresh organic fruits and vegetables hand picked from the garden enliven the tastes of honey, sweet orange and mellow spices in each slow-cooked and succulent dish. The menu rotates based on seasonal ingredients and seasonal inspiration of the Chef.
When he’s not creating culinary masterpieces, Bahija instructs cooking classes to visitors wanting to recreate the symphony that traditional Moroccan food plays on the palette. Offering a suggestion to those interested in trying to master a Moroccan dish, “try a recipe for lamb with honey, peeled almonds and the allspice mix ras el hanout, which brings the full flavor of a Moroccan dish together. The mix of spice, sweet from dried fruit, and sour from lemon, is an integral part of many traditional Moroccan dishes.” Bonus points if you can get your hands on a tagine, the slow-cooking clay pot with a funnel lid, which caramelizes the bottom of a dish and leaves the top tender and divine“
“Try a recipe for lamb with honey, peeled almonds and the allspice mix ras el hanout, which brings the full flavor of a Moroccan dish together. The mix of spice, sweet from dried fruit, and sour from lemon, is an integral part of many traditional Moroccan dishes.”
Photography Credit: Saad Alami