One of the most significant influencers of all time - George Bernard Shaw once rightly said: There is no love sincerer than the love of food. For us humans, food has evolved from a mere means of sustenance to an art form that is being developed each day by talented chefs around the globe. New recipes, new ingredients, new cuisines, new ways to satiate our taste-buds' cravings are being discovered each second. One of these many centres of innovation in food around the world can be found on the gorgeous island of Mauritius nestled in the azure waters of the Indian ocean. The influence of Mauritius' diverse ethnic constitution is evident in this island's food. With a cuisine drawing its inspiration from India, Africa, China and France, the food you'll find on this island is refreshingly distinct yet eerily familiar. Since tourism is the single most significant contributor to Mauritius' economy and revenue, Mauritius possesses a formidable network of restaurants and eateries spanning all sectors of the cost spectrum. No matter what your taste preference is, no matter how deep or shallow your pockets are, no matter your support for vegetarianism, you'll find a cracking good meal on this island for sure!
Read on to get some insider information on the best restaurants in Mauritius, many of which are Michelin starred and headed by celebrity chefs:
1. Le Château de Bel Ombre
If old colonial mansions in a picturesque hill setting get your inner purist excited, this might be the dream restaurant for you. Built in the 1800s, this elegant manor surrounded by verdant hills and sugar fields in the South-Western part of the island is as appealing for the eyes as it is for the palate. Authentic stone fountains, ancient Banyan trees, rustic spiral staircases, this one has got all the ingredients required to take you back in time. Couple that with the quintessential romantic touches such as dim candle lighting and exquisite silverware and you've got yourself one of the finest dining experiences money can buy. Don't think of it as one of those all show - no substance restaurants you might find elsewhere, the food is as stunning as the ambience. The wild boar braised with the red wine sauce along with taro root while sipping the bubbly champagne from elegant flutes and hearing the gifted pianist play is a must-have sensory experience. Arrive in your finest attire, this ain't a place for shorts and flip-flops.
Where to find: Domaine de Bel Ombre, Southwest Mauritius, 00 230 605 5324 When to arrive: Monday to Saturday - dinner daily 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM. Reserve a table beneath the stars in advance, this is a popular choice for Mauritius' elite. Cost of Meal: Three course - a la carte dinner excluding drinks at MUR 2000 +
2. Le Maison d' Eté
With the blue lagoon beside you, the pristine white sand beneath your feet, flaming red and white parasols above your head and a bright red boat bobbing in the water, this restaurant in the Northeast of the island is an artist's dream subject. With deeply saturated colours surrounding you, your food becomes even more sumptuous. Frequent customers of this restaurant have many flattering stories to tell about its prompt and courteous staff. If you have an affection for cooking, the chef would love to talk you through the cooking process though it would take a seasoned cook to match his preparations. Come on a Sunday, and you can eat all your stomach allows in the special Mauritian Curry Buffet. Treat your taste buds to the delicious octopus and palm heart salad with a passion fruit vinaigrette. Try the wide range of curries with your choice of fish; the local catches are mouth-watering, to say the least.
Where to find: Coastal Road, Poste Lafayette, North Mauritius 00 230 410 5039 When to arrive: Daily lunch 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM; Dinner 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM. Buffet on Sundays. Reservations are necessary. Cost of Meal: Daily lunch - MUR 900+; Sunday Mauritian buffet MUR. 1200
3. Safran Restaurant
If you ever find yourself homesick on the island (really?) or the memory of your beloved Indian food isn't letting you sleep, then hit this stunning Indian restaurant in Trou d'Eau Douce for some authentic age-old Indian recipes. Run by renowned chef Ramesh Bundi, you can opt for a pure vegetarian or Jain cuisine if you want to. Be it samosas, or dosa or kebabs or Hyderabadi biryani; you can find food from all corners of India out here. The flavours are traditionally Indian with a tinge of Mauritian acerbity accented by the fresh locally-sourced ingredients. You can find many international tourists making a beeline for this place owing to its formidable reputation on the island. While you're out there, make sure to sink your teeth in the fabulous Tandoori Salmon, Hyderabadi lamb and the Mangalorean style prawn curry.
