A rambling wood-and-iron mansion with a steep metal roof stands from the Seychelles’ colonial days. Today it’s home to the oldest restaurant in this Indian Ocean island chain.
Marie Antoinette’s serves up Seychellois “creole” food, a fusion of Asian, African, and French flavors. Curry wafts on the island breeze. Lace tablecloths and bird of paradise flowers frame the open-air dining rooms.
Marie Antoinette’s best dishes include sweet and sour tuna steak, tangy mango salad, light eggplant fritters, and grilled red snapper in a yellow curry sauce. Pulpy, tart passionfruit juice is an ideal drink. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the curried fruit bat.
After your meal, don’t miss turtle-watching in the backyard run. Giant Aldabran tortoises are endemic to the Seychelles, and many locals keep them as pets.
Marie Antoinette’s tortoises are survivors. In 2001, after days of heavy rain caused landslides, a one-ton concrete wall fell on them. They were at first assumed dead, but all 11 survived. Their tough shells protected them, although still-visible indentations show how they were nearly crushed.
If it’s lunchtime, look out for Abraham. At 60 years old, this male tortoise still has a big appetite for the ladies. His favorite mating time, the restaurant says, is noon.