In Maputo, the culinary scene is generally a blend of Portuguese, South African and Mozambican influences. During the day, the city comes alive with street side cafes serving rich espresso, pastries and omelets. In the evenings, a wide range of restaurants light up, serving everything from authentic Italian through to Portuguese tapas. And of course, in between the handful of internationally-styled restaurants are a slew of local Mozambican restaurants that serve perfected roast chicken with a peri-peri hot sauce and plenty of seafood. Overall, Maputo offers a modest but entirely sufficient spread of restaurants that will generally cater to most budgets and tastes.
Outside the capital, options are a bit more limited. You can generally expect to find a few local eateries and some locally run restaurants that serve a fusion of Mozambican and Western dishes.
*Xima is very similar to the starches that act as a staple in other African countries. They have a similar texture and taste to pap (South Africa), ugali (East Africa) or fufu and banku (Ghana).
Vegetarianism is not widely practiced by local Mozambicans. Meat is seen as a luxury, and will often be served to guests. Local restaurants also tend to be very chicken and seafood-orientated.
That said, there are still a number of vegetarian friendly options. Many of the Asian and Indian restaurants in Maputo have good vegetarian dishes, and most Italian restaurants will have a few meat-free pizzas and pastas. It is also possible to request matapa be prepared without the shellfish, or to have xima with a meat-free soup.
As an expat, it is expected that you will leave a tip of some kind on your bill. At small restaurants, extra change is usually acceptable. In more high-end restaurants, expect to tip 10 - 15%.
Formal fast food chains in Mozambique are extremely limited. Instead, you can rely on a series of small chicken shops located readily throughout the country for quick and greasy meals. Examples include:
Alcohol in Mozambique is readily available, no matter where you are in the country. In Maputo, you can find a good range of domestic and imported beers. Outside of Maputo and other major cities, your options are more limited.
In Mozambique, the legal age for drinking is 18 - though this is not strictly enforced. Drinking and driving is illegal but - again - there is much room for improvement in terms of how this law is enforced.
Be aware that in the more Muslim-dominated north, rules and regulations around alcohol can vary in more conservative communities.