The guidebook mentions several coffee houses and restaurants around Male - we managed to find only one - the Ocean Cafe. It looked nice and welcoming but...
Favorite Dish: it was Ramadan - thus it stayed closed. We just read the menu - appealing - but we couldn't sample it. Bummer.
There are many coffee houses in Maldives. One of them is Your Coffee House which is very popular among elites. Prices are a bit high but their coffee is really good. You may also try desserts with coffee.
Favorite Dish: Try their Cappuccino!!
Down Town Cafe is located in a narrow street inside commercial area. I do not exactly remember the name of the road. But it offers the best food in town in my opinion.
Their menu is huge. Local, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Continental, Italian, Mexican and other international cusine is available. Food is really good, staff is efficient & friendly. When they came to know that I am from Pakistan so i used to get a special treatment. As i have already mentioned that Maldivians greatly respect Pakistani people.
You may come here for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts or short eats. Many young people and business men come to Down Town cafe to enjoy their delicious food.
Favorite Dish: Try their Banana shake . It costs 15 Ruffiya (Appox $1) but taste is really good. The best was fresh pineapple just in 12 Ruffiya ( $ 1). Their Nasi Gorang costing 30 Ruffiya ( $ 2.5) was the best ever i had in Maldives. Chinese fried chicken noodles costing 20 Ruffiya ( $ 1.5 appox) were also delicious.
Maldives is blessed with delicious bananas, pine apple and papaya. So you must try these fruits in any form.
Hot Pot cafe is located near Maale beach. It serves snacks, tea as well as local dishes. Many people like to sit near beach and enjoy delicious food of Hot Pot.
Favorite Dish: They have got decent menu with reasonable and delicious food. I tried "short eats" ( local snacks) with evening tea over there and they were very delicious.
World's premium ice cream Movenpick of Switzerland is also available in Maale island.
Movenpick in Maale offers swiss premium ice creams, specialty coffee and desserts. Ice cream is a bit expensive costing around 25 Ruffiya ( $2 appox) per scoop.
Favorite Dish: Try any flavor that you like. There is wide range of flavors available.
Nasi Goreng is traditional Indonesian / Malaysian dish which is very popular in Maldives. It is very delicious and mouth watering cusine made of chicken, beef, soya sauce & rice blended with local sauces and herbs. Fried egg and special sauce made of oil and red chillies is also served with this dish.
Rice would be of dark brown color and on first sight you may not like this dish. But let me assure you once you had one spoon ful of Nasi Goreng then you would simply never stop!
Favorite Dish: Nasi Goreng was my favorite food dish in Maldives. Its cost was 35 Maldivian Ruffiya ( $ 3 appox ) at Down town cafe.
It was great pleasure to try delicious Thai food at Thai Wok restaurant. They really prepare authentic Thai dishes. Interior is impressive with a small artificial water fall and plants on main enterance while the restaurant is upstairs.
Favorite Dish: I have tried their fried chicken rapped in pandanus leaves with Thai sauce, which was very delicious. Prices are a bit high but food is really good. This restaurant is operated by Sri lankan guy married with a Thai girl. But they are running it very well and many tourists like to visit their restaurant.
Red Cap fast food is located on second floor of Hotel Relax Inn. Its famous place for fast food among maldivian teen agers. Their staff is friendly but not efficient and food is just okay.
They are offering burgers, pizzas, drum sticks,steaks, breakfast, short eats, desserts, milk shakes and ice creams.
Favorite Dish: I tried their chicken burger deal which was just okay. However chocolate balls were really delicious. Chicken burger meal cost me 18 ruffiya ($ 1.5) and chocolate ball was 2 ruffiya each.
Shell Beans is located near Maale' beach. Its expensive Italian coffee house serving wide variety of coffee and desserts. Its interior is very impressive and give you feeling if you are sitting in some European coffee house. Their coffee and desserts are really good although but a bit expensive.
Favorite Dish: My favorite was their Cappuccino with fresh n delicious chocolate cake. One cup of Cappuccino costs US $1.5 (18 Maldivian Ruffiya).
At Taj Exotica, there is an Ocean Pavillion/Snorkelling point, about 1/2 a mile off shore, completely stand alone. A daylight picture is below.
It's about 15 ft x 15ft, with a thatched roof, and decked floor. You have to catch a boat to get to it.
