To the image of the multi-cultural or rather multi-ethnical
richness of Mauritius, the Mauritian
food and cuisine reveals its cultural influences and
the shy beginning of interbreeding, to the point that one same
dish can be classified as Creole, Mauritian or Indian. The traditional
base of Mauritian cuisine is definitely the
curries and "rougailles" but instead of cooking and
serving it the Indian way, they are simplified and commonly
served with white rice and other beans. Mauritians of all origins
have definitely adopted this combination in their everyday food
and for many Mauritians of European origin it is the traditional
Sunday treat that is looked forward to.
In restaurants, the Creole food
consists mainly of this same combination of saucy Indian dish
with rice, but further adapted to European palates in the sense
that it is even less spicy than in homes.
The best restaurants adopt one or several
specific food cultures (Italian, Chinese etc) which they keep
relatively pure although there are often some subtle touches
of exotic influences, on purpose or by accident. By the way,
restaurants proposing different types of cuisine are often below
average in most of them.
During daytime, eating on the street sides or in small restaurants
(called hotels) is common practice in Mauritius
as these are often the tastiest dishes of all. Small trolleys
serving Chinese broths and noodles can be seen mainly in Port
Louis but the most common food served are Indian specialties
namely "dholl puries" or "rotis".
For those who like trying out exotic / Creole / Indian foods,
eating from street merchants is by far the most economical option.
The nutrition is quite balanced and the food filling. The hygiene
of course is below the borderline and may cause stomach problems
to those who had no time to develop the necessary antibodies.
A full meal (standing on the street side) will cost around 35
Rupees (0,90 Euros) per person excluding the tablet for stopping
the stomach burns.
There are little alternatives within these low budgets as European
types of fast foods such as hamburgers and paninis can be found
only in towns and main villages. This type of food costs around
100 and 250 Rupees (2,50 and 6,30 Euros.)
The next cheapest alternatives are the Chinese restaurants
generally with a few red Formica tables and chairs under a veranda.
They serve delicious Chinese and Creole food at very low costs
and although the hygiene is not what it should be, it is okay
to eat in these places avoiding shrimps, seafood and red meat.
These would cost between Rs. 250 and Rs. 300 (6.30 Euros and
7.30 Euros). Most of these places serve cold drinks and beer.
Then come the disguised village restaurants; a new breed. In
most cases, these started as real people's restaurants but with
superior quality of food. They were discovered by some tourists
who have spread out the word to their friends and are now "famous
sweet spots". Although hygiene might still be on the borderline,
they are within the authorities norms. On the bright side, the
turnover is generally sufficient to ensure that products served
are fresh. In most cases, the crockery, cutlery and set up are
kitsch and the room often hot and crowded; this adds to their
interest, as they are a journey to the roots of Mauritius. The
food is often better than in more established restaurants at
more affordable prices. However the most renown of them can
be on the expensive side. A full meal in such places would cost
between Rs. 350 and Rs. 600 (bet. 8.50 and 14.50 Euros.)
The restaurant business in Mauritius has evolved positively since 2008, thanks partly to the establishment of expats on the island, both as professionals and as clientele bringing more regular volumes.
Mauritius now counts several good addresses for cuisine and atmosphere, including outstanding ones, some run by renowned chefs having had experience in French restaurants ranked in the world- famous "Guide Michelin" restaurant guide. Many of them have a concept and for this reason they are found in places that are off the main roads and outside the shopping complexes.
Restaurants in Mauritius
are generally on the expensive side as there is not enough volume
all year round to allow economies of scale. Alcohols and wines
are largely over-priced due to severe import & excise duties.
It nonetheless remains a better deal to eat in public restaurants
as compared to hotels especially if you intend to have wine.
The average quality of food served in restaurants is generally
good but service could do better. The drinks and main courses
are served within a reasonable lapse of time but as the meal
stretches to the end, the service slows like an engine running
out of petrol. One needs to wave at the waiters for some time
to attract their attention when it comes to dessert or coffee
time and the bill can take longer than the whole meal. Think
of asking for the bill while ordering dessert or coffee and
of asking for it again when coffee is served, otherwise one
might spend the whole night waiting. The cost of meals in established
restaurants vary widely between Rs. 450 and 2,000 (€ 11.00 to € 48.00) per person.
listed on Tropicscope are those that are our preferred ones
for different reasons. Although our main
criterion is the quality of food, (non-exhaustive) our selection
takes into account the value for money, the welcome, the atmosphere,
spirit, creativity and concept.