From the bustling city centre of Nairobi to the port and beaches of Mombasa, Kenyan cuisine reflects the diversity of its people and its various cultural influences stemming back to the Indian Ocean trade. Whether it’s traditional nyama choma (meat roasted over charcoal) served with ugali (maize-meal cake), seafood with exotic spices, or hot Indian curries, the local cuisine is varied and full of flavour. Here are 10 great Kenyan restaurants, each reflecting a part of the country’s rich food and culinary culture.
Housed in a natural coral cave with interlinked chambers, Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant is an exceptional fine dining destination specialising in seafood and international cuisine. However, the menu is not limited to seafood, and cooks up a range of delicious dishes such as Madagascan steak; roast duck served in classic orange and brandy sauce, and baked feta, spinach, potato and dill pie. Named after the cave where the legendary Ali Baba and the 40 thieves hid their treasure, the cave is thought to be up to 180,000 years old, with measured depths of 10 metres below ground level. The dimly candle-lit interior opens up to the sky through natural holes in the cave’s roof crust, making this venue perfect for a mysterious romantic dinner under the stars.
Situated on the northern coast of Kenya, the Moorings is one of the oldest and most well-known seafood restaurants in Mombasa. The restaurant comes in the form of a floating platform with a thatched roof. Peacefully resting on the Mtwapa creek, the Moorings provides an extraordinary calm waterfront setting with an idyllic view of the creek and its bordering mangroves. Take time to pick from the restaurant’s large choice of fabulous seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes, and wood-fired pizzas. Opt for the lobster thermidor, oven-baked crab, jumbo prawns in pilipili sauce or the mouth-watering seafood platter. The restaurant also has its dhow for a spectacular sunset cruise, offering pre-dinner guests a chance to explore the serene creek while indulging in yummy finger food and fancy cocktails.