From fine dining to backyard barbecue joints, Mozambique has some of the most diverse and fantastic dining options on the continent. Many restaurants reflect both the centuries of Portuguese influence as well as native African flavors, and seafood features prominently throughout the country. The wide array of options means that regardless of your budget, there are plenty of places to experience the nation’s cuisine, from humble beach-side shacks to the swankest hotel restaurants. Here are 15 great food experiences in Mozambique.
1. Piri-Piri, Maputo
Named for the country’s most famous spice, this small, no-frills café serves up some of the best food in the nation. Its grilled piri piri chicken (also known as galinha à zambeziana) is made with lime, pepper, garlic, coconut milk, and of course piri piri sauce. The restaurant is also famous for its pregos, or steak rolls, and is constantly buzzing, no matter the time of day.
2. Zambi, Maputo
If you’re looking for a bistro-style option to dine on seafood, look no further than Zambi in Maputo. Known for its butterflied prawns as well as its vocal and friendly owner, Zambi offers quality fish fresh from the ocean. You may pay a bit more here than at other places, but it’s well worth the price.
3. The Docks
At The Docks at Maputo’s Clube Naval you’ll be seated right on the ocean, either inside or outside, depending on your preference. Crowd favorites include the fresh crab, prawns, and seafood rice, with fish so fresh you’ll assume the chefs themselves are plucking it straight from the water.
4. Costa do Sol, Maputo
This establishment has been around for more than 70 years, and with good reason. Located directly across from the beach (so it’s an ideal place to stop after a long day in the sand and surf), Restaurante Costa do Sol is famous for its prawns, as well as upbeat Latin music that plays throughout the day. It has outdoor seating for those who want to continue their sun worshipping, and it’s well known for its laid-back attitude, reasonable prices, and delicious food.
5. Clube Naval, Maputo
At Clube Naval in Maputo, seafood rice and prawn curry are popular choices, but you can also get salads, seafood, steaks, and grilled chicken. The added of appeal of this place is that it’s situated right on the water, alongside bobbing yachts. It’s a prime spot to drink sundowners and watch the twinkling city lights as dusk settles over the Indian Ocean.
6. Manjar dos Deuses, Maputo
Manjar dos Deuses, on Julius Nyerere Street, is a strong contender for Maputo’s best restaurant, with excellent service, a stylish, contemporary feel, and delicious gourmet food with top-quality ingredients. The restaurant’s signature dishes are the beef fillet and prawns grilled on a charcoal barbecue at your outdoor table (called “carvoada”) – giving you the choice of exactly how you’d like your meat or shellfish to be cooked.
7. Fish market, Maputo
For those looking for a little more of a do-it-yourself experience, stop by the fish market and pick out your own slab of just-caught fish. After making your purchase, simply head into one of the nearby restaurant stalls to have it cooked for you (for a relatively low price, as you’ve already paid for the food itself), and pick up some rice, chips or another side dish. It’s guaranteed to be some of the tastiest seafood around!
8. Mundo’s, Maputo
Good food isn’t always about a fine dining experience, and Mundo’s proves that with its pub fare and famous pizza. It’s not necessarily at the forefront of Mozambican cuisine, but incorporates other cultures’ cuisines in a wide menu and delicious fare. It also has several TVs for customers to enjoy local sports matches while they eat.
9. Restaurante Pic-Nic, Beira
Well known as one of Beira’s best restaurants, Restaurante Pic-Nic offers dishes with European flair. Large portions and excellent service (from suited-up waitstaff, no less) are what define the place, as well as the meticulous presentation of its dishes.
10. Restaurante Lucas, Inhaca Island
If you want giant Mozambican shrimp, chargrilled to perfection, huge seafood platters or even cassava leaf stew, head to the popular but pricey Restaurante Lucas. You can wash down your seafood with an ice-cold bottle of Mozambican Laurentina or 2M beer. The Portuguese prego rolls (a Maputo staple) are also pretty good. This is beachside Mozambican chow at its best.
11. MarNaBrassa, Maputo
Another popular choice for seafood, this place is famous for its huge but reasonably priced seafood platters. Be warned that you may not be able to finish it all!
12. Samara, Vilankulo
Situated just off the beach, this place offers Portuguese-style cuisine, and is known for its prawns and other seafood. It’s located in a relatively unassuming yet cozy building, with a warm welcome. Some items may be unavailable from the menu, but that’s the price you pay for fresh seafood!
13. Cafe Dhow, Maputo
The menu is tiny at Cafe Dhow, but offers a refreshingly different selection of Greek and Mediterranean dishes that you don’t get elsewhere in the city. And it’s located in a lovely restored residence filled with some of Maputo’s most beautiful African-inspired décor, accessories and furniture, from artworks, statues, bowls, jewelry, framed photographs, scarves and fabrics to tables.
14. Sagres Shellfish Restaurant, Maputo
Well known for its quality seafood, this restaurant offers clams (ameshwa), prawns and other excellent items. This is one of the good examples of an honest traditional Portuguese restaurant and food.
15. Maresia Restaurant, Maputo
With a location looking out at the sea, the Brazilian chef here turns out wonderful dishes. The wide ranging menu caters to seafood lovers but also includes Brazilian picanha, steaks, paella and prawn curry.
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