Malawi Restaurants and Dining

(Malawi, MW, South-East Africa)

Image of beachfront al fresco diningAs is the case elsewhere in Africa, Malawi's city cafes, eateries and restaurants tend to offer an interesting mix of traditional and Western-style cuisine.

In Lilongwe, it's possible to have a great time dining out on a relatively small budget. In venues that are more tourist-oriented, however, such as those found near Lake Malawi or at one of the safari parks, visitors can expect to pay more. Even so, wherever you choose to each out in Malawi, it shouldn't break the bank.

Photo of beachfront cafeHotel-based restaurants and city centre dining venues tend to operate fairly standard opening hours for lunch and dinner. However, in more remote villages and towns, eating out can be a more flexible experience.

What to Eat

Local foods tend to be fairly traditional, with a choice of either chicken stew (mkuku), or beef stew (nyama ngombe) on the menu. These main dishes are usually supplemented with side dishes that include a porridge made from cornmeal, rice or cassava chips.

On the shores of Lake Malawi, fish dishes predominate. Sun-dried 'usipi' fish have a distinctive taste, which isn't to everyone's taste. More popular are chambo fish or a sort of catfish known as 'kampango'.

Picture of restaurant at the Kiboko Town Hotel, in Lilongwe's Old Town

Where to Eat

In Lilongwe and Blantyre there are plenty of decent restaurants and cafes. Most serve good quality food at reasonable prices. As well as local meat dishes, restaurants serve the usual fare of Italian pizza and pasta, Indian curries and Chinese cuisine.

In particular, the upmarket Italian restaurant of Mamma Mia in Lilongwe's Old Town district is a popular dining venue for tourists. A few fast food outlets are also available, including Southern Fried and Nandos, in both Blantyre and Lilongwe.

Cafe view, overlooking the lakefrontElsewhere in Malawi, the hotels scattered around Lake Malawi are the best place to sample fish-based dishes. Most hotels make perfectly satisfactory dining venues, particularly if you are tired after a long journey and don't fancy braving local restaurants.

If you are exploring off the beaten track, most villages have some sort of 'restaurant', even if it is located in a small hut, or even outdoors, consisting of little more than an open fire and a metal tripod.