Where to find: Shangri-La's Le Touessrok Resort & Spa, Coastal Road, Trou d'Eau Douce - 230 402 7400 When to arrive: 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM, seven days a week. Reserve in advance Cost of Meal: Tandoori Salmon at MUR. 1175, Mangalorean style prawn curry -MUR. 1155
4. Château Mon Désir
Enjoy a soothing, luxurious brunch in a spellbinding colonial mansion overlooking the mighty Citron river and the historical ruins of Balaclava. A restaurant in the upmarket Maritim Resort and Spa, this is one of the most popular excellent dining hubs on the island. Its impressive wine cellar is the envy of many a competitor, while its afternoon tea with a selection of finely crafted pastries, juices and hot beverages transports you to colonial era England. Run by Chef Rakesh Monuruth who has worked in this establishment for more than 20 years, this restaurant has worked up a reputation and legacy which few others possess. Try out his speciality - The Crayfish Ravioli and Lobster Curry for some royal culinary action.
Where to find: Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius, Turtle Bay, Balaclava - 230 204 1000 When to arrive: 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Tuesday to Saturday), and 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Sunday brunch) Cost of Meal: Crayfish Ravioli at MUR. 1390, Indian Ocean Rock Lobster Curry prepared on your table at MUR. 2490
5. Citronella Restaurant & Cafe
Talk of food and Italy is bound to spring up in the conversation. With its authentic Italian Market style interiors and a high-end look and feel to everything you touch and feel, you can't help but marvel at the pizzazz of the Italians. Equally alluring is the lip-smacking food, each bite of which shall evoke new emotions and urge you to exclaim - Mamma mia! With the cheese soft and stretchy, and the veggies crisp and fresh between your teeth, you'll inevitably be left wanting for more. If you are a true pizza-worshipper then grabbing a wood-fired pizza at this outlet is a no-brainer. With its wide range of salads and pasta, your wallet's contents are the only limitations.
Where to find: Sugar Beach Resort, Wolmar, Flic en Flac 230 403 3300 When to arrive: 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM, and 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Closed on Mondays) Cost of Meal: Pasta and Pizzas start at MUR. 650
6. Le Flamboyant
This is for those looking for some French flair with a dash of flamboyance (no pun intended). Treat your taste buds to sumptuous seafood made with the fine locally sourced herbs and spices. The Kenzo Takada tableware, the ocean in front of you, a soaring thatched roof and deep blue water channels makes this restaurant stand out from the others in Bel Ombre. Those arriving after the sun goes down are in for a treat as several light columns light up and are complemented by the sound of the waves lapping the reef. Check out the Ravioles De Marlin Fume, and Dim Sum and thank us later.
Where to find: Sofitel So Mauritius, Royal Road, Beau Champ, Bel Ombre +230 605 5800 When to arrive: 06:30 am to 10:30 pm Cost of Meal: Ravioles De Marlin Fume at MUR 650, Farm Chicken Breast at MUR. 820
7. La Chaumière Masala
This one is comparatively pocket-friendlier while delivering on many of the same great taste experiences that others on this list provide. Open-sided thatched cabanas keep the sun out while letting in the breeze making the atmosphere pleasant and temperate. You can find a variety of options in the thalis and combination platters on offer. Kids might be delighted by the Western dishes available on the menu for them!
Where to find: Ile aux Cerfs, five minutes by boat off Trou d'Eau Douce Bay, East Mauritius 00 230 402 7720 When to arrive: Open daily for lunch from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Cost of Meal: Thalis cost between MUR 375 and MUR 450
8. Chez Tino's
If true to its roots Creole-Mauritian food is what you are after, and you do not want to break the bank, Chez Tino's might be the ideal place for you. Chomp on the most succulent prawns, squids and fish fillets while your eyes feast on the magnificent view of the harbour as you sit atop the terrace. The restaurant is centred around a nautical theme with pictures of boats and ships adorning the walls. The portions are wholesome and appetising. Order the lobster before your arrival and let the chefs work their magic on it. The famous speciality - Mauritian Paella is a must-eat for all the foodies!
