Here are several establishments you should visit during your stay in the Maldives.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant offers a unique, high-end dining experience that you’ll never forget. The restaurant claims it is the first all-glass undersea restaurant in the world with 180-degree panoramic views of the ocean. Located 16 feet below sea level, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is connected to the Conrad Hilton Rangali Island resort in the South Ari Atoll. The restaurant was named Ithaa because it means “mother of pearl” in the country’s native language of Dhivehi. The restaurant was crowned the “Most Beautiful Restaurant in the World” by New York Daily News in 2014.
The upscale restaurant specializes in contemporary European cuisine and serves four-course lunches and six-course dinners. Guests rave about their reef lobster stuffed with calamarata pasta and lemongrass veloute sauce entrée. You should also order the coconut crusted légine which is served with steamed sea beans, curry bisque, and spicy sea snails.
The setting provides a very cozy and intimate atmosphere, so this is perfect if you are traveling to the Maldives with a loved one. Be advised that the restaurant has a strict dress code so please wear slacks and a button-down shirt or a nice dress if you would like to be seated. Overall, the best part about dining at the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is that you can watch sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and other fish swimming nearby while you eat.
If you are looking for a casual yet trendy café, you should visit Shell Beans. The café has been operating for over a decade and has two locations on both sides of Malé island that attracts tourists and locals alike.
Shell Beans serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you can easily grab a cup of coffee or a quick meal before you go snorkeling or hop on a jet ski. Their large menu selection includes both traditional Maldivian food and international cuisine.
The café’s signature dishes include the Mediterranean beef stew and Chinese Chicken fried rice. If you’re homesick, you can order their classic American pancakes, chicken quesadillas, pasta, and pizza. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get the Taste of Maldives for breakfast, which includes two eggs with fish and a fresh fruit platter. And if you’re in a rush, you can always place an order through the Shell Beans mobile phone app and pick it up when you arrive.
Subsix is another restaurant known for its breathtaking underwater views. The gourmet restaurant is located 19 feet below sea level on the private island of Niyama. Subsix is very secluded, so much so that you need to charter a speedboat if you want to dine there! Once your boat reaches the restaurant’s landing, you will need to walk down a three-tier staircase to enter the subaquatic restaurant.
You will be impressed as soon as you step inside. The circular shaped dining room has the floor to ceiling windows provides a stunning panoramic view of the ocean, giving you the perfect opportunity to gaze at brightly colored fish, turtles, and eels while you enjoy a gourmet meal. From the sophisticated black color scheme to the capiz shells hanging from the ceiling and the furniture made to resemble sea urchins, Subsix is a sight to behold.
They are revered for their Spiny Lobster Medallion appetizer dish, which includes lobster cromesqui flavored with watermelon and drizzled in a balsamic glaze. Another meal that received rave reviews is their poached salmon with butter, chorizo, crushed potatoes, coconut, and tamarind coulis. Subsix also makes homemade ice cream, parfait, and other dessert treats. The restaurant also hosts an “Underwater Glow Party” every Wednesday and Saturday for guests.
Another casual dining option in the Maldives is the Jazz Café. According to the locals, the owners of the restaurant were inspired by the famous American music genre and wanted to recreate the spirit of New Orleans by giving the café a jazz theme. The café serves as a cultural hub and is a popular hangout for local Maldivians and tourists due to its live jazz musical performances every week. They also have frequent open mic nights if you’re feeling brave and want to perform.
As soon as you enter you’ll be impressed with the café’s classic European style decor. Jazz Café serves international cuisine from New Zealand and Thailand as well as traditional Maldivian meals. Their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus include everything from hamburgers and French fries to lasagna and other types of pasta. They also have different flavors of smoothies and gelato for dessert!
The Jazz café is the ideal place to sit back and relax with your loved ones while listening to a live jazz band. You can either have a seat at their wooden tables in the main area or venture upstairs if you would like to look out over the city of Malé.
If you want a tranquil vacation, you should consider traveling to the Maldives. Tuna, spicy fried fish, lobster, and other seafood are a staple ingredient of Maldives cuisine. However, you can easily try international cuisine if you don’t like seafood. Luckily, there are many different types of restaurants available that can fit a wide variety of tastes and price points. As you just learned, you can eat comfort food in a small cafe and chat with the locals, or you can go to an exclusive underwater restaurant for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. The options are endless in the Maldives! Before you pack your bags, remember not to bring any alcohol. The Maldives is a Muslim nation where alcohol is banned for locals. Most of the resorts offer alcohol to its guests, but the government will confiscate it if you try to enter or leave the country with it.