FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT
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.
Ilha food 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 bhajia (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, espetadas (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.
RESTAURANTS & CAFES
Our personal favourite (of course!), situated at Ilha Blue opposite the enormous anchors of the Port Captain. You can sit on the comfy couches or at the windows to watch island life go by as the ceiling fans revolve slowly above you. Start your day with a great breakfast here.
Try the Chia pudding made with fresh coconut milk and vanilla bean, served with house-made granola, natural yoghurt, fresh fruit salad and wild honey from Niassa.
Café Azulejo has a happy and laidback urban/island atmosphere, with the best coffee on the island and free wifi.
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. There is also a really special slow-cooked goat curry. Another tasty local dish is Toccasado do Peixe (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.
This restaurant is nestled in a leafy garden by the pool. It is part of a guesthouse in a great old building that was at the heart of the island’s slave trade – it used to be the central slave market. Rest assured you will eat better than a slave.
The menu is mainly seafood served with chips and salad, but there is also chicken and Picanha.
For vegetarians/vegans there is feijao (bean stew) and Matapa siri siri. Excellent wood fired oven pizzas have also been added to the menu. Sit back and enjoy the atmosphere with a satisfying and affordable meal and a cold beer.
Kangaia, a beach bar right on the sand, next to the pontão, is very popular with both locals and party goers from Nampula and Nacala. It is open throughout the week, day and night. On the weekends it goes off right through to the wee hours of the morning. Vicky, originally from Maputo, is the charismatic owner - it's always better when she is there (which is most of the time!) You can dance your socks off, groove to the beats from Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria, or chill out and watch the way-too-good dancers, until day break. Walk back to your hotel or wizz off on a motorbike or stay for sunrise. Many weekends have a particular theme or promotion. Follow on Instagram @kangaia_im to be sure you have the right outfit ready.
Specialist DJs and live music. Entrance is free.
Pé na areia is a beach bar and restaurant at the north end of the island just before the fortress. It has a lovely elevated position on Ilha's best white sandy beach - Nankharamu Beach. Recently renovated, it sports a very cute floor covered in shells. The fresh seafood and grilled chicken is well prepared. Eat and drink in the open air restaurant or settle in with deckchairs and beach umbrellas provided on the beach. They have DJs on the weekends and also show the big football games. Sundays are super popular with families from Nampula.