Over these past couple of months, I've been writing features about different parts of the result and with this being my very last one, I thought I'd cover one of the best parts about the resort, the food. I've been to a lot of all inclusive resorts over the years and I can safely say that food is never one of the highlights. That is not the case with the Conrad Maldives.
The exact opposite is true actually. The food was excellent everywhere we went. I really can't say we had a bad meal anywhere. And although we were paying 5-star restaurant prices for our evening meals, each restaurant was up to the task in delivering 5-star experiences and meals.
So let's jump right into the restaurants that we had the pleasure of eating at during our 9 night stay at the Conrad Maldives.
Coming out to breakfast every morning was always a treat because of the incredible selection of foods at the table. There was a little something of everything and all the items they had were all extremely fresh and well made. Case in point, their pastries. I don't know who they have back there but their pastries are absolutely amazing. I pretty much had to have at least one item from the pastry table every morning. Their chocolate brioche and croissants are to die for!
Other parts of my morning ritual included going to the omelette station because you could never go wrong there. The fresh juice table was also great. I never really knew what to order but I would always tell the guy working it back there that I wanted him to surprise me and he'd make an amazing mix of fruits freshly juiced. There's a salad and deli meats section that I always dropped by mainly for the salmon and tuna sushi that they usually only had a limited supply of. On the far left was the hot foods section and always had a great mix of delicious Asian and Maldivian dishes. I always made sure I got some sort of noodle and rice. I would usually throw in a yogurt or cereal in there and then top it off with some fresh fruits.
Tally that up and you have quite the huge breakfast. That's why I said in my post about ways to save money at the Conrad Maldives, that it's so easy to turn your breakfast into a big brunch.
Service wise, we were always treated really well. The waiters would always come by at the beginning and ask whether we wanted coffee, tea or orange juice. They were diligent about the refills and there was never any pressure about tipping.
We never got a chance to try out Vilu for breakfast until we moved over to the Over Water Villas on the smaller island. The main reason for that was because when we were at the Beach Villa, it was just a lot easier to walk to Atoll Restaurant versus taking the dhoni over to the other island.
Vilu is a different restaurant for breakfast namely in that they actually have a menu you can order off of. The waiters give you an iPad when you get your seat and you can flip through the menu to see what you fancy. The big discovery for us here was that 1) they serve Japanese bentos in the morning and 2) their waffles are amazing. We loved the bento boxes because you got nice pieces of sashimi in there and lovely grilled fish as well on a bed of rice. The waffles were the big secret I regret discovering so late into the stay. I don't know how they do it but they're fluffy and moist on the inside and caramelized crispy on the outside. Top it with bananas and maple syrup and you're in heaven.
If that wasn't enough food, they still have a buffet bar, albeit smaller than the Atoll selection. Here they have those same amazing pastries I raved about at Atoll, fruits, deli meats, cereal, yogurt and salad.
For a glimpse into what it's like to eat breakfast at Vilu, just check out my Day in the Life video. I do a full walkthrough of the buffet station.
In the afternoon
The underwater restaurant at the Conrad Maldives is one of those star attractions that give the property a lot of press. There aren't that many restaurants like this in the world and so we had to make sure we got a chance to experience it. At the same time we didn't want to break the bank in doing so. The only way this is possible is through the cocktails option which costs $55 USD between 10AM-12PM. In contrast is the lunch which is $195 prix-fixe or $320 for dinner.
The cocktail session comes with a glass of champagne and two canapés. For us we ended up enjoy the hour we had there quite a lot because it gave us a lot of time to be able to just watch the fish from our seat and take photos from almost every angle because there wasn't anyone else down there except another couple that was doing the exact same thing. I would imagine it to be a little different if you actually came for a meal. Yeah we went pretty crazy with the photo shoot down there.
Ithaa is truly unique with the many large fish that swim overhead the clear canopy overhead. With the sun sparkling ahead you will easily get mesmerized by the abundance of life floating above.
They've also gone through the trouble of setting up several large groups of coral grown on these racks to allow you to see the small fish right up close to the glass.
That being said, if you're divers like us, we didn't find the experience too wild simply because we had seen all these same fish on our dives earlier in our stay. For us, we just didn't want to leave the Conrad Maldives without saying we did the one epic thing that makes it on every inspirational restaurant bucket lists.
Between the hours of 4 and 5PM, you'll have an opportunity to take advantage of afternoon tea and Mandhoo which is open for everyone. This was always a nice treat for us everyday because by around that time we were typically hungry after our mega brunch.
