Auroville has several restaurants and cafés which
vary in style, price and quality. Here's a quick guide for the uninitiated:
The Solar Kitchen is by far Auroville's most popular
lunchtime eatery, preparing good, simple food to over 1000 lunches, of which 540 go to the schools, 200 go out by tiffins and 260 to 300 are consumed in the Dining Hall.
Café "La Terrace"
Formerly called Solar Café, "La Terrace" sits directly above the Solar Kitchen and offers relatively expensive
and luxurious meals including fresh juices, ice cream and crèpes. It
costs nothing to just sit at one of the Café's rooftop marble and steel tables
and enjoy the setting, which is fabulous.
"La Terrace" occupies only a fraction
of the vast Solar Kitchen roof, under an elegant copper-colored metal and wood
sunshade. During the lunchtime period, visitors will find the café bustling
and chairs scarce. Most make do sitting in pools of shadow cast over
built-in seating blocks, or on the wide low wall running around the
edge of the roof's tiled surface.
Aurelec Cafeteria & Gallery
The Aurelec Cafeteria, which began life as a company canteen for staff working on the premises, has been developed over the past few years by its manager, Franz, to become a popular, reasonably priced eatery for Aurovilians and guests/visitors as well as staff working on site.
It provides breakfast, lunch and take-away tiffin meals every day, including festival days and national holidays, with the opportunity to eat either indoors or on a terrace overlooking a peaceful garden area.
Meanwhile, in addition to the good variety of Indian and Western food available, the Cafeteria also doubles up as an art gallery, with a continuous series of exhibitions featuring both Aurovilian and outside artists.
Last but not least, Franz also puts on occasional video evenings,
featuring exceptional films, with food also available; makes the premises available for hire for special functions; and does catering for outside events.
Visitor's Centre Cafeteria
Designed to interface with Auroville's increasing
stream of visitors, the Information or Visitor's Centre offers in addition
to an information service a shop, gallery, amphitheatre and café. The
café, also on the pricey side, sells good traditional tea and coffee
alongside croissants, cakes, as well as samosas and other traditional
Indian meals, including the steamed rice cake, idli, but also western dishes, and a daily changing "Health Plate".
A good place to
meet outside Auroville proper, the VC Cafeteria is mostly peopled with
package tourists from nearby towns. For this reason, the Centre is best
avoided on weekends when it sees the bulk of its visitors.
New Creation Corner
Despite being an outdoor restaurant situated on
a busy government tar road, New Creation Corner café manages a very
pleasant eating atmosphere, serving mostly good western food, now specialized in Italian pizza, with an outdoor wood hoven. The
table service is friendly and quick and prices reasonable. Many
Aurovilians rely upon NCC for dinner, and evenings usually see it filled
to capacity with community locals.
Auroville's answer to an 'expensive restaurant',
Roma's offers table service and a range of North Indian cuisine. Run
out of a large verandah'ed building set away from the road, Roma's landscaped
grassy surrounds lend it an atmosphere of sophistication. The best tables
are found outdoors, close to the grass, where giant low terracotta lampshades
cast a warm subdued light. Diners should allow themselves ample time
for the often busy staff to take orders and prepare meals.
Pour Tous Café
Once the bustling hub of Auroville café life, the
Pour Tous café occupied a quieter role after the Solar Kitchen and Coffee
Shop opened. Today, it serves the steady flow of Aurovilians who come
to Auroville's little supermarket, Pour Tous (For All), to get their
food and other essentials. In a concreted clearing in a giant bamboo
grove, the PT Café serves good tea, coffee and South and North Indian
traditional meals, including idli, dosa and chapathi at old-fashioned
prices. With good cheap food and a warm mellow vibe, the Pour Tous café
perfectly caters to the slightly harried shopper or visitor.
City Centre Café "Le Morgan"
Situated between the Town Hall Annex and the MultiMedia Centre, with a beautiful view on the Matrimandir, this cafe-restaurant opened in December 2005 and is the latest addition to "eating out" places in Auroville.
Specialized in "French cuisine", it offers a varied choice of non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes, cakes, a few salads.
It also offers dinners in some days, and it is closed on Sundays.
Cash transactions are not accepted, and it is a no-smoking area.