Roots Café: An Italian find in Mauritius
One of the best ways to experience a new country is by exploring the local food scene, and we’ve written many times about where to find authentic Mauritian dishes during your travels. But the communities of Mauritius come from far and wide, and when your palate demands something different you’ll find the rest of the world’s major cuisines represented here too.
Roots Café in Pointe aux Cannoniers is a case in point. This small Italian restaurant occupies an unassuming site along Royal Road, and hides a beautiful Mediterranean-style courtyard behind its lime green façade. Locals, ex-pats and tourists gather here for espresso-fuelled breakfasts and long drawn-out lunches, lured by the tranquil, plant-filled setting and the imaginative menu of owner Enrico Tarantino.
High quality experience
Enrico is an Italian who spent most of his life in South Africa before moving to Mauritius 15 years ago. After running his own successful travel agencies for many years, he eventually decided to sell them so he could open Roots. “I wanted to do something different,” he says. “I love cooking and I love sharing an appreciation for good food with other people.” And indeed, it is the quality of this Italian restaurant that keeps people coming in droves: mozzarella, burrata, mushrooms, pancetta and other essential Italian ingredients are imported from the mother country and used in both the standard menu and the daily specials, which could be anything from a richly savoury seafood risotto to a traditional lasagne.
The private al fresco sanctuary certainly inspires lingering. The shady courtyard offers a retreat-like vibe and feels like something of an insider’s secret. Open for breakfast and lunch only, the atmosphere is unhurried and casual, which is exactly the way Enrico likes it. “Being open just for breakfast and lunch allows me to have a good life,” he says. “And that lack of pressure means I can both cook and interact with people too. I love spending time with the regular customers and getting to know them.”
Lighter bites include various pasta dishes, salads, antipasto and panini, or just pop in for a slice of cake or an ice-cream accompanied by a cup of exceptional coffee. Now open for four years, this popular spot is thriving, so next time you’re craving la dolce vita, remember to drop by.
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For tailor-made itineraries on the ground in Mauritius see SOLIS INDIAN OCEAN.
Photo: Roots Café, Italian ingredients