The afternoon tea typically consists of an assortment of cookies, mini sandwiches and cakes. The best part was definitely the tea because they had TWG tea available which is a premium brand from Singapore. The chamomile and peppermint were our favorites.
After Mandhoo, our routine always involved us walking over to the dhoni to get over to the other island and straight to Vilu. Happy Hour at Vilu is exclusive for Gold and Diamond members between 5PM and 6PM. As much as I liked afternoon tea, I loved happy hour at Vilu way more simply because free alcohol is involved.
Everyday featured a special cocktail of the day on top of standard cocktails and every guest also got one canapé dish for food. We found this a great way to wind down the afternoon, take in that breathless view and a great way to make a few friends as well.
For dinner, this was our favorite at the resort because of how casual the environment is, will almost always have some sort of live music in the evening and has the best prices. You sit on these comfortable cushioned lounger chairs by the beach and the casual round table typically for cocktails is converted into your dining table.
Our favorite dish hands down was the Maldivian lobster. These aren't like your giant lobsters you get from Maine or Prince Edward Island but instead they're a lot smaller and because of that, all the meat on the lobster is like lobster tail all over. Grilled to perfection, all you needed to do was take your fork and you could pretty much pluck out all the meat at once. The lobster was extremely tender and juicy. I'm salivating just thinking about it.
Other dishes we tried were the Waygu burger, the proscuitto pizza, tikka masala and one of the pastas. I enjoyed all these dishes but at the end of the day couldn't compare to the Maldivian lobster. We had it twice during our stay and had to restrain ourselves from having it a third time in favor of trying other dishes.
Mandhoo was a restaurant that our island host recommended for its healthier food dishes that focus on the 5 elements of air, earth, fire, water and plant.
Set in the same restaurant as afternoon tea, the setting felt completely different at night in the dark. Getting seated at a table outside by the water, we were captivated by the big stingray that kept making passes underneath the deck. It was also an incredible scene just being able to look out into the water and hear the waves crashing along the beach nearby.
We ordered the Korean style seared tuna with stir fried bok choy, lime chili and coriander vinaigrette alongside the highly talked about sage marinated chicken breast atop a pumpkin and confit shallot risotto. We quite liked both dishes though the bok choy was a little bit heavy on the soy sauce by Asian standards. The sage marinated chicken was an absolute delight and perfectly cooked to give it a crisp outer skin while still maintaining a moist and tender breast meat.
Our last dinner at the Conrad was at Vilu. This was another restaurant that both our island host and other guests we talked to raved about so we knew we couldn't miss it. And after experiencing it, I have to agree with all of their comments. This was the best fine dining experience on the property.
First off, the Vilu restaurant setting is just perfect. We sat right at the edge of the outer deck which gave us idyllic views of the big island and also entertained us with all the little crab underneath coming alive at night. The waiter we had was excellent at explaining everything and the service was impeccable.
Even before our appetizers and mains arrived, I was impressed with the make-it-yourself bruschetta that was brought to our table and the fine selection of exclusive olive oils. Our waiter explained each olive oil on our table and how some were exclusively bottled for the Conrad Maldives. We then proceeded to chop up fresh tomatoes on a cutting board, pluck out freshly grilled garlic cloves and slice up a warm loaf of bread to make our own bruschetta.
Then came our appetizer which was a dish of oysters from France. Despite the long distance, they still tasted incredibly fresh and refined.
For our mains, we ordered the suckling pig slow-cooked for 10 hours in sous vide and the seared cape grim beef tenderloin and foie gras. The food tasted as good as it looked. Both meats were perfectly cooked to order and for me I was most happy with the generous serving of foie gras.
To wrap up the meal we ordered the Vilu's signature fondant which everyone on Flyertalk was raving about. We were so stuffed at this point but I obviously had to try it. I wasn't quite what I expected but good nonetheless. The dessert is like a quadruple chocolate threat kind of dish with a chocolate lava cake, dark chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownie and a shot of chocolate mousse with a hint of chipotle. I thoroughly finished and licked up the plate while my girlfriend watched.
There wasn't one bad experience at the restaurants of the Conrad Maldives so there's really no need to worry. If there's one thing I can recommend to you, it's the Maldivian lobster at Rangali Bar. You won't regret it! Enjoy the food out there. Whether you're on a budget or looking to go balls out, there's something for everyone.
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