The Seychelles Islands are home to some of the most breathtaking scenery and exclusive resorts in the world, many of them secluded five-star getaways. Although there are 115 islands in the Seychelles, most tourists only visit three. Mahé, the Seychelles’ population hub, is famous for its luscious white sand beaches. UNESCO World Heritage Site Praslin is celebrated as the only place in the world where the legendary Coco De Mer palm grows. La Digue is as famous for the wild vanilla vines and delicate orchids that grow along its spectacular coastlines.
The Seychelles remained uninhabited until relatively late in the 18th century when French colonists first began establishing spice plantations on Mahé,, the Seychelles' largest land mass. Indian and Chinese merchants arrived shortly thereafter. Although fish is available in abundance, the Seychelles imports most of its other foods, including rice, its residents’ dietary staple. Seychelles haute cuisine draws strongly on Creole elements leveraged with curries and spicy Oriental flavors. The national dish is a kind of grilled octopus in a sauce of chili, ginger and garlic.
The Seychelles offers one culinary adventure you’re unlikely to find anywhere else on the planet: bat meat! While some chickens are raised on the islands, all beef, pork and lamb are flown in. The big bats called roussettes are local though, and many restaurants serve them although you may have to call ahead of time to order one.
Many of the best restaurants are not on Mahé but on its more exclusive neighbor, Praslin.
In addition to offering some of the tastiest food on Mahé, the Sundown Restaurant, associated with the Sunset Hotel in the beachside town of Port Glaud, offers picture postcard views of the tiny uninhabited isle of Lisette which appears to be floating in the nearby lagoon. The house specialty is barbecued and grilled seafood. Choose from tuna, shark, rabbit fish, mullet and poisson perroquet (parrot fish.) They also serve surprisingly affordable lobster.
The Boathouse Café
The Boathouse Café is just a short walk away from the Seychelles’ most famous beach, Beau Vallon. The restaurant’s buffet table is a Seychelles tradition. While the Creole-inspired dishes aren’t quite up to gourmet standards, they’re tasty enough and you can eat all you want for the equivalent of about €30 pp. In addition to the Creole dishes, there are all the fixings for fresh salads and a couple of curry dishes.
The Pirate Arms
By day the Pirate Arms is exactly the sort of place a tourist can turn to for an inexpensive pick-me-up like a slice of pizza, a sandwich or even a beer. The restaurant serves more elaborate dishes as well, like Thai chicken. After the sun sets, the Pirate Arms metamorphoses into a full service cocktail lounge and nightspot, one of the very few in the Seychelles that can be found outside a resort.
Le Château de Feuilles
Le Château de Feuilles, a thatched-roof outbuilding on the grounds of the luxurious Relais & Chateaux resort, serves vegetables and fruit grown in the hotel’s very own gardens, and fish caught right off its private beach. Specialities du maison include giraffe crab, grilled crayfish in a decadent garlic butter and a nougat tart topped with grilled coconut.
On of the Seychelles’ most renowned restaurants, the chef at Café Oganibar knows how to showcase fresh fish. Dishes like fish fillet baked in banana leaves and grilled prawns with garlic butter are melt-in-your-mouth good. On Thursday nights, the restaurant plays host to an all-you-can-eat Creole buffet while on Saturday nights, the buffet is Chinese.
Every holiday destination has one secret restaurant that only the cognoscenti know about. Coco Rouge is the Seychelles’. The simple setting belies the complexity of the food which approaches fusion, serving dishes like and avocado and smoked fish salad, poisson a la creole and Chinese noodles at a surprisingly affordable price.
Gelateria de Luca
Two things that go together: ice cream and the beach. Gelateria de Luca is the Seychelles’ premiere ice cream emporium, specializing in Italian gelato, with flavors like Fior di latte (Strawberries and Cream) and Olio d’Oliva e Sale (Olive Oil and Sea Salt.) The shop also serves pizza and simple pasta dishes, and whips up smoothies. Gelateria de Luca is not a place to sit down in. You’ll want to take your purchase and stroll along the nearby beach.
Marston, the restaurant’s owner, is a bona fide character and likes to wander from table to table talking to guests every night. You won’t be complaining to him about the food. Chez Marston serves some of the finest food in the Seychelles. If you’re homesick, they even serve pizza and hamburgers! No chips though.