The sweet life! New La Dolce Vita restaurant lends a true taste of Italy to the Seychelles capital
Customers can have a drink, an ice cream or a coffee while they relax reading their newspapers. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Discreetly but surely, the phrase 'La Dolce Vita' has begun to spread around the Seychelles capital of Victoria. Just by word of mouth alone, it seems that this might be ‘the’ new place to go in the capital of Seychelles. Local people and tourists can enjoy a piece of Italy and international food, while young and old can savour delicious Italian ice-creams.
SNA met the owners of the new La Dolce Vita restaurant this week – Emerence, aged 36, who is Seychellois and her Italian husband Giuseppe Randisi, 42.
|Beautiful couple: Emerence (nee Geers) and Giuseppe Randisi married in 2012 (Emerence and Giuseppe Randisi) Photo license: All Rights Reserved|
After a year and a half of setting up, La Dolce Vita officially opened its doors on the first of January 2015, offering international cuisine and much healthier options than are usually available from the standard take-away in town.
“When we arrived in Seychelles, we were walking down the streets in Victoria and we noticed that many people were having lunch, just sitting outside with their take-away. It is how the idea came to us – why not offer people a comfortable place to chill and have lunch?” said the couple to SNA.
|The friendly serving staff greet patrons with a smile and offer helpful advice (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
La Dolce Vita is well located just in front of the State House in the historic centre of Victoria, just a stone’s throw away from the tiny silver replica of Big Ben. Once inside the air-conditioned glass-fronted restaurant, the team greets each customer from behind the counter. Once a choice has been made from the wide array of options on the menu, one can sit down at a table and idly watch the hustle and bustle of Victoria at lunchtime go by.
The first section of the restaurant is for people who want to try the delicious Italian gelato ice cream. In the second area, La Dolce Vita offers international food such as fresh sushi, traditional Creole meals, healthy salads and Italian lasagnes.
According to Emerence, the number of Seychellois people who want to eat healthier foods is increasing, saying that many of her female customers in particular want to look after their health and worry about their figures.
“That is what we want to offer. We are very attentive and we listen all the time to the demands of our clients. For example, people ask us if we could cook pizzas, and for that reason, we are planning to do it soon,” said Emerence to SNA.
|Some sweet treats are too tempting to pass up (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“We are glad to welcome clients and also returning customers. For example, people who tried the ice creams, they loved it, so they come back for second serving, third serving, even fourth serving in the same day,” she said.
“We can see our customers enjoying our service and our products. We have had so many compliments, such as people telling us they feel like they are in Europe,” she laughed.
La Dolce Vita opens every day early in the morning to offer English breakfast for 100 Seychelles rupees (around $7) for people who want to enjoy a copious breakfast, as until now there was no place in Victoria to have just cup of coffee just before going to work.
|People can taste a beautiful variety of flavours and can discover new ice creams from one day to another (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
For breakfast one can also choose from a selection of cakes and French croissants, and the couple say they plan to hire a pastry chef and expand their pastries section.
According to the owners, buying local products is also high on their list of priorities, and they support local producers wherever possible. Every morning, Giuseppe goes to the market to buy spices, vegetables and fruits. He also searches for the freshest fish, returning to the restaurant to imagine and create a new recipe for the “Catch of the Day”.
Staying true to Giuseppe’s Italian roots, he offers a little piece of Sicily by buying Italian products such as Lavazza coffee imported a local company in Providence. For the ice creams, they buy imported products from Sicily, making an effort to innovate every day with the combinations of different ice creams.
For the couple, the biggest challenge was to recruit a good team who can work together.
“As we are a restaurant, we want to offer a good quality of service to make our customers satisfied,” Guiseppe said. “It is really important to have people you can count on. And we have the feeling now that we are headed in a good direction.”
Currently, La Dolce Vita has a team of nine, but with the addition of pizzas and pastries, they are likely to recruit new staff in the near future.
|Patrons enjoy a relaxing drink and some good company outside after work ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Emerence and Giuseppe got married in 2012 after living together for three years. Since tying the knot, the couple has been extremely productive, not only by spending the last year and a half creating the warm and friendly atmosphere of their restaurant, but also by making a beautiful baby boy, Matteo, who is now five months old.
It seems the pair are a perfect match, both in love and in business.
“Now we have launched La Dolce Vita, we are thinking of new projects, bigger one. At the same time we would like to have another child. We are very committed and now nobody can stop us,” said Emerence.
La Dolce Vita is open from 7:30 am until 11:00 pm from Monday to Saturday and on Sundays from 10:00 am until 11:00 pm.
|A relaxing space - no matter the time of day, La Dolce Vita is always a welcoming atmosphere to step into (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
|The interior of the restaurant has been carefully thought about and designed. On the wall of the first dining room, a huge painting of the famous “Vallée de Mai” UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Seychelles island of Praslin cannot be missed. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|