An up-and-coming global travel destination, Mauritius features a fascinating combination of island paradise, captivating history and multicultural society. The restaurant scene on the islands is a reflection of the latter, with French, African, Asian and of course Creole cuisines mixing to delicious effect, reflecting the diverse contemporary culture which is so distinctive to Mauritius. Here are the ten top dining-establishments to check out whilst you’re there.
Located in Moka, the hotel Maison Euréka can be found behind ‘La Maison Créole’, a colonial house which has been converted into a museum devoted to Creole culture. The hotel offers a range of cultural and historical trips throughout the island, as well as eco adventures and trips to nature reserves, whilst the food served at the eponymous restaurant evokes the culinary traditions of these multicultural isles. Enjoying a Mauritian tea, flavored with vanilla, mint and lemon, in the picturesque gardens before dining comes highly recommended, as does the restaurant’s rougaille, a thick mildly spicy tomato sauce cooked with onions, garlic, thyme and coconut chutney.
The mysterious lantern lit gangplank which leads diners to the restaurant is just a taste of the enchanting atmosphere which awaits them at Le Barachois. Located on the shore and surrounded by mangrove trees, diners can expect to eat off wooden tables on floating decks, whilst their food is prepared in a thatched stone cottage. This combination of colonial atmosphere with tropical luxury is distinctively Mauritian, and evokes the best traditions of the island’s history and culture. The food matches the atmosphere perfectly, with freshly caught giant shrimp, lobster and crab being particular highlights of what the restaurant owners describe as a true Mauritian eating experience.
Since opening in 2002, Domaine Anna has quickly established itself as one of the essential stops on any culinary tour of Mauritius. Focusing on the Chinese gastronomic traditions which have made such an impact on Mauritian cuisine, Domaine Anna Restaurant recreates traditional Chinese dishes and flavors, often to surprising and beguiling effect. The self-taught chef Hang Leung Pah Hang is clearly an iconoclast of the kitchen, as his dishes transform conventional Chinese cooking whilst remaining true to the roots of the cuisine. The location of the restaurant is another part of its appeal, as diners eat in gazebos on the lakes, giving the experience a truly tropical feel. Domaine Anna Restaurant was awarded the Trophy of the Baguette d’Or from the International Federation of Tourism in 2005 for its dedication to the culinary arts.
One of Mauritius’ best restaurants for several years, Le Fangourin focuses on the culinary tradition which has developed on the islands, and places particular emphasis on preserving the heritage of this unique cultural inheritance. The picturesque setting amidst the garden of the Beau Plan sugar mill allows diners to experience the colonial history within the former mill, which is now a tourist attraction in its own right and is known as L’Aventure du Sucre. The food is also historically conscious, with an emphasis on the roots of Creole cuisine. There are some intriguingly delicious dishes, such as lamb tajine with medallions of breadfruit flavored with cardamom, and fillet of red snapper cooked in the oven and garnished with wakame. However, to get a true taste of the islands go for the grand platter of selected Mauritian specialties.
Indian culture has had a prolonged influence in Mauritius, with immigrants coming to the isles for several centuries and forming a well-established community. Rasoi by Vineet evokes that history by celebrating the contemporary Indian cuisine of Vineet Bhatia, a Michelin starred Chef whose London restaurant was named ‘Indian Restaurant of the Year’ just a year after it opened. Set on the coast, the restaurant offers panoramic views of Mauritius, with the sugar cane laden mountains descending to the azure sea. Rasoi by Vineet emphasizes the idyllic location by offering bespoke chill out music, and an open wood fired oven to create a multi-sensory experience. The menu features a range of contemporary interpretations of Indian dishes, and diners are recommended to try the Tasting Menu to experience the widest possible range of Vineet’s creations.
Rasoi by Vineet, One&Only Le Saint Géran, Pointe de Flacq, Mauritius, 230 401 1688
A lively and rustic celebration of traditional Mauritian cuisine awaits diners at Deer Hunter, which offers sumptuous local dishes in a bucolic surrounding. Chef Rajesh Payanandee is clearly passionate about traditional Mauritian cooking, and attempts to share his passion with visitors by transforming the classics of Creole cuisine into fine dining master classes. Dishes such as chili cakes, saffron-infused rice and lobster with coriander are infused with flavor combinations which are particular to Mauritius, with an emphasis on spice, zest and freshness throughout.
A quirky and charming addition to the Mauritius restaurant scene, Chez Tino’s take on Mauritian seafood showcases the best of the isles’ abundant fish offering. Ingredients such as lobster and langoustine are presented simply, with an emphasis on the quality of the seafood. The terrace, which overlooks the coast, is the ideal place to enjoy this seafood selection, whilst the list of wines accompany the dishes perfectly. A local favorite, Chez Tino is a great introduction to simple but delicious Mauritian cooking.
Chez Tino, Route Royale, Trou d’eau Douce, Mauritius, 230 480 2769
Le Café des Arts attempts to infuse their food with a cultural and artistic ethos, and to create an institution focused on art, culture and gastronomy. Located in an old sugar mill known as Victoria 1840, the restaurant sits alongside the Maniglier Foundation, which houses a contemporary art gallery and museum, and showcases the best works from local Mauritian artists. The restaurant is as much a gallery as the rest of the foundation, since its walls are adorned with art from all over the islands, as well as some pieces from the renowned international artists. With a menu which blends classic European food with Creole flavors, and utilizes the fruits of the sea to great effect, Le Café des Arts is an essential part of any art and culture lover’s trip to Mauritius.
Le Cafe des Arts, Victoria 1840, Old Sugar Mill, Trou D’Eau Douce, 230 480 0220