Where to find: Royal Road, Trou d'Eau Douce, East Mauritius 00 230 480 2769 When to arrive: Monday to Saturday 8:30 AM - 10:00 PM, Sunday lunch only, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Cost of Meal: A three-course set menu, excluding drinks costs around MUR 700
9. The Plantation Club
Those who are forever on the lookout for the next level of premium dining experiences should head over to this highly rated establishment in Bel Ombre. Few people who visit this place have complaints about it, and most are fans of the prompt service, unique luxurious ambience and premium food with a particular emphasis on presentation. The wines are matched to each course of the meal ensuring that even the most particular wine connoisseurs won't be disappointed. Catch a bite of the pheasant from the mountains of Chamarel or the Crab and rice baked using traditional techniques to get a feel of being one of Mauritius' elite.
Where to find: Allee des Cocotiers, Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort, Bel Ombre, Mauritius 61002 When to arrive: Monday to Saturday 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Sunday 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM Cost of Meal: Cost for a dinner: MUR 1,267 - MUR 2,932
10. Escale Creole
If the island's glitzy facade is a bit too overwhelming, then arrive in Moka to get a taste of Mauritius' native food served in the Creole style. This restaurant believes less in pomp and show and lets its food do the talking. From the moment you enter the restaurant, colourful flowers, and elegant chalkboard messages greet you, welcoming you to the utilitarian wood furnished dining space with vibrant tablecloths and warm overhead lighting. Try out the Rougaille Creole sausage, cang mocked cabbage and salted fish, traditional curry chicken creole, and broth 'zourite and coconut chutney' cooked using decades-old grandma's recipe!
Where to find: Bois Cheri Road, Moka, Mauritius 80804 When to arrive: Monday to Friday from 12:00 PM to 2:45 PM Cost of Meal: Average prices between MUR 615 - MUR 1,050
11. Sunshine Fusion
If you're on a budget, and still don't want to compromise on taste, head over to Sunshine Fusion in Poste Lafayette. With a polite and friendly staff and a cosy barebones restaurant decor, you can feel the warmth in this place. People often say that they enter Sunshine Fusion as strangers and while leaving, leave as if they were old friends of the restaurant staff. Have some fresh seafood such as grilled octopus and fish curry with some samosas and freshly squeezed juice without worrying too much about the bill!
Where to find: Coastal Road, Poste Lafayette, Mauritius When to arrive: All Days, 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Cost of Meal: Average prices MUR 500+
12. At Linda's Place
Run by the lovely Linda, you'll find yourself at home out here in Grand Gaube. Walk down the steps to the restaurant, and you'll be greeted by a statuette of Lord Buddha, overlooking your meal. The entire decor mimics a family dining room with a kitchen next to it. Frequent visitors to the restaurant have developed a special bond with Linda who with her homemade pickles and rum wins hearts easily. People are fans of her butter chicken and parathas served with rice and green chilli sauce, and we are sure, you'll be too, once you visit her. The icing on the cake? Her prices are as down to earth as she is!
Where to find: Route Royale, Calodyne, Grand Gaube, Mauritius 742CU001 When to arrive: All Days, 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Cost of Meal: Average prices MUR 72 - MUR 434
13. Mon Plaisir Restaurant
With an elegant and open-plan restaurant that allows for picturesque views to an in-house swimming pool, the Mon Plaisir Restaurant caters to your cravings by offering a plethora of options in its buffet in addition to the sophisticated live cooking stations. Theme dinners, English breakfasts and continental menu options are sure to quench the culinary thirst within you and is a wholesome experience for your family and you.
