A cut above the rest of Maputo’s restaurants, Zambi is the most popular fine-dining restaurant in the city at the moment, and it’s easy to see why. Set a few metres from the beach and shaded by palm trees, the restaurant has an outdoor terrace with lovely sea views over Maputo Bay, a large indoor section of stylish minimalist décor and ambient lighting, efficient service provided by legions of fast-moving, friendly waiters and consistently good food.
While the menu offers a few meat options, the fish and seafood are what Zambi excels at. Forget your standard piri piri prawns, instead choose from a huge selection of excellent dishes such as langoustine sashimi, light and crispy crab samosas (deep-fried pastry pockets served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce), seared tuna steak or the ever-popular grilled prawns. Locals proclaim the garlic bread to be the best in the city – don’t forget to order a soft, buttery loaf for the table before your starters.
Most of the city’s restaurants, even the gourmet ones, have disappointingly small and uninteresting dessert selections. Zambi’s smorgasbord of 14 options puts them to shame, from the delectable tart made with local cashew nuts served with vanilla ice cream and a warm phyllo pastry “spring roll” stuffed with cashews, honey and cinnamon and moist chocolate cake with Amarula (a sweet, creamy African liqueuer) ice cream to strawberry profiteroles with chocolate sauce.
Zambi is fairly pricey even by Maputo standards (a three-course meal with one drink is likely to set you back around US$50) but if you’re after great food in a sophisticated setting, it’s worth it. Book ahead as it’s full most nights.