Zimbabwe - Restaurants
If you'd always dreamt of trying exotic foods like fried flying ants, dried worms or pumpkin leaves, then Zimbabwe will offer plenty of opportunity for this and more! And if your stomach or palate is more sensitive, there are many more familiar options available to keep you well fed on your holiday.
Sadza, the national dish of the country, is a cornmeal-based hearty staple eaten by locals in much the same way a Chinese person would relish rice or an Italian would enjoy pasta. The words sadza re masikati, literally translated, mean ‘sadza of the afternoon', but actually just refer to lunch. Similarly, sadza re manheru refers to dinner. Sadza could be made from maize or cornmeal and is typically served along with some form of vegetable or meat stew. Richer families enjoy their sadza with beef or chicken (meat is known as nyama). The dish is prepared and served up like a thick porridge.
Common ingredients in cooking here include cucumbers, beans, gem squash, butternut squash, peanuts, green maize and avocados. Dovi or peanut butter-like stew is popular here and may sometimes have an additional ingredient of Bowara (pumpkin leaves). These leaves are usually eaten fresh.
Besides beef and goat, game like the African gazelle or springbok and the large antelope or Kudu also regularly feature on menus. Bigger game, though, tends to make an appearance on festivals and big occasions. Many upmarket restaurants will also serve you more prized meats like impala shoulder, warthog and crocodile tail.
If you aren't squeamish, then head to the open air market in summer to sample the flying ants or dried mopane worms. They are typically fried and salted and eaten almost like popcorn! The more adventurous can even try eating the flying ants live after removing the wings - that's how the locals love them.
Do head over to these eateries for a taste of good food Zimbabwe style:
Le Bistro, Chisipite, Harare
Created on the lines of a Parisian or Brussels bistro, this little restaurant is good value for money, though a little expensive by local standards. With its clean, modern lines and good food, a meal here is a real pleasure. Don't miss their home style soups and mains of filet steak. The bistro is owned by a Belgian,
M. Paquay, and expectedly, the desserts are something to write home about!
For an all-round dining experience that says Africa in its ambience, menu, sounds and tastes, there is no better place than The Boma. As you enter this ethnic eatery located in the Gusu forest, let the atmosphere wash over you before you sit down to a hearty meal of local game, vegetables, fish, salads and stews.
For good food combined with atmosphere, make the effort to head to Ramambo's Lodge. Be a little careful as you make your way here, though - you may encounter some dodgy characters en route.
If good service matters to you, then Victoria Twenty will not disappoint. Its plush setting combines well with its rustic thatched roof and wooden beams - a great way to experience what feels like a very local setting, without having to rough it.
Mama Africa Eating House
Connoisseurs of traditional food who enjoy their meals in an authentic setting swear by Mama Africa. The restaurant has a choice of indoor and outdoor seating (in a verandah or the garden) and the menu even offers Western foods in addition to the local fare. There is ample choice for vegetarians too.
The Holiday Inn
If you decide to make a trip to Bulawayo then you must plan a pit stop at The Holiday Inn. Located just 3 km from the centre of town and not far from the Ascot race course, this hotel has good food and great atmosphere. If you decide to stay a little longer, they also have some wonderful suites that you can book. Do reserve in advance if you intend to stay over.