When you think of the idyllic Maldives, your mind will conjure the 1,000 small islands that make it up or the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which boasts dining under sea level. But, past those two things, the Maldives is also so much more.
With all the resorts in the Maldives making up their own small island, some of them even man-made means you can finally say you’ve lived out that fantasy of escaping to a remote island in the middle of nowhere. Because of this, the food and eateries out in the Maldives are next to none, with many of them using freshly caught fish and seafood and bringing the finest spices and flavours to whisk your senses away on their own vacation.
It didn’t seem right to begin this list and not touch on one of the Maldives favourite and most famous restaurants. While an expensive restaurant, it is a dining experience you’ll never forget, with Ithaa Undersea Restaurant being five-meters below sea level and the world’s first undersea restaurant. Found at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, this restaurant boasts panoramic coral views and out-of-this-world fusion menus, and you’ll be blown away by Ithaa, where they specialise in contemporary European dishes while you watch reef sharks and manta rays float past. You can also reserve Ithaa Undersea Restaurant for private dining, weddings and special occasions.
Found just off Niyama, and being a cool 20-feet below the sea and requiring arrival by speedboat. You descend down a three-tier staircase into this aquatic shaded bar and restaurant. With decors such as coral-like chandeliers, sea-blue lighting, and mirrors reflecting marine life, you’ll feel one with the ocean as you dine with Subsix. Serving up champagne breakfasts, sub-aquatic lunches, and gourmet dinners, there is something for all when dining. They also offer a twice-weekly Underwater Glow Party on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 9:00 pm, where you can dance against an illuminated backdrop of the surrounding reef.
With both food from the land and sea, Sea. Fire. Salt. offers a mixture of delicacies where you can begin with signature sushi, enjoy creamy and spicy curries inspired by Thailand, Vietnam, and India, all the while enjoying wine from the world’s first underwater wine cellar. Eating on a floating wooden deck, you get to enjoy the sea breeze as you tuck into their menu, which also includes top-class grilled steaks and Maldivian seafood specialities.
One of the Maldives best for vegetarians and vegetarian dishes is Just Veg. With the chefs working to create original flavour combinations to elevate their menu comprising of 100% meat-free cooking. You dine over the ocean, with dreamy views as the menu brings together a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary options, with recipes from the Mediterranean, Arabic, and Indian regions. Just Veg can also cater to vegans upon request.
A restaurant that boasts relaxing vibes, with laid-back music filling your ears, the environment relaxed, and the menu easygoing. You can opt for a table on the beachfront terrace, top floor balcony, or even among the palm trees. Thila offers a different family-friendly experience without skimping on the views. Offering salads, freshly cooked seafood and pizzas, they also have a menu for children.
Set on a small island, the Muraka Restaurant offers a menu that is both contemporary and delicious. With choices from tender wagyu beef to Maldivian lobster, with vibrant coloured cocktails and an excellent choice of wines. Each meal is offered to you like a piece of art, with the crystal clear waters around you and tropical fish. They also offer special culinary events, such as the weekly lobster menu.
An impressive sight is the Reethi Restaurant as it rises up from the ocean. Reethi compromises a cuisine-fusion of Asia-Pacific and Mediterranean flavours. While you’re waiting for your food to arrive, you can observe the chefs at work with their floor to ceiling glass screens allowing the chance to see your food being made. They have themed nights if you’re wanting to taste something different, with Monday’s having a predominantly Italian menu and Friday’s Indian-themed.
At the Velaa Private Island, Aragu is a restaurant that twists modern European cuisine with Asian influences, all the while incorporating sustainability and organic produce. Set in a gold and blue decorated restaurant, you’re in the safe hands of famous chef Gaushan de Silva. Different from the other restaurants, you select from a list of global ingredients to be incorporated into the menu and wait with bated breath for your menu to be served.
Also, at the Velaa Private Island, Tavaru is inspired by Japanese Teppanyaki and offers amazing views over Velaa as it’s set inside a white tower 72 feet above sea level. With the sizzling sound filling the air, you have the chance to watch these fabulous chefs prepare your food as they slice, dice, and season, ready to wow your senses. This restaurant and island also have a secret cellar with some of the most exclusive collection of wine in the Indian Ocean.
One of the restaurants at the Waldorf Astoria resort, Terra, offers dining in one of their seven secluded private bamboo dining pods, which are tucked away into the foliage for privacy like no other. Offering an extravagant contemporary menu which can include Miyazaki Wagyu Beef and Alba White Truffles, is costly, but once in a life-time experience with views, you will struggle to tear your eyes from.
The perfect place for lunch, people-watching or some ice-cream, the Seagull Café House is a charming sandy-floored split-level eatery. Originally opened to serve ice-cream, over time, this place has become a culinary powerhouse with a wide range of menu options, all compromising Western, Indian and Maldivian cuisine. If you’re also looking for a coffee and cake, they offer a range for you to sample. They even add their own twist to the British Fish and Chips, if you’re missing home a little too much.
While not necessarily a restaurant, this dining experience is next to none. With a secluded sandbank exclusively for you, no one else around other than a discreet chef and steward on hand to cater to you, there’s just the sea, sky and sand. You can choose from dinner under the stars or a sunrise breakfast.
With most of these restaurants offering views that’ll take your breath away, fine dining experiences and using local Maldivian fish, dining in any of the Maldives restaurants will be a treat for the stomach and the eyes. With influences being taken from all around the globe, there is something for everyone and much to enjoy, making your stay in the Maldives a new adventure every day.