(Last updated Sept 2017)
Harare coffee shops, cafés and restaurants should feature more on the tourism radar. They’re independent, open-air jewels in the city’s landscape, very different to their overseas counterparts, which can feel generic, dark and overcrowded.
Listen to local ladies-who-lunch discuss their children’s rugby games, or eavesdrop on entrepreneurs pitching their latest ideas to investors. Try a freshly squeezed smoothie with Zimbabwean-grown fruits (to make you feel virtuous) accompanied by a slice of home-baked chocolate cake (just because it’s delicious).
Here’s a list of some of my favourite coffee shops around Harare. I’ve added hyperlinks to their Facebook pages so that you can check their opening hours and exact locations. Children’s facilities are indicated in green text. Average prices were as follows in August 2017 (but obviously this varies with establishment): Cappuccino $2; Slice of cake $3; Burger with fries and salad $11; Pizza $12.
My favourite Harare coffee shops and cafés
Location: Carrick Creagh Rd, Quinnington/Helensvale. Facebook page.
An excellent place for breakfast or lunch. Freshly-made pancakes, muffins and smoothies make this place a real treat, and it is a quiet, secluded location. There’s also a children’s play area and a lovely view of the on-site plant nursery, making this feel like a country retreat.
Location: Maasdorp Avenue, Belgravia. Facebook page.
Visit The Bottom Drawer on a weekday at 1pm and you’ll find a garden restaurant that is humming with people. Businessmen meeting their clients, friends out for a girly lunch … this place is extremely popular. The portions are generous, the menu is varied, and the food is fresh. Plus, there are chickens and cats meandering around the lawn, and a children’s play area. What more could you ask for?
Location: Golden Stairs Road, Emerald Hill. Facebook page.
Hidden at the bottom of a plant nursery, there is a little restaurant with a huge amount of personality. Its decor and style really sets it apart from most other Harare cafes, from the chandeliers to vintage French music chiming from the eaves. Pay it a visit and see for yourself. Their chocolate cake is the most decadent thing I’ve eaten in ages. There are gardens for children to play in.
Location: Hurworth Road/Enterprise Road, Highlands. Facebook page.
This venue has quickly become one of the most popular Harare coffee shops. Whether you visit by day or by night, it’s always busy. My little one particularly enjoyed the children’s play area, and I liked the fact that I could enjoy my enormous slice of cake in peace.
Location: Willowmead Junction, Rolf Avenue, Rolf Valley. Facebook page.
A firm favourite among Hararians, this open-air cafe is another example of the healing powers of freshly-baked goodies and natural decor. Has a children’s play area.
Location: Drew Road, Chisipite. Facebook page.
This place is so stylish that it made me feel like I was one of the cool kids. By night it’s a bar and restaurant, by day it’s a relaxed cafe with generous freshly-baked food. What with the bottomless coffee and the boutique decor, I never wanted to leave. Enough space for children to play on the grass.
Location: Sam Levy’s Village, Borrowdale Road, Borrowdale. Facebook page.
Located at one of the main entrance of this popular outdoor shopping centre, Pistachio’s is modern and fresh. Enjoy one of their speciality French pastries or sweet treats, and embrace the art of people-watching.
Location: Seagrave Road, Mt Pleasant. Facebook page.
A reliable and central venue to meet for lunch or coffee. They also make one of the best fresh lemonades in Harare (believe me, I’ve tried a lot of lemonades in Harare coffee shops). Has a children’s play area.
Location: Fisher Avenue, Harare. Facebook page.
Although wood-fired pizzas are their fortè, they make a mean cup of coffee, and their cheesecake is out of this world.
Location: Same Levy’s Village, Borrowdale Road, Borrowdale. Facebook page.
Traditional English bacon & eggs, American flapjacks, Canadian French toast, Spanish quesadilla, Italian frittata, French eggs Benedict … and that’s just the breakfast menu. A piazza-style eatery that has become a firm favoutie in the Harare brunch scene.
Location: Chisi Walk, Shortheath Rd, Chisipite. Facebook page.
This farmhouse-style restaurant was originally a popular stopover between Harare and Kariba, but now it’s a little easier to get to, at a shopping oasis in Harare, called Chisi Walk. Situated in a converted house, it’s a relaxing place to have lunch, where you can look out over the green lawns and children’s play area.
Location: Quorn Avenue, Arundel. Facebook page.
Originally a Belgian chocolaterie, the Veldemeer’s name has expanded in Arudel Village Shopping Centre to include a decadent café. Visit for a light meal, pressed juice or freshly-baked pastry.
Two locations: Village Walk, Borrowdale Road; and Avondale Shopping Centre, King George Road. Facebook page.
Location: Cork Road, Avondale. Facebook page. Has a children’s play area.
Location: Kensington Shopping Centre, Connaught Road, Kensington. Facebook page.
Location: Travel Plaza, Josiah Chinamano & Mazowe Street, City Centre. Facebook page.
Location: Meikles Hotel, Third Street and Jason Moyo Avenue, City Centre. Facebook page.
Location: Cork Road, Avondale. Facebook page.
Location: Sam Levy’s Village, Piers Rd Entrance, Borrowdale. Facebook page.
Two locations: Sam Levy’s Village, Piers Road entrance; and Avondale Shopping Centre, King George Road. Facebook page.
Location: Argyle Road, Avondale. Facebook page.
Many of Harare’s restaurants also serve coffee and light meals, so please check out my article on Harare’s best restaurants too. Note that some restaurants and coffee shops in Zimbabwe are closed on Mondays, so check their Facebook page before you visit.
Places to visit in Harare: Top sights and activities
Harare travel guide: Everything you need to know
Day trips from Harare: Includes overnight accommodation
Read more posts about food and drink in Zimbabwe