Reunion Island is an example in diversity when it concerns the island as a whole, with a great variety in ethnicity, culture and race. People came to Reunion Island over the years through different means and for different purposes. Through time, they have created a united country with its own identity. It’s a place just waiting to be explored and when you are holidaying there, take the time to admire its beautiful wonders of nature as well as its marvellous cuisine. Reunion Island has such a diverse cuisine that you are bound to be astounded, exploration is an absolute must!
Les Letchis restaurant is in Saint Benoit, owned by a family who make it a must to serve customers with a smile so that they leave satisfied with the service provided to them. The owner is personally involved in the day to day running of the restaurant and often drops by to make sure that the restaurant’s diner are enjoying their meal or require something else. This adds a nice personal touch to the service and is bound to endear to certain visitors. The restaurant specialises in a more rustic style creole cuisine, providing a varied menu of Reunion’s classics and favourites. This is a good first stop for the curious tourist. The view is sublime as well as Les Letchis restaurant is just by the river and you can even see people kayaking at times. Provision has been made for customers who want to sit by and enjoy the view with confortable lounge chairs overseeing the river.
The restaurant’s special menu includes palm tree heart pickles with fish. The Mascarenes Islands often pickle seafood but adding the palm is a unique Reunionais touch. For less food shy people, it has bizarre plates such as eel curry. Imagine that- eel cooked in curry served with a salad with rice or bread as you wish it. It’s definitely not to be missed if you want a more complete tour of Reunion Island including its fine (and maybe more shocking for tame eaters) cuisine of its own. If you are going to Les Letchis, just prepare yourself to eat the best of creole cuisine’s offering. Everything from the classic rougaille to a Bouillon de coquilles is to be tasted with utmost pleasure!
This restaurant is located, of all places, you won’t guess it- in the Cilaos! The great caldera is a great source of attraction for tourists and reunionnais alike, they stand tall and shelter so many unique species of flora and fauna, many endemic to Reunion Island, the little town and commune also known as Cilaos is located right in the middle. L’intant Plaisirs restaurant hence affords a great view to its visitors whether they are around for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The name Cilaos is of Malagassy origin, meaning “the place one never leaves” and quite honestly, there is something about its atmosphere that simply makes you want to stay. The little restaurant enamours its customers with its impressive view and allows taking your meals outside all while enjoying a light fresh breeze with your food, making the items on your plate doubly more tasty and intriguing.
A French restaurant by name, this restaurant of the humble island seems to mark all of its customers with its galettes. What’s always on the menu is pancakes. Not the british style pancakes but thin, soft and buttery pancakes. They are usually plain and eaten with some jam or chocolate but L’instant Plaisirs offers a wide array of choices to its customers given how this ended up being its speciality. Keep in mind though that this restaurant in question is usually open only on week ends and it’s not only tourists who are fan of the restaurant but locals drop by for a nice lunch as well. So if you feel like this is your place to be on a fine Saturday or Sunday, do not get stuck in the traffic!
Le Manta Restaurant, don’t go by the weird name, tourists! is a beach side little wonder. Located in St Gilles, very near Hotel St Gilles Reunion, it is very accessible for a meal during your day out. It is a very calm restaurant, quite appropriate for a date with a certain romantism in the air but also alright for a family outing or a meal en solo. St Gilles is a busy place and very many hotels in Reunion Island are found there. It is the touristy part of Reunion Island as some may say. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversation with either a fellow diner or the staff members so long as they are free for a chat. The restaurant aims at providing service with excellence and the menus definitely supports that. Le Manta is actually a seafood restaurant. Hardly a surprise given its location right next to the beach so that you can admire some white sand beaches during your meal but it also has meat on the menu.
If seafood is not your cup of tea, you can still hang around and expect to be surprised by La manta. Its menu is kind of the unexpected style. From a rather normal tuna tartarre to fish lasagne, the menu is diverse in nature but seeks to center mostly around the theme of seafood. But if you are a fan of kangaroo, you have come to the right place as well. Nope, that is not a typo, the restaurant also specialises in tender kangaroo flesh, when better to broaden your horizons than when in a restaurant serving kangaroo flesh as if it was the most normal dish on earth? We encourage to to try not to flinch back and instead actually enjoy the dish in good humour and with an open mind. You might find yourself a new favourite dish! It can’t always be bacon and eggs for breakfast after all! Variety is very important for a saner life.
Le QG restaurant is one which prides itself on its diversity, mirroring Reunion Island itself. The Chef Andre is accompanied by Abdou, the waiter who hails all the way from Senegal. It is ranked as the Number 1 restaurant in Plaine des Caffres on Trip Advisor. A quaint little building with yellow and white plain paint, nothing fancy on the outside to be quite honest but still this restaurant manages to demarcate itself with the good food. As an international style restaurant, the menu can be either eccentric or your normal everyday fare depending on where you are from. The restaurant is technically open for breakfast as from 07.00 but try making a reservation if you plan on arriving that early- after all, it’s a tiny place on a tiny island. It doesn’t actually open up that early on regular days. So if you just drive by on a fine Sunday morning, prepare yourself for a long wait if you haven’t bothered making a reservation in advance. Reservations are also necessary for other meals as well. Remember how it’s the number 1 restaurant in Plaine des Caffres? Yes, many people want to eat there. Sure, you may get lucky on a slow night or day but better be on the safe side and ensure that you will not return to your hotel hungry.
