Although international food is served in Tunisian restaurants and hotels, most tourists are lured into enjoying the fresh and wholesome local cuisine.

Fresh fish is very popular. These include bream, grouper, red mullet and sea bass. Prawns, lobster and squid are also popular. Tuna is often sprinkled on dishes while eggs are a staple ingredient of many dishes.

In all but the cheapest restaurants, customers will be welcomed with a complimentary bowl of olives and fresh bread – accompanied by a small saucer of harissa, a warm chilli dip.

The most popular starter is brik, a unique Tunisian dish, which consists of a lightly cooked egg wrapped in an envelope of filo pastry. Locally it is eaten by hand.

The favoured main course is couscous – Tunisia’s national dish – which is a tasty stew made with chicken, lamb, fish or vegetables – served on a bed of steamed semolina grains.

Tunisian desserts are often very sweet and include baklava, a honey-soaked pastry with a nut filling; and kab el ghazal, a horn-shaped pastry filled with almonds.


Tunisia is a Muslim country, but alcohol is freely available in tourist areas, in hotels, restaurants and the beach resorts.

Apart from a tasty light local lager, Celtia, Tunisia also offers a good selection of local red and white wines produced by local wineries.

Tunisia’s best-known spirits are Thibarine, an aromatic date liqueur and boukha, a fig brandy.

Coffee and mint tea are both popular and available everywhere.


Tap water is safe to drink in major cities and hotels, but in rural areas it is advisable to boil drinking water or drink bottled water. Avoid ice cubes if you do not know the source of the water.