Situated about 3km north of the CBD of Harare is a suburb called Avondale. At the pivot of this dynamic suburb is its vibrant shopping centre. To get to this place from the CBD of Harare you can use a cab and you will pay $5 or you can go the combi route and pay with 50 cents. A combi is 17 seater public form of transport, the choice is yours.
This ever busy shopping complex has a book shop (Avondale Book Shop) which is filled with a variety of books to satisfy your cognative needs. If you are interested in art The Framing Centre is the place to go to it deals in everything pertaining in framing it sells art supplies and art by local prominent artists. Other shops include Techtools for all your genuine Apple products, TV Sales and Hire to mention a few. When running out cash don’t despair for there is Barclays Bank, Standard Bank and MBCA Bank at your service including their ATMs. There are two large grocery outlets which are Pick n Pay and Bon Marche so when running low in supplies drop by in any of the two.
On gastronomy, there is a wide range to satisfy different pallets and different budgets. First stop is Café Nash. This café is open plan with a large verander facing the car park so one can a full view of people walking on by while enjoying a cool breeze on a hot summers day. The menu is diverse and the theme is an Eastern fusion. From burgers to Caesar salads, fresh juices to milkshakes, filtered coffee, latte, cappuccino to tea, cake to chocolate eclairs, there is a lot to choose from. One will spend$10 to $18 for lunch.Next stop is St Elmos Woodfired Pizza, the name speaks for itself. At this establishment on is greeted with Italian cooking aromas. It has a spacious inside and outside sitting area with an indoor play area designated for children. On the menu you have traditional, deluxe and gourmet pizzas, traditional, deluxe and gourmet pastas, desserts for those with the sweet tooth. If you are on the run they offer a takeaway service next to the sitting area. All pizzas here are wood fired. Prices range from $5 to $18.If you are a sea food lover then you will be like a kid in a candy store at Ocean Basket. Located one floor up guests are ushered from the ground floor entrance to seats of there choices by diligent waiters. Their menu is filled by Mediterranean meals with delicious flavors of the sea. With an array of starters and salads, the likes of oysters, calamari starter, garlic & feta prawns to seared tuna salad. For mains there platters for one and for those who want to share platters to share, you also get a variety of combos and without a doubt plenty of fish dishes. One can enjoy a meal in the main sitting area or on the porch with a bird eye view of the shopping center. Its doors are open Monday to Sunday 11am to 10pm.Sharing the same balcony sitting area and next to Ocean Basket is a place for those with taste buds drooling for Thai dishes is Simply Asia. Here you will find a menu packed full of dishes that a different palates will surely enjoy. The menu ranges from starters, soups, side dishes, Thai dishes, vegetarian, noodles, seafood, kids menu and desserts. When making your order a person chooses the hotness level of the chilli to be applied in ones dish from mild, medium, hot to no chilli at all. There starters range from spring rolls to platters. As for soups you get from prawn tom yum soup to butternut curry soup. Side dishes comprise of steamed rice to egg fried noodles. In there Thai dishes you choose from chicken or beef with a variety from green curry to chicken rotis. Vegetarians can enjoy yellow noodle stir fry to wok fried vegetables. The menu is large and has a noodle section where you also choose chicken or beef and the seafood section where it ranges from seafood curry noodles to prawn pad Thai. Prices range from $11 to $30.
Directly downstairs is Fruit and Veg as its name this place is packed with a variety of fresh colorful fruits and vegetables. Separated by a walk way is Mugg and Bean which is surrounded by table, chairs and large umbrellas. One can see the interior and diners from outside as a result of the beautiful large glass windows. You will not get over the generous portions, there giant muffins and coffee. For those wanting breakfast you can choose from farm house breakfast, a variety of egg benedict, an assortment of scrambled eggs, designer omlettes. Filled croissants to tropical breakfasts with fresh fruit salad, yoghurt and muesli. Sandwiches to burgers, salads to wraps there menu goes across the board and I cannot mention everything, but do drop by and relax while you are in Avondale. Next to them is an ice cream palour that goes by the name Creamy Inn and next to the ice cream parlor is Nandos, for those who like flame grilled chicken. At the back of the shopping center is a huge double story car park, with the top floor being used as a flea market every day of the week. The place is really crowded during the weekend, when people come to walk around and shop. As you walk up the stairs to the shop floor one is greeted by warm smiles and voices ushering you to come into ones stall, “Mukoma (brother) come in and see, I have nice jeans for you today”. Welcome to the world of bargaining, surrounded by predominantly cloth stalls there are also stalls with phones & accessories, children’s toys, game consoles, second hand books, fish tanks & gold fish & various Zimbabwean art and craft. So if you are looking for gifts to take back home this is the place you would want to pick it up from. Some of the artist create there colorful & vibrant paintings on site. Local cuisine is found here at “Pasadza” which is named after the staple food of Zimbabwe sadza (a starch made up from milled corn). Here you will find people from all walks of life enjoying their sadza with different relishes such as t-bone, brisket, roast chicken, sausage, fish, muboora (pumpkin leaves) dherere (okra). Prices range from $3 to $5 and these guys have been serving sadza here for over 15 years, so you are in good hands, they are open from 9am to 6pm.At the end of your day and when you need for beverage therapy, walk or drive across the road to the registered mixologist Pariah State. This establishment is a smoke free environment and does not permit those who are under the age of 21. Open Tuesday to Friday with diverse acts rocking there are stages such as 80’s 90’s mix on a Tuesday, Soul Train on a Wednesday, Phunza Thursday, Old skool on a Friday, Ladies night on a Saturday and Reggae on a Sunday. So the choice is in your hands, listen to music catering for a wide audience while sipping on a beverage of your choice and if you are hungry, there is a mouth watering menu that you can choose from. Pariah State has a huge well stocked bar accompanied by affiant bar and waiter service, serving local and international brews and outstandingly mixed cocktails this is surely the place to end of your day.
So next time you are in Harare do drop by Avondale Shopping Center for a relaxed airy experience.