The Best Restaurants in the Maldives

From underwater bars to gourmet meals prepared by a chef on a private sandbar, here are some of the best restaurants and dining experiences in the Maldives.

Ithaafushi Island South Malé Atoll Male, 20009, Maldives
Why we love it: A three-island sanctuary oozing luxury and exclusivity that’s surrounded by immaculate beaches. The Highlights:
  • Spread across three islands, the resort is home to Ithaafushi Private Island, accessible only via yacht
  • Terra, a dining destination set in bamboo pods hanging from trees, is just one of 11 restaurants and bars
  • A water park, variety of water sports, and PADI dive center
The Review: Perched on three inter-connected islands a 30-minute boat ride away from Malé International Airport, this newly opened (July 2019) high-end resort marks a new pinnacle for Waldorf Astoria and Maldives luxury. 122 villas (all with private infinity pools) are spread across the three islands, with three of them set on the exclusive Ithaafushi Private Island. The private island includes a dedicated chef and personal concierge team, its own overwater spa and gym, five swimming pools, an entertainment center, and pristine beaches.

Not to worry if you’re on the other two islands: there’s plenty of luxury and plenty to keep you busy—or not—the beach and multiple pools are calling. Set aside time for the lavish spa, comprised of ten overwater or garden treatment villas while your kids spend time at the Waldorf Astoria Young Discovery Water Park. The whole family will enjoy the Ocean Pavilion, which hosts a range of activities like yoga and paddle-boarding; has a fully-equipped fitness center; and is home to a combined water sport and PADI dive center. The resort features 11 distinct dining destinations, each more interesting and extravagant than the last. From Terra and its bamboo pods to a grilling spot from Dave Pynt, the Michelin-starred chef behind Singapore’s Burnt Ends. There’s also a wine cellar carved into rocks, Middle Eastern spot Yasmeen, and Glow, which offers interactive garden-to-table dining using the bounty of the on-island garden.
Located at the luxe Six Senses Laamu, Sip Sip has an ever-changing menu made up of dishes that are the result of collaboration between the chef and resort gardeners, who tend an organic garden of 40 different herbs and vegetables. Using only fresh ingredients, the culinary team creates a different starter, salad, pizza, and dessert every day, all served poolside in a sunken bar area—more farm-to-pool than farm-to-table. Favorites include the panfried goat-cheese salad with mango compote and juicy cherry tomatoes, and the crispy Thai fish cake on a peanut-and-green-mango salad.
Aptly named Subsix sits six meters (almost 20 feet) below the water’s surface at Per Aquum’s Niyama resort, reached by speedboat (and then a three-tier staircase that descends into the sea). The ocean-inspired decor complements the underwater surroundings, where guests sip gin-infused cocktails like the Swing ’n’ Swim while admiring coral reefs and keeping an eye out for the likes of parrot fish, eels, and turtles. Lunch is a four-course set menu, featuring chef creations like lobster medallions with heirloom tomatoes and blackberry essence, or swimmer crab accompanied by couscous pomelo and ocean foam. You can also arrange for a private dinner or champagne breakfast, and for those with energy to burn, Subsix hosts twice-weekly “glow party” club nights.
Baa Atoll, Maldives
With its dreamy sunsets and endless sandbanks, the Maldives is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, and the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru kicks the romance factor up a notch with its memorable dining options. Guests can be whisked away on a speedboat to a secluded white-sand beach and enjoy a barbecue dinner prepared by a private chef at a table lit by the glow of candles and sparkling stars. The ocean awaits those who prefer a meal over the water—a private wooden platform hovering above a tranquil lagoon is just a brief sail away.
Kaafu Atoll, North Male Atoll, Maldives
Offering something more immersive than classic resort dining, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru has a four-course menu that can be served right on the beach. Watch a chef prepare your gourmet Maldivian lobster dinner right in front of you while you listen to the soothing sounds of waves lapping at the shoreline and enjoying the fresh sea air. Alternatively, choose the Sharkpoint option and tuck into sea scallops and lobster on a secluded stretch of sand. For a dose of culture, head to the open-air Naiboli Bar on a Friday night and take in a traditional bodu beru performance on the beach.
Rangali Island, Rangali 20077, Maldives
Located 100 meters out from the beach among the dazzling turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Mandhoo Restaurant at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a true gem. The gorgeous open-air establishment sits on stilts and serves up seafood staples like tiger prawns, fresh sea bass, and crabmeat salad accompanied by organic produce grown right on the island. Guests keeping an eye on the water below might be lucky enough to spot a glimpse of a shark or stingray, and should time their visit with the daily fish feeding to guarantee undersea sightings.
Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Hadahaa, North Huvadhoo 20054, Maldives
In a nod to the arching lines of the archetypal Maldivian fishing boat that lends its name to the place, the Dhoni at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is an architectural stunner. Welcoming guests as soon as they arrive on the tropical island, the lounge’s impressive wooden structure was crafted by actual fishing-boat builders and is framed by a pool so still its surface looks like glass. Start the evening at the resort’s Island Grill and watch chefs whip up dishes like seafood paella or succulent crustacean bisque on a traditional grill that’s combined with a wood-fired oven; then make your way to the Dhoni and enjoy a nightcap amid the lounge’s open air.
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