The Maldives is fast becoming a hot spot for gourmands and foodies, boasting some of the world’s top restaurants and unforgettable dining experiences. From dining beneath fathoms below the surface of the sea and dramatic mid-ocean feasts on a floating platform surrounded by azure waters to intimate dinners on secluded islands.
From extravagant underwater restaurants and bars to unique chef-prepared gourmet dining experiences, the Maldives features a wealth of exceptional restaurants which not only serve award-winning cuisine but boast designer settings in which diners are embraced by striking architecture, breathtaking décor, world-class design.
Food-lovers are treated to an array of fresh locally-caught fish and other types of seafood and shellfish with skipjack and yellowfin tuna being a favorite, along with coconut, breadfruit, and local fruits and vegetables such as millet and tubers. The cuisine of the Maldives is a rich assemblage of traditional flavors with strong influences from its neighboring countries, such as India and Sri Lanka, and with the influence of foreigners from ancient trade and travel, it has developed a distinctive blend with its own unique flavors, symbolizing a unique culinary identity.
Subsix at Niyama Resort
Aptly named, Subsix at Per Aquum’s Niyama Resort is another extraordinary dining establishment which rests 20 feet below the surface of the sea. The restaurant is accessed by speedboat and a three-tier staircase that descends into the sea and boasts stunning ocean-inspired décor that complements the breathtaking underwater surroundings. Contemporary design elements include a sweeping curvy clam-inspired bar, soft anemone chairs, wavy capiz shells draped from the ceilings, and Italian abstract chandeliers that illuminate the interiors like glimmering coral. Subsix serves sumptuous Champagne breakfasts, sub-aquatic lunches, and gourmet dinners with sublime menus of chef-inspired creations like swimmer crab with couscous pomelo and ocean foam and lobster medallions with heirloom tomatoes and blackberry essence. The restaurant also hosts twice-weekly “glow party” club nights where guests can dance the night away against an illuminated backdrop of the surrounding reef and its striking inhabitants.
Subsix at Niyama Resort. Photo credit: Per Aquum’s Niyama Resort
Sandbank Dining at Baros Maldives
Baros Maldives offers an unforgettable dining experience on a spit of sand surrounded by gently lapping waves. Enjoy a ride on a private dhoni to a secluded and tranquil sandbank where award-winning chefs create and serve a delectable meal that will leave only lasting memories. Dine beneath a sky full of stars as warm Indian breezes wrap around you.
Sandbank Dining at Baros Maldives. Photo credit: Baros Maldives
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in the South Ari Atoll has to be one of the world’s most spectacular dining experiences. The intimate restaurant is situated 16 feet below the surface of the sea in a glass enclosure that allows diners to admire the colorful reefs, schools of vibrant fish, and cruising sharks of the undersea world while dining on award-winning cuisine. The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, whose name means ‘mother of pearl’ in the native Maldivian language Dhivehi, offers a luxury six-course set dinner of contemporary European and Maldivian cuisine. Diners will savor exquisite delicacies such as Malossol imperial caviar with sour cream potato blinis, calamarata pasta stuffed with reef lobster, yellowtail kingfish with a saffron champagne risotto and beurre blanc foam, and a mouthwatering vanilla chocolate vantage with mango sorbet. While the cuisine is definitely to die for, it has to be the awe-inspiring surrounding views of the passing reef sharks, flying manta rays and gliding turtles that take the cake.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. Photo credit: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Platform Dining at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
For sheer romance and unforgettable memories, nobody does it better than the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. Four Seasons dining always promises exceptional menus of world-class cuisine, but for special occasions, the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru boasts unique settings that make an award-winning dining experience even better. Guests can choose from a dreamy dinner on a private sandbank kissed by warm, gentle sea breezes beneath a blanket of stars, a dramatic mid-ocean meal on a floating platform surrounded by the azure waters of the lagoon, or a sumptuous beach barbecue with toes-in-the-sand dining and spectacular sunset views. For those who prefer a romantic restaurant experience, Blu Beach Restaurant at the western end of the island features a stunning pavilion that overlooks the lagoon and serves delectable Italian cuisine.
Platform Dining. Photo credit: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Located in North Huvadhoo, one of the largest natural atolls in the world, the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is home to the Island Grill, which features tables and white chairs set on a blanket of powder-white sand, and an open-plan kitchen beneath a vast Crusoe-esque thatched roof where guests can watch expert chefs at work. After a sumptuous meal of freshly grilled seafood, prime cut steaks, and fresh local salads guests can enjoy a nightcap at the dhoni, an award-winning lounge that gives the nod to the arching lines of the archetypal Maldivian fishing boat. An architectural masterpiece, the traditional yet contemporary dhoni lounge welcomes guests with an impressive wooden structure crafted by actual fishing-boat builders that reflects that of an upturned dhoni (fishing boat), which is framed by a pool so still its surface looks like glass.
Island Grill. Photo credit: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Sea. Salt, Fire. at Anantara Veli Resort & Spa
One of the most captivating dining locations at Anantara Veli Resort & Spa is certainly the over-water Sea.Fire.Salt. Restaurant. Here, guests can dine alfresco on the glorious wooden deck floating above the lagoon, enjoying top-class grilled steaks and Maldivian seafood specialties.
Discover a gourmet paradise with surreal ocean viewing at SEA. The world’s first underwater wine cellar and restaurant entice with flawless degustation menus for lunch and dinner where guests can relish chef’s connoisseur creations paired with a range of wines spanning nine decades, orchestrated by a professional Wine Guru. Soak up the dazzling marine life swimming peacefully beyond the curved glass wall while savoring award-winning cuisine.
Dinners fire up Japanese theatrical flair in an ambient over water setting where guests can marvel at the acrobatic cooking skills of talented chefs on their culinary stage at FIRE. Begin with signature sushi and sashimi followed by prime Wagyu steaks, seafood plucked from local waters and flown in fresh from all over the world, and lobster from the cage to be sizzled on the Teppanyaki grill. Feast on special set menus and end with intriguing Japanese desserts.
Discover celebrated recipes from Thailand, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and China with spice and herb-laced salads and appetizers, wok-tossed rice and noodle favorites, or creamy and spicy curries at SALT. Indulge in tender meats and fresh seafood, cooked to perfection on a Himalayan salt block for a unique depth and complexity of flavor. Watch the open-air kitchen sizzle with activity as the Salt Sommelier pairs meals with the ideal seasoning from a gourmet salt selection.
Sea. Fire. Salt. Photo credit: Anantara Veli Maldives Resort
Muraka at Mirihi Island Resort
Set on the tiny island of Mirihi Island in the South Ari Atoll, Muraka promises an unforgettable dining experience surrounded by gin-clear waters teeming with brightly colored tropical fish. Enjoy the spectacular sunset from the decked terrace while sipping your drink before a romantic dinner. Sit at one of eight exclusive tables as you savor the freshest local seafood, lobster or Angus beef, all paired with a selection of fine wines from around the world.
Muraka. Photo credit: Mirihi Island Resort
Article by Mia Russell ©