A Wonderful Culinary Experience in Tabarka-Tunisia!


Tabarka is a fisherman’s village, about 18 km from the border with Algeria, therefore it’s a port of entry and a 100nm sail from the south of Sardinia.
The port dates back to Roman times. It was and still is famous for its’ coral trade.

We arrived with ‘Bluewaft’ by night at around 10pm and had to do a very focussed watch, zigzagging through the fishing nets. These are indicated with white buoys. We were nervous getting caught in one, but fortunately the nets sit very deep. The only advice is, don’t go to close to the buoys themselves as you can get caught in the lines that attach them to the nets.

We were about 10 nm off-shore when a friendly French voice called us on the radio. The harbour master gave us a very warm welcome and directions to approach the marina. It was easy, ‘just stay left of the light house’.

The marina is open all day and night. Customs and immigration also work around the clock. By midnight we had checked in and our boat had cleared customs, including a quick inspection on board. It is handy to have an inventory of liquor and wine ready.

We were docked right in front of the captainry, which gave us a good feeling of security. Theft is no issue. The local people are very helpful and sincerely happy to see you. A smile brings you far.

My first research when I arrive on a new location is where to find fresh bread, fresh produce, what is the local specialty and what’s the best restaurant.

There is a Proxy Supermarket (part of Auchan chain) only short walk from the marina. It’s a small supermarket with a good selection in fresh meat, fresh fish and fresh bread. You will find most of the European brands food and non-food wise. I was excited to find 10 grams of saffron flowers for only 70 eurocent!

You will also find many food stalls in the streets with fruit and vegetables, fish, olives and some dried fruits. There is also a good street food culture; they grill the catch of the day on charcoal barbeques.

Tunisia has great terracotta and absolutely stunning stoneware. In a simple souvenir shop, I found a big selection of terracotta dishes, fully handmade and hand painted. For only 40 euro, I bought a big tagine, a huge fruit bowl and 2 small aperitif bowls.

We also bought a small handmade carpet in natural colours for the boat.
There are many shops that sell red coral and turquoise jewellery.

Where to eat out?
Next to the capitainry is a seafood restaurant named ‘Touta’, with very attentive service and good atmosphere. It is best to ask what’s fresh. Their specialty is Lobster (Langouste), if available, but quite expensive at 50 Euro/kilo. Alternatively, you can get lobster from the fishing boats themselves for about half that price.

Very well priced and delicious is the local fish ‘Rouget’ and ‘Dorade’.
As an entrée we had very flavoursome local prawns and squid. The other specialty of the house is ‘couscous’ with lamb. This needs to be ordered 24 hours in advance, a ‘must try’.

We also tried the local Tunisian Chardonnay that was quite good.

A whole dinner for 2 people with a bottle of local wine was under 50 euro.

There is an old fort, on the peninsula, on which the lighthouse is build, dating from 16th century and built on Roman ruins. Definitely worth the walk up, a nice surprise might wait you there! (I was sworn to secrecy)

The marina fees are low. The place is very interesting to use as a base if you want to do a bit of a tour through Tunisia.

There is a one off tax to pay per year based on the length of your boat (about $1 per foot), but apart from that we paid 15 euro/day for a 56ft catamaran!

It was a lovely experience and we would highly recommend it to other yachties. Give these people some business, they deserve it!

© Magali Schockaert and Gourmetonboard.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Magali Schockaert and Gourmetonboard.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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