Pictures: Christian G.E.Schiller with Manager and Owner Herintsoa Dany Rakotoson at Tsiky.
Generally, one can eat exceptionally well in Antananarivo, at very, very reasonable prices. When it comes to wine, you definitely find a very good selection of mainly French and South African wines in virtually all restaurants. Regrettably, many of these restaurants do not serve Malagasy wine, although Madagascar produces its own wine. Of course, the Malagasy wines are no grand cru wines, but wines which I think can compete with the vin de maison you get in a typical Bistro in France.
However, there are exceptions – restaurants in Antanananariov, where you can eat well and enjoy Malagasy wine. I have issued my list of favorites here. One of my favorite restaurants in Antananarivo is Tsiky, a place, where tourists typically do not go and expatriates with a good salary stay away from. But I went there on a regular basis when I used to live in Madagascar and often go there when I am back in Tana. Tsiky is one of my long-time Antananarivo favorites.
Wining and Dining in Madagascar
The food in Madagascar is mainly French-Malagasy. French food ranges from basic Bistro food to high-end Restaurant food. If you like French food, you are just right in Madagascar. You can eat in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, just as well as in Paris, but at considerably lower prices.
The traditional Malagasy food is rice 3 times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a bit of meat or fish, and Analamao (bok choy-type greens). The Malagasy eat this with a spoon and a fork - no knife.
Turning to wine, Madagascar produces wine. This is not well known outside the country. The vineyards are in the Betsileo area in the highlands and total about 800 hectares. This compares with 100.000 hectares in Germany or South Africa. I always try to drink Malagasy wine. The wine tends to be of good quality, but does not reach a level that it could be marketed internationally.
For imported wines, practically nothing was available in the 1980s, when I first set foot on the red island. That changed in the following years and French wine became readily available in supermarkets and restaurants. The most recent development is the influx of South African wine, which began perhaps a decade ago.
Picture: View of Antananarivo from Tsiky
I lived in Antananarivo from 1989 to 1992 and have visited Antananarivo since then on average every other year. My last visit was in 2010. Since the days of my first visit, the restaurant scene in Antananarivo has changed dramatically. As the country has opened up to the rest of the world and has become more flexible vis a vis foreign capital and know-how, a sizable number of new restaurants has emerged in Antananario. At the same time, many of the old-style restaurants are still around.
I have published two lists of Christian G.E. Schiller’s restaurants in Antananarivo. First, a comprehensive list of Antananarivo’s restaurants was released on November 3, 2010 on Schiller Wine. I rated the Antananarivo restaurants from 1 to 5 stars. You find the list here. Second, I published a list of about a dozen restaurants in Antananarivo, where you can eat well and also drink Malagasy wine with your food. Generally, you have to go below the 4 and 5 stars level in order to be served Malagasy wine with your French and/or Malagasy food. You find the list here.
Very charming Malagasy restaurant with an inviting ambiance. When I had lunch there last year, they had piano music. This is not a regular feature, I understand, but quite frequently during lunch. I rate Tsiky as a two-star restaurant.
Picture: Piano Music during lunch time at Tsiky
Tsiky is a restaurant that you do not find in any of the popular guides. But I believe it is one of the best places for French and Malagasy food at budget prices in an environment that has in my view a lot of class. In addition, I find it annoying that all the top restaurants in Antananarivo do not carry any Malagasy wines on their list. Tsiky, by contrast, does not serve any imported wine, but only Malagasy wine.
It has a two pages menu with one page Malagasy food and one page classical French bistro food. As for the former, I can recommend the Romazava for Ariary 7000. Most Malagasy dishes are in this price range. Last time, I had gambas grilles for Ariary 10.000 and my wife a pave de Zebu a la Sauce Roquefort, also for Ariary 10.000. We finished with Banane flambee for Ariary 3.500.
Christian G.E.Schiller having lunch at Tsiky
The wine list is straightforward. No imported wine. Only local wine – Coteaux d’ Ambalavao and Cote de Fianar, red, white, gray and rose, in 0.75 and 0.375 bottles. The Coteaux d’Ambalavao is Ariary 11.000 in the 0.75 liter bottle and the Cote de Fianar Ariary 7.000. Both are produced by the Chinese Chan Fui et Fils. They produce three lines of wine: Coteaux d’Ambalavoa, Cote de Fianar and Beauvallon.
Picture: Cote de Fianar at Tsiky
12 Rue Robin Ramelina - Atsimon'Analakely Antananarivo-Ville 101.
Tél: (+261 20) 22 283 87
Fax: (+261 20) 22 280 61
Manager and Owner: Herintsoa Dany Rakotoson
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