Whether you’re exploring a city, going on a wilderness safari or relaxing on the lake shore, Malawi serves up an amazing culinary experience. Most restaurants serve traditional Malawian cuisine, offering delicacies such as chambo (a freshwater fish), vegetables in season and an assortment of meats cooked with traditional herbs and spices. Word has it that Area 18 serves the best street food in Lilongwe. Here, in rustic sheds, visitors will find barbecued fish, chicken and goat being served with traditional side dishes.
Buchanan’s Grill at the Four Seasons Centre in Lilongwe serves mouth-watering steaks and a range of freshly made sandwiches. The restaurant is set in beautiful gardens with lily ponds. Guests can opt to dine indoors or on the terrace.
For a relaxed night out, Don Brioni’s in the centre of town is highly recommended. This recently renovated bistro offers quality Italian cuisine in a charming setting served by friendly hosts.
Another popular spot is Mamma Mia’s in Old Town Mall, renowned for fresh pastas, pizzas, seafood and an impressive wine list. Attentive staff are a key factor in the great atmosphere of this restaurant, a cosy retreat from the city’s bustle.
The Sanctuary Restaurant on the corner of Kenyatta and Youth Drive offers a cool dining experience with its silent fans and exposed brick decor. The serene ambience is enhanced by mature fig trees in which cicadas sing. This tin-roofed lodge offers an outstanding vegetarian menu as well as meatballs, fish, steaks and also breakfasts. In the evening, guests can enjoy perfect privacy with a romantic candlelit dinner.
There are other speciality restaurants in Lilongwe serving Chinese, Mediterranean and Indian cuisine. Blue Ginger located in Pacific Mall in Area 10 serves authentic Indian cuisine in a beautifully designed dining area. Chicken vindaloo, a variety of fi sh curries and an assortment of accompaniments are among the delicious items on offer. Many restaurants with seafood on the menu serve prawns, mostly from Mozambique.
A number of pubs and clubs can be found in Lilongwe, serving popular international beverages and beers. For tourists who like to dance the night away, Legends is recommended.
Blantyre, too, has a good selection of restaurants and watering holes. As Malawi’s commercial hub, the city is home to various restaurants located in upmarket hotels dotted around the city. The Ethiopian cuisine at Alem Ethiopian Restaurant (Victoria Avenue) is second to none, while Bombay Palace (Hanover Avenue) serves popular curries in a great ambience.
Most upmarket hotels, lodges and resorts in Malawi offer a range of fine dining that includes buffets and private dining. Visitors to Lake Malawi will fi nd out-of-the-way restaurants serving freshly caught fish including chambo when in season. It is possible to have a memorable dining experience by the lake on a relatively small budget.
There are, however, also signature tourist lodges across the country that offer classy fine dining experiences.
In both Lilongwe and Blantyre, fast food outlets are located in all the main shopping outlets and malls serving favourites such as chips, burgers, pizzas and fried chicken.