Prepare to be amazed. The cuisine on Mozambique Island is unique and carries with it the cultural diversity of the different peoples that passed through this historically rich place. Food here has Indian, Swahili, Portuguese and Arabic influences. From the delicious, subtly spiced ‘lula’ (squid) or shrimp curries to the perfectly baked bread rolls and ‘apas’, we guarantee to tantalise your tastebuds.
Mozambique Island offers a range of restaurants that cater from 5 to 30 USD.
If you are a bit more adventurous, a number of street vendors sell snacks that include bajia (Swahili deep fried snack made from chickpea flour and spices), potato or fish samosas, fried squid, fried whole fish, bread rolls, delicious coconut fried doughnuts, salted and roasted peanuts, kebabs, a marvellous array of local sweets and of course a range of tropical fruits including mango, banana, pineapple, papaya, and passion fruit.
Our dhow tours offer the opportunity to enjoy traditional island food, including Matapa siri-siri (a succulent that grows in the mangroves, cooked into a rich coconut curry with cashew nuts), spiced swahili coffee, barbecue grilled Tuna with accompaniments: preserved lime achar, green mango pickle and piri-piri.
Our personal favourite, opens to a little plaza so you can sit on the footpath or at the tall windows to watch island life go by as the ceiling fans revolve slowly above you. It serves excellent seafood – lobster, tuna, cava-cava, shrimp, squid. Excellent wood fired oven pizzas (some of the best we have tried). And you can start your day with a great breakfast here. We recommend going for the set breakfast – a lovely combo of granola, homemade yoghurt, homemade bread and jams, egg, and espresso coffee. Ancora D’Ouro has a happy and laidback urban/island atmosphere, combining good food and service with host and owner Eva’s warmth and style.
Right at the junction of Stone Town and Makuti Town, Sara’s Place is a street bar with a surprisingly large restaurant out the back in an island-style thatched structure. Go for fish samosas with a cool beer for starters. Mains are a good range of seafood served with chips salad, coconut rice and a really special slow-cooked goat curry. Another tasty local dish is Fish Toccasado (a soup/stew made from the fish head) accompanied by mounds of xima – you may see an eye staring back at you but it’s not compulsory to eat it. Local identity and owner Sara presides (also she was featured in an episode with Anthony Bourdain). It’s popular with locals and tourists alike.
Flor de Rosa
Also known as ‘Bar Flor’ has a beautiful roof terrace; a fantastic vantage point for watching the island go by while sipping the best Caipirinhas in town. It is owned by a Mozambican/Italian couple and consequently does great grilled seafood dishes and also very good homemade pasta dishes. This is an excellent restaurant to choose if you have vegetarians in your group. Our picks are : Grilled whole lobster or Gnocchi with garlic and chili. On the weekends it is a lively hangout for locals and tourists preparing for their night out dancing.
Tucked into a narrow street and looking more like an antique shop than a restaurant, you can sit on the footpath for a pre-dinner drink from the bar. Choose from an interesting and inventive menu with entrees, mains, desserts and a specials board. Try freshly caught sardines with a simple dressing; grilled lula (squid) prepared with chorizo – a great combo if you haven’t tried it before; smoked marlin salad; rissois (there’s those prawn patties again!) But the hands down winner is the divine sesame seed encrusted tuna cooked ‘malpassado’ (rare). Great service from host Jorge and his staff, this place is quite a favourite with local expats.
This restaurant is nestled in a leafy garden by the pool. It is part of a guesthouse in a great old building that is at the heart of the island’s slave trade – it was the central slave market. Rest assured you will eat better than a slave. The menu is mainly seafood served with chips and salad, and there is a chicken dish, but few or no options for vegetarians/vegans. Sit back and enjoy the atmosphere with a satisfying and affordable meal and a cold beer.
The hotels, Villa Sands and Feitoria also have restaurants that are open to the public.
After enjoying a delicious meal, head either to the rooftop on Flor de Rosa and sip on some of the large caipirinhas they serve or go for a couple 2M in front of Sara’s place which usually has a load of people and good music playing (there is also a pool table on the other side of the street). Soak in the atmosphere and once you are ready you can walk to the left hand side of the Island towards Beach Club (just ask – someone will point you there). A couple barracas line the beach and one has a couple tables sitting on the sand, with the occasional people enjoying the dance floor. Dip your feet in the ocean right nearby, feel that buzz coming on and once you are ready to really jive head towards Miraponte the local discoteca.
Miraponte is located at the very tip of the Island, and you can either walk through the “contra costa” seashore or head through the main road. You can also find a motorbike and pay 20 meticais if you want to keep all your energy for dancing.
You can’t miss the entrance – loads of people are in front of it and a bar operates on the street. Pay the entrance fee of a 100 meticais and you have entered this easy-going yet frantic place that animates all of Ilha on weekends. The floor is lined with sand which makes it great to dance and jump around. Things start to get lively around 12 PM so be patient, wait for the place to fill up, and you won’t be disappointed. Best nights are Saturday.
The place is safe, like the rest of the Island and a good place to strike up conversation with fellow party-goers. Unlike a lot of nightclubs around it isn’t only married men and ladies of the night, for that matter you’ll often see the very people who served you dinner showing up at this place! Whether it be the women from Sara’s or the servers from Feitoria. So chill out, sit down and watch the way-to-good dancers, or groove to the dancing beats from Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria until day break. Walk back to your hotel or wizz off on a motorbike and watch the sunset slowly rise over the sea. Bliss.