Madagascar’s dining and entertainment options range from in-house hotel restaurants to streetside eateries and cafes, offering a choice of elegant French-influenced cuisine, local delicacies, fresh seafood and the Malagasy blend of African, Arab, Indian and French gastronomy. Discos in the hotels are lively, and casinos in the capital and on Nosy Be Island offer the usual delights. Cultural connoisseurs will enjoy the Sunday afternoon Hira Gasy shows and touring dance and theatre groups who perform across Antananarivo.
Bars and Pubbing in Madagascar
A plethora of pubs and bars in Tana city takes care of thirsty Madagascar visitors, and many of the venues cater to the Malagasy love of music with everything from jazz and rock to traditional sounds. For upscale revels, the Hilton Hotel (Rue Pierre Stibbe Anosy, Tana) has a good choice of bars and lounges frequented by expats and locals, while B26Bar (Cite des 67HA, Tana) is a good regular hangout. For a fun night out, Café de la Gare (3, Bons Baisers d’Europe, Tana) is a dual-purpose piano bar and restaurant set in the city’s spruced-up old rail station.
Nosy Be Island’s nightlife is vibrant, as befits the country’s number one tourist resort, centered on Hell-Ville, the island’s oddly-named capital. Vieux Port (Hell-Ville, Nosy Be) is the place to see and be seen every Friday night for its music and lively patrons, while Hotel la Mer (seafront, Hell-Ville) is famous for its Thursday and Saturday night dance parties. Ambataloaka, along the Hell-Ville coast , is a favorite for its lovely Manderokely Beach and crowded little beachside bars. The village offers two vibrant discos, Djembe and La Sierene (Ambataloaka), both of which hold regular late-night parties.
For a gritty, open-all-hours experience in Toamasina, L’Univers (Blvd Joffre Harborside) is as good as it gets as it’s a favorite for sailors whose ships are berthed at the port. Toliara’s Hacienda Club (town center, Toliara) is a huge Mexican-style club that gets going at midnight. Mahajanga’s La Ravinala Disco (town center, Mahajanga) is one of the most popular dance venues in Madagascar. Closing hours in most bars and clubs depend on the clientele and area.
Dining and Cuisine in Madagascar
Tana and Nosy Be Island are the fine dining hubs of Madagascar, as well as home to a good number of lower-priced restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Malagasy gastronomy is a unique experience, and international options often include classic French. L’Auberge (Rue Rabezavana, Tana) serves meat-based French cuisine, cheese and good red wine at value prices. For inexpensive and high quality European dishes, La Brasserie (Hotel de France, Tana) is the place to head. La Boussole (21 Rue Dr Villette, Tana) is a popular expat hangout with jazz and soul every Thursday.
Set in the capital’s trendy Isoraka district, Chez Sucett’s (Rue Raveloary, Tana) specializes in Creole cuisine and is frequented by embassy staff. Hotel Colbert (29, Rue Prince Ratsimamanga, Tana) is the most expensive restaurant in Madagascar, but cheap by Western standards and famed for its classic French cuisine and upscale dress. The charming heritage setting of Villa Venille (24, Rue Tadama Place, Tana) attracts high society and the diplomatic classes for its exquisite dishes and fine wines, served against a background of traditional Malagasy music.
Nosy Be Island has a good choice of restaurants at all budget levels, with the best located in Hell-Ville. Le Nandipo (Rue de l’Independence, Hell-Ville) is one of the town’s most popular spots for its Mediterranean seafood dishes, while Le Papillon (town center, Hell-Ville) boasts a legendary Italian chef. Resort Andilana (Andilana Beach, Nosy Be) is known for its seafood and if you’re driving the Grand Sud route, don’t forget to stop at Ambatolampy’s Au Rendevous des Pecheurs (Ambatolampy) for delicious French country cuisine.