Lunch in a car dealership? The delights of life in Tunisia’s capital

The F Caffe in Tunis is a zippy name for a 40-cover restaurant in the Fiat car dealership. It’s in the tony surrounds of Lac 1, near the American and British embassies. Other hip eating places abound nearby but F Caffe rather holds its own.

For starters, it’s unusual. It’s not every day you go to a car dealership and gaze out at Fiat 500s and Jeep Renegades as you stuff your face with perfectly al dente pasta.

Then, there’s the pasta.

I ordered strozzapreti, a hand-rolled, twisted pasta that’s supposed to be shaped like a hangman’s knot and was apparently created to send priests to meet their maker! The corkscrew-shaped penne are said to date from the 1600s, a vicious period it seems because the women cursed gluttonous clergymen of central Italy. The sinister mythology does not in any way cast a cloud over the strozzapretti at F Caffe.

It was a sumptuous repast, full of many good flavours — cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, shards of parmesan, all deliciously cleaving to the olive oil pooling at the bottom.

We also ordered a Ceasar Salad, which may have had a little too much dressing but was perfectly nice in most other respects.

The point about the F Caffe is that it’s whacky and memorable. And it offers an excellent meal.

Next time, we’ll leave room for Tiramisu and Cheesecake too.

Originally published at on July 14, 2017.