Now that Zimbabwe is back on the tourist map, it’s time to catch up on the best places to grab a meal. From Harare to Victoria Falls with a stop in Bulawayo between, here are 10 great places to eat in Zimbabwe.
Pistachio: Located in the Sam Levy Shopping Village in the posh Harare suburb of Borrowdale, Pistachio has a Cordon Bleu-trained chef and is fast gaining a reputation on the Harare food circuit. It is usually packed. The best meal is Sunday brunch.
Butcher’s Kitchen: Also in the Sam Levy Shopping Village, the popular Butcher’s Kitchen is part market, part bistro café. The menu is a mix of meat — you choose your cut from the deli counter, then tell your server how you’d like it prepared and it’s delivered to your table.
Miller’s Café: For sheer diversity it is hard to beat Millers Café, the final entry on this list in Borrowdale’s Sam Levy Shopping Village. The menu offers page after page of everything from Middle Eastern and American to Mediterranean and African cuisine. There’s a variety of pasta, salads, burgers, pizzas plus an eclectic assortment of entrees such as chicken shwarma sandwiches and Kariba bream fish. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.
Amanzi: A very classy restaurant on Enterprise Road, Amanzi garners rave reviews from locals and visitors alike. It is acclaimed for its delectable international fare and absolutely beautiful decor — the gardens are beyond romantic. The food is equally excellent, an eclectic fusion of Asian and African tastes that explode with flavor and individuality. Dishes included char-grilled kudu wrapped in pancetta, and groundnut chicken stew.
Emmanuel’s: If you’re in Harare for business and need a restaurant to wow clients, try Emmanuel’s inside the Bronte Hotel. The property is on lovely manicured grounds just a short walk east of the central business district in the Avenues neighborhood. The upscale Emmanuel’s vibe is casual posh. The menu is long for such a fine-dining establishment, and the restaurant prides itself on using fresh, local and wild ingredients.
The Roof: In Chisipite, Harare’s other exclusive “hood,” Tin Roof is a very popular restaurant-cum-bar combination with a mix of indoor and outdoor seating. It attracts a wealthy, hip, and young mixed-race crowd of mostly 20- and 30-something professionals who come to mingle, eat, drink, and when the hour gets late enough, dance. Food is ordered at the counter and most people pick the platters, which are priced for sharing at US$6 per person. Platters include BBQ ribs (their signature dish) plus calamari, chicken skewers and samosas. The suburb of Chisipite is located about 10 minutes east of the CBD.
Boma: A night at Boma, at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge grounds (about a mile from town) is a special experience. While the $44-per-person cost initially seems steep, this is more than just an all-you-can-eat buffet. It features a line-up of traditional Zimbabwean fare plus cooked-to-order game meat such as eland and warthog. It is also an interactive cultural experience that includes lessons in dance and drumming, roving traditional fortune tellers and serenading singers. The Boma hosts three nightly seatings, but guests are never rushed out – come for the first seating and stay through the last. No one will object. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the price, but can be purchased.
MaKuwa-Kuwa: Located on the second floor of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, the upscale MaKuwa-Kuwa (MKK) Restaurant is a romantic dinner spot. Call ahead and reserve a table that fronts the water hole, which is lit up at night and attracts a variety of thirsty animals. Regardless of where you are seated the white linen tablecloths, candles and knowledgeable and attentive servers make dining here an alluring experience heightened by excellent food. An international menu with Zimbabwean influences – game meat and local fish – offers food bursting with flavor and freshness.
Governor’s Restaurant: This restaurant is located inside the Bulawayo Club, whose imposing white building is one of the most beautiful structures in the city. Formerly a gentleman’s club (women were only allowed into the bar here about a year ago), today it is a boutique hotel run by the upscale Amalinda Collection. The food is high-end British pub fare and gets mixed reviews — it’s been described as a bit bland. Stick with the basics (the fish and chips are excellent) and you’ll do fine.
Nando’s: Downtown Bulawayo is sorely lacking in restaurant choices. However, if you don’t mind dining at a chain establishment, there’s the old standby Nando’s. It started as a South African chain more than 20 years ago and has since spread across the planet (you can even eat their famous flame-grilled Portuguese-style chicken in Washington, D.C.) Nando’s is super-popular in Zimbabwe, and the menu is pretty much limited to chicken, which can be ordered a variety of ways and marinated with different sauces including the traditional peri-peri (spicy) or a mild lemon herb. Sides include Portuguese spicy rice and fries. Alcohol is not served in any of the locations.