If you feel like a steak, then Chef Andre will make you a mouth watering steak. If you feel like a plain rougaille saucice reunnionais style, he’ll be equally happy to serve you that instead. The restaurant implements local flavours in fine cuisine and classic creole dishes all while maintaining a great standard to astound customers and make them want to come back again and again. They have their menu in several languages such as English and German, so worry not, non-French speakers! Chef Andre and his little army got you covered!
La Perle du Lac
This is where you go when you haven’t eaten all day and are ready to eat a horse. Well, they don’t have horse on the menu but I think I got the point across indeed! La perle du lac is a buffet style restaurant, where you can choose either the buffet menu or the menu a la carte. Depending on your preferences, both offer great value for money and good food. With a warm welcome and smiling staff, your time at La Per le du Lac restaurant is bound to go smoothly. The place is clean with warm tones, giving a very homey atmosphere to customers who can relish their food in such a great atmosphere. A buffet at 20 euros per head is a bargain in Reunion island and with the level of service provided, you might as well wallow in regret if you miss it. The buffet menu, which is La perle du lac’s speciality includes entree, salads, main dishes and dessert. The menu is of course ever evolving to accommodate diners without boring them but client favourites always make a reappearance as well as special salads of the house and succulent dessert items.
Certain things will surprise you as is the habit of most reunionnais restaurants with some outlandish menu item and for la perle du lac, it is the lentils cake. What most people would restrain to being a soup, they went and made cake out of it. Once you taste it though, you will most definitely keep wanting more! Other items on the menu are no less intriguing and await for visit during your holidays in Reunion Island. You can’t help but like the restaurant with its great location and welcoming atmosphere, it begs for an encore once you have been there. It is hard to find fault about La perle du lac, it is also very easily accessible even for those unused to the roads of Reunion island.
Another weirdly named restaurant in Reunion Island, you should learn to expect no less with its wonderful mix of cultures! It is not French, don’t worry, your French is likely not that rusty yet. It is a creole word of unsure origins but in most contexts, it means a cooking utensil. One of the most important ones apart from the wok in Chinese cuisine. It is a rather common word in creole actually, be it Mauritian, Rodriguais or Reunnionais creole. Just another word from the average person’s daily lingo in a tropical island. However, what’s most interesting about Le Kedai restaurant is not the linguistic mystery of its name but rather, wait for it… it’s a Chinese restaurant. On the east coast no less! It makes for a good break from all the formal cuisine you have been indulging in most likely since your plane landed in Reunion Island. Serving generous portions of Chinese and creole cuisine, Le Kedai restaurant is a plain but efficient eatery.
The main objective is to get you fed with the least fuss aiming at maximum satisfaction. Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn’t have a trip advisor page but you should find it without much difficulty. It is one the the few restaurants open in the evenings on the east coast- a rarity in over there as the usual visitors will attest to. On its usual menu, you will have sandwiches and classic Chinese dishes such as noodles and rice items with pork, shrimp or chicken. Whatever floats your boat, you are likely to find it there to sate that little special hunger for a chow mein. Do tell them how spicy or not spicy you want your food when ordering! You can also take your food as take away and find a nice spot in nature to enjoy it either by yourself or with a companion or two.
Le Massale is where you will taste the authentic flavours of India. Sweet or savoury, this little café wants to make you fall under its spell. Oriental smells of very very many spices such as but not limited to cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and so forth permeate the place and you cannot help but want to taste each and every one of the delights on display. It is a rather quaint place with nondescript green and white paint with the name simply written high up. The interior resembles more a little snack bar with the prices stuck on the inside of the display cases. The menu is composed mostly of single cakes, similar to amuses bouches but believe me, one can lunch on a few dozen of these happily. Cakes such as samousas and pates are the more usual fare. And pate is not the meat pate that comes in a can and is spread on crackers but rather a delicious little savoury cake made with pate feuillete and folded like a cute rectangular envelop filled with delicious things such as cheese/corn/onions or chicken curry. Depending on what’s available for the day, feel free to broaden your horizons and give the cute little indian patisserie a go. You might end up loving their spiciness. These savoury cakes are served with a chutney or chilli paste which can be tangy with a lemony flavor or sweet and fruity if tomato base. There are even green chutneys for those who relish a less sugary experience sometimes!
Otherwise, if you have more of a sweet tooth, the restaurant can accommodate that as well. With gato banane or as it’s called at the restaurant- galette de banane, you will be a very happy person. This one is a simply batter of mashed overripe bananas, flour, sugar and some spices such as anis seed (the little ones) with all of that fried until dark brown. It is crispy on the outside and the inside melts in your mouth. If you are looking for a snack, you will like the kebab sticks which are heavily spiced with a more middle eastern touch- not to be missed!