They offer a private dinner on this Pavillion, so I decided to surprise my husband with a meal there. Obviously due to it's location, the food is a specially made cold buffet (for want of a better word because the food was delicious!)
There are 2 menus available, one is U$350 + service charge & whichever wine/champagne you want to choose from the cellar (at extra cost). The other menu is $450 + service/wine.
At 6pm, I took my husband to the lobby area, are we walked to the jetty. The boat was waiting for us, and we headed to the Pavillion. What was waiting was beyond words, but I'll try to describe it!
Each of the four pillars supporting the thatched roof had billowing white curtains attached. 2 low lying sala day beds with comfy cushions scattered on them awaited us. A low lying table with beaded runner, candles, lanterns, and flowers was laid out with fine cutlery. Crysanthenums were scattered all over the pavillion. A huge rustic wooden barrel/bucket acted as a champagne cooler. It was the most romantic, isolated and special place to have dinner.
The In Villa dining manager, Rajwan, served our first glass of wine for us, and gave us a mobile phone, telling us to call when we wanted the boat to come pick us up. He and the boat crew left, leaving us alone to enjoy this magnificent experience.
Favorite Dish: I chose the $350 menu. The $450 had a big wow factor, but included much more seafood, caviar, oysters etc, which sadly we wouldn't have enjoyed as much.
On my 'wining and dining' travelogue is a picture of the spread of food & dessert we had, all presented on stands of various heights. The menu had included lobster, but as we weren't keen on this, I asked for some homestyle chicken tikka, which came with with nan, breads, pickles and chutney. I told them we love cheeses, so they had a plateful with walnuts, apricots and olives.
The other dishes included salmon, king prawns, australian grain fed beef, vegetable rice, dips (houmous, tahini, etc, 4 in total) cold cuts of meat - pastrami, chorizo, hams etc, salad with olives and feta cheese - all top quality considering is was cold foods, and absolutely delicious.
Dessert consisted of a huge exotic fruit platter, a couple of fruits I'd never seen before, trio of creme brulee, and chocolate torte.
Pictures can be seen in my 'wining & dining' travelogue.
We couldn't move by the end of it! But at around 9.30pm, called for the boat to collect us, returned to our room, and found the bed beautifully decorated with flowers, and a hot bath waiting, with flowers in the water and candles on the marble ledge - you get the idea. There is a picture in my travelogue somewhere.
A highly recommended experience.
The is the more formal restaurant, serving Mediterranean and International dishes.
There is a very wide range available, a few examples.......
Tartare of yellow fin tuna
Champagne & Fennel risotto with victorian brie
Chefs exotic Mezze, seafood or vegetarian
Moscovite duck breast
Wild Mushroom Spaghetti in a cream sauce
Seared tournedos of beef with roma tomatoes
Truffled stew of mediterranean vegetables
Penne in home made tomato sauce with kalamata olives
Rack of australian Lamb
Garlic & herb rubbed fillet of angus beef
Catch of the day
There is lots more, but you get the idea!!!
The restaurant is at the far end of the island, approached via a torchlit plankway. Inside the restaurant, is a large gallery, where you can view the water and sealife below, and see the ocassional shark go by. The whole restaurant is over water.
It is romantically lit, marble and polised woods, and tables spread out a nice distance from eachother. Service is exceptional, with Vivek heading a brilliant restaurant, and all of his staff are a credit.
When we left, we were always given 2 small jars of lovely ground coffee, to enjoy the next morning, wrapped in sellophane and tied with gold twine.
Favorite Dish: Champagne & Fennel Risotto to start, and I couldn't choose between the Truffled stew of mediterranean vegetables, in skin of potato with mushrooms, and a red wine treacle, OR,
Wild mushroom spaghetti with cream sauce, aged parmesan, and thyme infused olive oil.
My husband would have the tournedos of beef.
2 course meal, with wine would be in the region of $150 - $180 inc. service charge.
I was lucky enough to be given a wonderful surprise dinner by my husband. Taj Exotica has several Private Dining Experiences available, and I had commented that I'd like to see the wine room.
One evening, expecting to dine in the main restaurant, we arrived at the bar for Martinis, and had our usual chat with Rajan, the bar manager. As we got up to go to dinner, Rajan invited me to look at the wine room. Great, I thought.
