Our favourite restaurants in Ngapali Beach, Thandwe
We could write a whole blog about Ngapali’s postcard perfect beaches, turquoise temperate water and lush hotels but let’s be honest, that’s not what this blog is for.
Upon arriving, we quickly realised that every meal in Ngapali has the potential to turn into a seafood banquet. Beach facing hotels line the coast, serving upmarket European and Asian fare. Some are very good (our favourite is reviewed below).
But the real gems are the local restaurants across the road from the hotels. They offer similar menus of grilled, stir-fried or curried seafood, but after sampling more than our fair share, we developed a few favourites:
We’re bitterly disappointed that we only discovered enjoy! on our second last day of the holiday.
It looks more upmarket than its neighbours, which is normally a red flag for us (does it indicate a restaurant more focused on flash and decor than the food?) But enjoy! has the goods (and recipes) to back it up. Everything we sampled there was exquisitely delicious, though at times head explodingly spicy.
enjoy! served up the best grilled whole fish we had in Ngapali, with a duo of sauces – a savoury soy-based sauce, and a zesty lime, chilli and coriander dip. Both complimented the fish beautifully. Equally good, and served with the same accompaniments, is their fried fish.
The coconut prawn curry was rich and velvety smooth and hit all the sweet, savoury, spicy notes you want from a curry. Salads were excellent but were the aforementioned guilty party in the intense heat and spiciness, so be prepared.
The real star of the show was the raw prawn salad – essentially a Rakhine take on ceviche. Raw prawns are marinaded in lime juice, topped with chilli and herbs (kaffir line, basil, coriander). Easily one of the best things we’ve eaten here in Myanmar.
We developed a deep fondness for Treasure during our time in Ngapali.
The food wasn’t consistently the best of the lot. But one or two incredible standout dishes, generous on-the-house plates and drinks (termed ‘presents’), and the charming warm welcome from Treasure’s owner puts it firmly in our number two spot.
See, they serve this ridiculous Masala Crab.
Picture fresh crab, lovingly coated and stir fried in fragrant curry spices and served up piping hot. On a bed of coconut rice, it’s heavenly. And all for 4,000 MMK! We had to double-check we hadn’t been undercharged by accident.
Plus the owner has a habit of providing a ‘present’ of coconut rice and a vegetable side dish for free every meal, plus a bonus mini cocktail or juice – depending on your preference and time of day.
3. Zaw II
Zaw II was our first love, reeling us in with a simple plate of perfectly grilled prawns. Lightly spiced and succulent, they were the perfect first bites to a meal.
Everything at Zaw II is consistently delicious, from an aromatic Rakhine fish curry, to a light seaweed salad.
It’s definitely made a name for itself, with dinner slots during our trip nearly impossible without a reservation.
If you fancy a break from Asian food during the trip (and are up for spending considerably more money than the options above), the restaurant in Sandoway Resort served up the best pasta we’ve had in Myanmar.
With Italian co-owners, we shouldn’t have been so surprised to find such excellent pasta – impeccably al dente and beautifully presented.
Standout dishes were the tagliatelle with a deep and rich crab and tomato sauce, fresh cappelletti, and a rich three layered chocolate semi-freddo with a deeply satisfying mocha pouring sauce. And the romantic candlelit beach front location certainly doesn’t hurt, though mozzie spray is definitely recommended.