.....because you will.
This cafe is on the main drag up to the village centre, and is a popular stop for coach drop-offs and pick-ups. So it charges tourist prices for what is, in effect, a captive audience. A Coke will cost you 4 dinars (2GBP), an espresso 3 (1.5 GBP).
It's clean, it has clean toilets, there are tables inside and out and the staff are pleasant enough. But it's not somewhere I'd go again, other than to use its loos and have a quick espresso as payment.
The terrace is so pleasant, the food is so good you don't want to leave the place! The restaurant is also famous for being visited by celebrities, from lady Chirac to Nelson Mandela. Stakes are a good choice, if you're visiting Tunisia don't miss Sidi Bou Said and don't miss eating in this place.
The Au Bon Vieux Temps was another restaurant where taking a picture of its sign (Obviously an old French Name) was as close as I got to finding out about it. Once again there just was no time to enjoy a meal in this beautiful town. Au Bon Vieux Temps is one of possibly 3 or 4 Sidi Bou Said restaurants of which there is some mention to be found on the web, but certainly has no web address of its own that I could find.
Scant information says this restaurant specializes in fish & other seafood. It is given 3 stars (fourchettes) for its cuisine.
To be honest, other than having a lovely, though in need of repair sign, that is all I know of Au Bon Vieux Temps which I think translates roughly to "The Good Old Times." I would appreciate information from anyone who knows about it or better yet, has eaten there.
Our half-day included a stop at Sidi Bou Said's medina or old town, and ended all too soon with a short walk up one of the main shopping streets. Just where we stopped I saw the sign for Dar Zarrouk. There was a small door cut-out in a large arched double-door all of which lead to a walled courtyard. Menus were displayed in little glassed-in cases in a wall accented by a lovely mosaic and tumbling greenery. I didn't know at the time that this lovely little vignette belonged to one of the best restaurants in Sidi Bou Said.
We had little enough time in Sidi Bou Said as it was, and never would have had enough time to eat here ourselves. A little research revealed Dar Zarrouk had gotten rave reviews for not only the French-Tunisian cuisine but for its superb views of the Bay of Tunis. The decor of minimalist Arab style is quite popular along with dining al fresco in the restaurants verdant inner courtyard.
The Dar Zarrouk is considered the Hotel Dar Said's restaurant, although the hotel is actually located across the road. Should we ever visit Tunisia and Sidi Bou Said on our own at some later time, I am definitely planning to have a meal at the Dar Zarrouk!!
Favorite Dish: you can find some of the restaurant's receipts at benyedderoliveoil.com
Cafe des Nattes is in a good location in the square at the top of the main street in Sidi Bou Said. It's a little bit overpriced and overcrowded but quite a nice place nonetheless. There aren't too many cafes in the town and most people usually end up here or in Cafe Sidi Chabaane.
Our guidebook claimed Sidi Chabaane was the best cafe in Sidi Bou Said, as it was less well-known and less busy than Cafe des Nattes. I think they need to update this advice as it was very crowded when we visited. Like Sidi Bou Said, the cafe has a perfect location, built into the cliffs with a lovely view over the Gulf. And just like Sidi Bou Said, what may have once been a great cafe has suffered by too much tourism. We waited about 15 minutes for our drinks after ordering and when they arrived the mint tea was lukewarm and the coffee tasted very poor.
Cafe des Nattes is the other famous cafe of Sidi Bou Saïd. Located a small stairway up from the main square (Place Sidi Bou Saïd), it allows you to see the comings and goings on the cobbled thoroughfare that is Sidi Bou Saïd's main tourist street.
Inside, amid the Moorish decor, there are old photographs of some of the famous people who have been at the cafe over the years, such as André Gide, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
I must confess we ate nothing while at Cafe Sidi Chabaane. Perhaps it was because still only morning, but the cafe owner let us stay a while to admire the view -- which is the main draw of Cafe Sidi Chabaane anyway -- despite the fact we didn't order anything.
Set on the edge of a cliff, the cafe's terraces are cut into the cliff and provide wonderful views of the Mediterranean Sea as well as Sidi Bou Saïd's marina and beach. While we visited Sidi Bou Saïd in the morning to avoid the crowds of tourists, it is said that watching the sunset from Cafe Sidi Chabaane while sipping a mint tea is a memorable experience.
A small hunger?
A wish to test another tunisian sweet speciality ?
Check for the bombaloni, a kind of beignet fried in oil, appreciated by the whole tunisian family.
300 Dt in november 2005.
This cafe has a nice atmosphere and it is a great place to stop for a coffee or nice relaxing cup of tea.*
Favorite Dish: Mint tea with pinenuts which costs around $2 TD($1.40 US)