By Juhi Bansal

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Planning a trip to Mauritius

Day by day weeklong itinerary

I’ve been meaning to write this ever since I got back from Mauritius 2 months ago. Mauritian food is a happy mix of Indian, Chinese, French, Creole and British cuisines. It also boasts of a number of expats who’ve moved to the island country to run bistros and eateries. While the must-trys there revolve around sea-food because we are largely vegetarians, we managed to explore a lot of vegetarian fare.

Dholl puris (stuffed dal rotis), farratas (parathas), briani (biryani), gallettes (crepes both savoury and sweet), gatu coco (coconut cakes), rasgulla (it looks and tastes quite like a gulab jamun), bajiyas (pakodas- my favourite was the bread one), achard (veggie pickle- my personal favourite), mine frites (fried noodles), a variety of French desserts and lots of piments (chilli) in everything.  There’s a lot more we tried and loved and I have kind of forgotten their names.

A lot of places on Tripadvisor claim to serve “authentic” Mauritian fare. However, they are far from easy on the pocket. Our suggestion to try local food is at a mix of the following:

Port Louis

Road side vendors across smaller villages

Hyperstores in various malls

Small grocers who keep a lot of the home made stuff.

Vendors on the beach especially in Flic-en-flac and Tamarin

We ate (and drank lots of French wines and locally made rum) like there is no tomorrow in Mauritius. Here are my top picks for an evening out or a leisurely lunch or a quick brekkie before you start your day.

PS: Most of these places are in Grand Baie because that’s where we spent the most time. Also, almost all other villages and areas in Mauritius shut pretty early including restaurants. Grand Baie is practically the only area with a “night life”.

Top 5 places to visit in Grand Baie

Botteghita

Hand rolled and tossed and wood fire oven baked pizzas by pizzaolos from Italy- need I say more? They have some very interesting anti-pastis and pastas on the menu too.

Tip: It’s an extremely small place which on most days doesn’t open for lunch. It may serve you well (and save you from disappointment) to book a table before you go.

Meal for 2: MUR 1500

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Sunset Café

One of the best places to grab a drink (or a coffee) and watch the sun go down. Smack in the middle of the Sunset Boulevard- you should ideally club this with a shopping trip (window or otherwise).

Tip: Whether you have a kid with you or not- you can’t give their sundaes a miss!

Meal for 2: MUR 1000

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Market Café

One of our favourite places. We visited it several times during our stay in Mauritius. Sometimes for lunch and sometimes for an evening snack. I used to love their spread- a happy mix of Mauritian and International cuisines.

Tip: They sell food by weight here. You may want to try very small portions in the first round and then go for seconds depending on what you liked.

Meal for 2: MUR 700-800

 

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Fried Noodles

Le Fournil

We chanced upon this pretty place on our way back from a highly recommended breakfast café which was unfortunately closed for renovations. It’s a small set up- only about 5 tables or so but has a very European vibe to it. Freshly baked breads, wraps and sandwiches make up most of their menu. You may also want to try their cakes and desserts.

Meal for 2: MUR 1000

Tip: Perfect for days when you’re finally done with your hotel buffet breakfast or a coffee break in the evening.

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Zorbas

This was a date night dinner for us. (With the little one in tow ofcourse) so this restaurant is extra special. Right from the charming interiors that transport you to Mykonos and Santorini to the small but curated Greek menu, everything is an experience. We tried a couple of Greek items that we hadn’t tried before- one on those being Briam.

Meal for 2: MUR 1200

Tip: Definitely try the house rum cocktail. Best I’ve had so far!

Ok here are 2 bonus places to try in Mauritius. Not in Grand Baie technically so you may want to try these on your visits around the island.

 

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Rum cocktail!

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Cold Mezze Platter

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Briam

Le Caudan Waterfront

If you’re looking for international fare at affordable pricing, I suggest you head to the Caudan Waterfront at Port Louis for the day. You’ll find a variety of cuisines from Korean to Japanese to Mughlai. There are also small stalls dotting the walkway which sell authentic Mauritian fare like Gallettes, coconut cakes and Dholl Puris.

Meal for 2: MUR 1000

Tip: Carry loose change and cash with you because most of the stalls will not accept cards.

 

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1974, da Antonio e Guilia

This one is another hole in the wall place but the fairy lights and the Italian owner make it extremely charming. The menu was a revelation to whether it was the home made gnocchi or delectable ravioli.

Meal for 2: MUR 1000

Tip: When ordering the drinks, do take the host’s suggestions into account. He suggested a delectable wine pairing for our choice of food order!

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Homemade Gnocchi

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Happy Rajah

This is the only Indian place on my list. While the taste has been localized, it is still one of your best bets in Mauritius for “authentic” Indian food. We loved the lunch thali there. It was quite filling for the price. Also, they play tacky Indian music of the 90s which is quite fun!

Meal for 2: MUR 700

Tip: While almost all places in Mauritius do not serve any water apart from bottled they don’t mind if you carry your own. At Happy Rajah we were made to keep our water inside and compulsorily buy a bottle.

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