The room is great, white washed rough stone walls, candles slots, with an amazing medieval feel to it. There was a table set out, beautifully presented with candles and beaded placemats. I didn't want to be so rude as to immediately assume it was for me, so I glanced around the wine room until the look on my husbands face meant this was all set up for us.
2 scrolls, tied with gold twine, with burnt edges were on the table, titled "Dinner in the Wine Room - Personalised Menu for Mr & Mrs Jackson". It listed 7 exquisite courses, each accompanied by a different wine appropriate to each dish.
This was the best meal I have ever experienced. Each individual dish was like a masterpiece. We began with Veuve Clicquet champagne and it got better from there.
Below are some more pictures of the dishes.
I can't describe how 'out of this world' the whole evening was. When we surfaced, chocolate dipped strawberries and petit fours were waiting for us in the bar, and we had a nice chat with Rajan and watched some of his many card tricks!
A slip up by my other half meant I discovered the cost of the experience, and later thanked the Lord for husbands and credit cards ;-) Yes, it was that expensive, but the life long memories I have from this will made it worth it.
The first night we arrived, I ordered the homestyle chicken curry and rice. I expected to receive one plate with a serving of chicken curry and rice, but my my I was wrong.
An empty plate was placed in front of me. One waiter served rice onto my plate, another approached with the curry and served me. The the first waiter returned with a lentil dahl. Then a bowl of nan. Then 2 spicy popadums, then a pretty platter with mango chutney and pickles. All of the above was squeezed onto the table, and each time I reached to serve myself (happlily) some more rice or curry, one of the waiters would quickly stop me, take the bowl and say 'No Maam, let me do that for you'. They really did treat you like royalty, add to that the fantastic curry and I was happy as Larry.
The duet of chocolate parfaits was so beautifully presented that I photographed it. The smug look on y husbands face is actually embarrassment.
This restaurant is the more casual of the 2, although it is by no means casual if that makes sense!
The restaurant is open air, with a lower and upper tier, and intricate vaulted ceiling. The floor is a mix of marble and dark polished wood. It serves a pan-Asian & International fayre, the food was ALWAYS excellent, with service that would be hard to beat. All meals were always beautifuly presented.
In additions to the menus, you could have asked for anything and they would prepare it for you.
As soon as you sat to breakfast a bowl of breads and pastries with butter & preserves was placed on the table. The menu consited of things such as, eggs any style with sausage, bacon, basil topped tomatoes, herb focaccia. Omelettes with a number of filling. Egg white only omlette with roma tomatoes and basil (there were always several 'healthy options' at all meals). Banana hot cakes, with cream & wild berries (yum) Mint crepes filled with vanilla bean rice and pistacio coulis, exotic fruits, many Japanese options, lentil cakes with chilli sauce - the list goes on. And of course juices, smoothies & milkshakes of many different falvours, although my favourite was the vanilla milkshake.
Dinner was an equally delightful treat, we tended to have a main meal and dessert. Main course had a large selection, such as pasta, duck, veal, steak, chicken, lots of fish/seafood, curries, Japanese. I tried the home style chicken curry, as well as the vegetable curry, each was delicious & more details below. I also tried the chicken with tomato polenta, spinach & mushroom sauce. My husband had several times the pepper crusted tuna in a herb and butter sauce - highly recommended.
We always enjoyed dinner with a bottle of red or white wine. Wine by the bottle ranged from U$40 upto $1200!. Starters were from $9 - $20, main courses from $15 - $40, and desserts from $10 - $20. On average for us, 2 courses each and a bottle of wine would vary between $100 - $140 including service charge.
Favorite Dish: Desserts were a dream. Passion Fruit Brulee was a favourite of my husbands, and I enjoyed the baked lemon grass tart with vanilla beach ice cream.
Another treat was the duet of chocolate parfaits with macerated fruits, again further pictures below.
If I were to walk into 24 degrees tonight, I would have........
Vegetable curry followed by vanilla been ice cream with raspberry coulis.
My husband said he would have the confit of duck or pepper crusted tuna, with skinny chips on the side (!) followed by passion fruit brulee.
Easy to reach by boat, no booking required, dress comfortably, enjoy the atmosphere...the pic shows this particular "restaurant" I had the pleasure to eat at in the moon light...
Favorite Dish: Fresh fish was served sitting on the beach on comfortable green leaves, drinking from coconuts' mugs and other local food...dancing barefoot on the sand following...
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