This is the fifth of six posts on the Maldives. Check out our other posts here:
- Getting to the Conrad Rangali
- 3 Nights of Paradise at the Conrad Rangali
- Relaxing in Paradise: Activities at the Conrad Rangali
- You Can Swim with Whale Sharks in the Maldives!
- Trying to Eat Cheaply at the Conrad Rangali
- Our Brief Time in Malé, Maldives
When it comes to dining, Mrs. Selfish and I don’t really do expensive. If anything, we usually opt for street food over a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Unfortunately, the Conrad Rangali is a resort-style property, which means you are trapped on an island and can ONLY eat food on said property. Which means the food is expensive.
While the Conrad has many fabulous restaurants to choose from, we ended up eschewing the majority of those options for the cheapest, most Maldivian food we could find.
Breakfast at the Vilu Bar
As gold members, Mrs. Selfish and I ate complimentary breakfast at Vilu, which is located on the smaller of the two islands. Vilu is primarily a seafood restaurant in the evening, but in the morning they give you the choice of an entree and access to the continental buffet.
The location is spectacular. Since it’s on the quieter of the two islands, it’s mostly utilized by honeymooning couples and has a cozier, more intimate feel. The other breakfast option is at the Atoll Market on the other island, which we never made it to since Mrs. Selfish and I were far too lazy to cart ourselves over there in time for breakfast.
The buffet is so-so, and has all of the usual suspects.
Where Vilu really shines is its entree menu. Choices range from eggs Benedict and customizable waffles to the Japanese breakfast. Mrs. Selfish and I always rocked the “Hot Breakfast,” however, which allowed you to pick up to 4 selections, including the Maldivian curry.
Nothing beats fish curry for breakfast! So…tasty…
The other selections are a bit more Western, and include hash browns, and various meat selections. Of note is the bacon, which is cow-based. At first I assumed this was because the Maldives is a 100% Muslim country, but they had pork sausages, so who knows?
The Vilu Bar also had a fine selection of juices and coffees. Mrs. Selfish was especially pleased to note they had watermelon juice, her favorite. While I’m more of a coffee man myself, I ordered watermelon juice so she could double down.
Expensive: The Other Meal at the Conrad Rangali
The majority of our remaining meals we ate at the Rangali bar (save for one lunch consisting of cheap-o ramen we bought from a 7-11 in Hong Kong). This was for a number of reasons: 1) the Rangali bar has a great selection, 2) the bar is basically open all day, 3) the bar is not a buffet, and 4) the bar is “cheap.”
Astute readers will note that I put cheap in quotation marks. That is because the “cheap” in this case is extremely relative.
Were I to quote you these prices in any proper city you’d laugh out loud and punch the offending waiter through the back of the head. At the Conrad Rangali you merely grin and bear it, since your alternatives are upwards of $75 – $175 per person, sans alcohol.
If you’re a drinker, the drink costs are pretty standard, with mixed drinks clocking in at $14 USD and up. Water is where they get you, however.
Free bread, meet room water.
Choose to order a bottle of water with your meal and you’re looking at paying anywhere from $6 – $10 depending on whether you order a 16 or 24oz bottle. After a while we just started bringing the complimentary bottles from our room since I frankly can’t tell the difference between the local Maldivian brand and Evian.
For our first meal on property, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to split the Conrad’s Wagyu burger ($30).
The burger was excellent. Tender, juicy – delicious. The salad came with a nice vinaigrette, which highlighted the vegetables without drowning out their mild flavors.
Following that, we ordered the “Coffee Extravagana,” ($15), which was 3 scoops of croquant ice cream, vanilla creme, wafer, and coffee topping.
Unfortunately, the coffee extravaganza must not have been popular enough. After biting in I immediately tasted freezer burn – a flavor I had only previously experienced at “Denny’s” in the middle of Virginia at midnight. Not a good start.
We also tried the Maldivian lobster ($41). Though they were stored in a fish tank by the side of Vilu, they were somehow cheaper at Rangali Bar. Perhaps rent was cheaper there?
The lobster was excellent and quite a bit different from your normal Maine lobster. If you’re a fan of seafood with a hard carapace, I highly recommend it.
I, on the other hand, am a curry man, so from there on out we stuck purely to the “Indian Spices & Tandori Oven” section of the menu, trying our darnedest to plumb the depths of the Rangali Bar’s selection. Most items cost around $25 – $30, though some items like naan, or side vegetables run around $10 each.
All and all the curries were on point. Creamy and savory with a delicate blend of peppers and a fine concoction of spices. While the naan was a bit expensive at $10, it had a decidedly homemade taste, something you find less often Stateside.
I was a little disappointed that there weren’t many Maldivian options there, aside from the fish curry (which was excellent!), and the lobster. The only other option was the Maldivian noodles.
The noodles reminded me a bit of Mie Goreng, a stir friend Indonesian noodle dish we downed repeatedly in Bali. Perhaps my taste wasn’t discerning enough, but the only thing “Maldivian” about it as far as I could tell was that it was (presumably) cooked by a Maldivian chef.
One other reason we kept coming back to the Rangali Bar: the service was excellent.
Our first evening we noticed that fish curry was absent from the dinner menu. After a quick talk with our server, the Rangali Bar’s manager informed us that we would be able to order it off of the lunch menu. This happened on several occasions, as we noticed many of the lunch items we wanted were not on the dinner menu.
Even More Expensive: Ithaa and the Sunset Restaurant
Regrettably, we did not get to try any of the Conrad’s fancier dinner options. Mrs. Selfish and I initially made cocktail reservations (~$75 pp for drinks and canapés) for the Conrad’s magnificent underwater restaurant, Ithaa, but this was displaced by our Whale Shark expedition.
Which is a shame, really, as the restaurant looks splendid. Eating at any of these fine options, would likely have put us off budget, especially since we still had 4 more cities to visit on this trip.
And that concludes our wrap up of the Conrad Rangali. Tomorrow, I’ll go over how it stacks up next to the Conrad Koh Samui, and Hilton Bora Bora.