Written April 9, 2013
Wanting to get a taste of the Moroccan Mediterranean we did the loop drive suggested to us by our guide the day before. The drive starts in the same direction as the Talassemtane National Park, that is taking the N2 towards Tetouan and then turning right on the road that leads to Oued-Laou. As mentioned in the previous post, the sign for this turnoff, about 15 Kilometers out of town, is obscured by branches. It’s just past the second bridge of a double bridge crossing the river. Past here the road is easy to follow all the way to Oued-Lauo passing through a dramatic canyon that levels off to rolling cultivated hills as you near the sea.
It looks like they are trying to turn Oued-Laou into a seaside Chefchaouen with blue and white painted buildings and a newly built seaside promenade. In early April it was still pretty dead, but I imagine you could get lunch at one of the seaside cafes on the right before the start of the promenade.
It was still too early for lunch so we took our chances and headed down the coastal road towards Tetouan. The hazy weather took some of the shine off what would otherwise be a gorgeous drive along the green hills that roll down to the sea.
We pass a few small towns and even ventured into one café, but there were no lunch opportunities to be found until just before Tetouan. In the small town of Azla we found a busy seaside restaurant with taxis out in front and the parking lot half full. There were no signs in any script that we could read. It may say something in Arabic on what looks like a Coke sign.
Walking into the restaurant we were the only foreigners in the place. The first young man we talked to did not speak French or even Spanish, which is supposedly more common in this region, but simply pointed to the counter. At the counter there was someone who spoke enough Spanish that we could order some lunch. Turns out that the restaurant specializes in fresh fish. You pick out your lunch from a large cooler with a selection of various types of fresh caught fish, including calamari, and they grill or fry it up for you. In addition to the fish we ordered a salad and a plate of paella. It’s what everyone else was eating.
The outside terrace is just above the beach – the perfect spot for a fresh fish lunch. The fish was just as fresh and perfectly cooked as we would hope and dirt cheap at 140 dirham (about $16) for the whole meal.
If you want to find this restaurant, it’s in Azla east of Tetouan on the sea side of the coastal road, just east of the Florida Café and Restaurant.
Continuing on back to Chefchaouen via Tetouan, a large white city set in the rugged hills next to the sea, we take the N2 south through the pretty valleys whose surrounding peaks are staring to cloud over.