Where to find: Wolmar, Sugar Beach Resort, Flic En Flac, Mauritius When to arrive: Continental Buffet: 4:00-7:00 AM English Breakfast Buffet: 7:00-10:30 AM Thematic Dinner Buffets: 19:00- 22:00 PM
14. Dix Neuf Restaurant
Tugged between the rugged mountains and the gleaming blue waters of Mauritius, the Dix Neuf restaurant is a subset of the Tamarina Golf Estate. Located amidst expanses of lush green meadows and picturesque scenery, the Dix Neuf caters up a wide array of dishes, ranging from international and local, emphasis being laid to integration of local flavour with the stimulation of one’s taste buds.
Where to find: Tamarina Golf Club, Tamarin When to arrive: The Dix Neuf restaurant & Bar is open from 7:00 to 20:00 every day for breakfast, lunch and light meals.
15. Stars Restaurant
Having garnered a reputation for serving some of the finest fresh salads using local ingredients that are reflective of the Mauritian culture, the Stars Restaurant provides an unparalleled dining experience. With interactive dining options such as a ‘Mix and Match’ buffet and over 70 dishes that cater to those who want to indulge in a healthy dining experience, the staff at the restaurant are experts in their respective forte and will collectively ensure for a memorable experience. The ‘Pebbles Salad’ along with a glass of any of the finest wines of South Africa as listed in their menu will ensure the perfect dining experience that you could indulge in while in Mauritius. Where to find: Shanti Maurice, A Nira Resort, Rivière des Galets, Chemin Grenier, Chemin Grenier, Mauritius
16. La Plage Beach Club Restaurant
Located on the Trou Aux Biches, which is one of the most expansive and picturesque beaches on the Northern Coast of Mauritius, the ‘La Plage’ is a private beach club. The perfect setting along with additional rejuvenating amenities like a massage kiosk and water sports activities, the beach club is the perfect destination for you while in Mauritius. Where to find: Sofitel So Mauritius, Royal Road, Beau Champ, Bel Ombre, Mauritius
What better way is there than to start off the day with exotic fruit juices and meats available at the beachside a la carte breakfast catered by Republik. Picturesque views of the Trou D’eau Douce in the Indian Ocean provide a perfect backdrop for one to experience Mauritian hospitality at its finest. Dishes like the Tapenade and the Caesar Salad are a must try for visitors. Themed dinners (Saturday- Barbeque) backed by some exquisite music allow for a wholesome Mauritian experience
Where to find: Shangri La Le Touessrok Hotel, Coastal Road, Trou d'eau Douce, Mauritius When to arrive: Breakfast 7 AM - 10.30 AM (Mon-Sun) Lunch 12 PM - 3.30 PM (Mon-Sun) Dinner 6.30 PM - 10.30 PM (Mon-Sun)
Dress Code: Smart casual; however, shorts and open shoes or sandals are permitted. The wearing of swimsuits and walking barefoot in our restaurants and bars is not permitted.
Dinner: Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers, sleeved shirts and closed shoes in Republik Beach Club & Grill, Safran and Kushi restaurants. Shorts and open shoes or sandals are only permitted in Le Bazar.
18. Annabella’s Restaurant
Being the main restaurant in the Telfair Hotel in Bel Ombre, the Annabella Restaurant is a colonial theme inspired decoration with white colours and semi-open terraces that serves not only exquisite cuisine but also an unparalleled experience. In terms of its cuisine, the food served here is well balanced- not too oily nor too bland, it is just the perfect texture for you to experience a palatial delight!
Opening Hours: 06.30 AM – 10.30 AM 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM Dress Code: Smart casual as from 7 PM Where to find: Heritage Villas golf estate, Heritage Le Telfair, Bel Ombre, Mauritius
So there you go! We are confident that you won't be disappointed by any of the restaurants mentioned above, but you'll inevitably be left wanting for more of that delicious finger licking good food. Be adventurous and unafraid to try out new stuff, who knows; you very well might return with a new favourite dish!