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10 Restaurants You Need To Try in Nairobi, Kenya

Picture of Trishna Shah
Trishna Shah
Updated: 9 February 2017
Nairobi’s multicultural restaurant scene is attracting cutting-edge, globe-traveling culinary talent. Kenya’s bustling capital is already renowned for its innovative fashion designers, stunning landscapes and tea and coffee trade, but it should also be recognized for its fast-growing foodie culture. From slow-cooked Indian BBQ to sushi with a view, here are the ten best spots to eat in Nairobi.
Nairobi Skyline
Nairobi City | © DEMOSH/Flickr

Hashmi BBQ

This family-run Indian BBQ joint is located within Nairobi’s ever-popular mall, Nakumatt Ukay. Hashmi’s boasts a divine take on Indian BBQ with must-try dishes including the chooza chicken with  sauce, the fish tikka eaten with fiery poussin chips, and the khima chapatti served with a generous helping of garden salad. The food is deliciously spicy and not recommended for the fainthearted. With simple interiors and affordable dishes, it’s no surprise that Hashmi’s is always heaving. Expect queues during weekends.

Hashmi BBQ, Nakumatt Ukay Shopping Complex, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)722 487 000

Tamarind

Located in picturesque Karen, home to the sought-after Kitengela glass-blowers and local wildlife park, Tamarind cooks up the best in Kenyan seafood. The menu is continental and offers an extensive selection of seafood and meat dishes. Local favorites include deep-fried crab claws and garlic jumbo prawns. The elegant and serene space is inviting and perfect for sampling a cold glass of a South African sauvignon blanc. Don’t be put off if you’re not a fan of seafood, Tamarind’s vegetarian and meat selection are widely recognized as being equally exceptional.

Tamarind, Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Karen Road, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)733 603 605

 

Misono

Misono is Nairobi’s choice of all things Japanese: sushi, sashimi and local favorite teppenyaki. Situated in the bustling heart of Ngong, this family-run gem oozes a sophisticated and indulgent dining experience. The downstairs is equipped with three teppenyaki tables, while the upstairs à la carte seating is elegant and refined. Try the local lobster from Lake Naivasha that features on the six-course teppenyaki menu or the dynamite and California rolls to order.

Misono, Ground Floor, The Green House, Ngong Rd, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)722 530 204

Soi

Take ex-Nahm chef, Morten Bojstrup Nielsen, and Nairobi’s new boutique hotel, Dusit D2, and you have Nairobi’s most refined Thai offering. Soi prides itself on its unique tribute to the authentic Thai. You’ll fine superb dishes such as slow-cooked ribs in aromatic green curry, and passion fruit panna cotta with lychee marshmallow. Located in the posh Riverside, the innovative food served is at the forefront of Nairobi’s fine dining scene.

Soi at Dusit D2, 4 Riverside, off Riverside Drive, Nairobi 41596, Kenya, +254 (0)20 423 3000

Tatu

Grilled Kenyan Angus beef and seafood off the Mombasa Coastline are the order of the day at Tatu Steakhouse. A beautiful contrast to the historic setting of the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel in which it is based, the open-plan kitchen and minimalist African decor create a contemporary stage for its food. With its newly opened patio, the Kenyan sunshine is the best way to enjoy Tatu’s specialty ostrich steak cooked medium rare with chunky fries and a cold Tusker beer. Alternatively, the cocktail a delicious alternative anytime of the day.

Tatu at Fairmont Norfolk, Harry Thuku Rd, CBD, Nairobi, Kenya +254 (0)711 222 222

J’s Fresh Bar

J’s Fresh Bar pays homage to the British gastropub. Situated in Ngong, it has got local foodies talking excitedly over the beautifully executed smoked paprika scotch eggs, battered fish and chips and Szechuan-peppered squid with roasted garlic aioli. Decorated with minimalist wooden interiors and colored Kenyan Kitengela glass, the atmosphere is laid back and cozy. Sit by the bar and let the barman work his magic to the smooth backdrop of J’s Fresh Bar’s in-house DJ.

J’s Fresh Bar, Ngong Road, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)703 576 680

 

Maru’s Bhajia Cafe

For the ultimate savory fast food, Maru’s Bhajia Cafe hits the spot. It was originally established as a drive-thru on River Road, capitalizing on the hoards of coach passengers to Mombasa; however, Maru’s Bhajia Café has now settled exceedingly well into it’s new home in the hustle and bustle of Diamond Plaza. Expect good, simple food such as crunchy turmeric yellow bhajia’s served on paper plates adorned with lashings of tomato chutney and tamarind. Wash this down with a cold glass of fresh tree tomato juice from the food court.

Maru’s Bhajia’s, Diamond Plaza, Masari Rd, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)721 306 100

 

Chicken Biryani
Chicken Biryani | © taekwonweirdo/Flickr

AA Mithaiwalla

It’s all about biryani and mithai’s at AA Mithaiwalla, one of Nairobi’s few long-standing culinary establishments. Founded over 50 years ago by Abdulahi Alibhai Mithaiwalla, his son, Shabir takes pride in continuing the family legacy. This is a welcoming eatery loved by the locals in Pangani for its array of affordable sweet and savory Indian treats. Favorites like lamb biryani and malai ka khaja offer up a taste of traditional Mughlai cuisine preserved by the founder’s own Indian heritage. This quaint hot spot, ten minutes from the CBD, is best for impromptu takeaways and casual dining.

AA Mithaiwalla, Pangani Shopping Center, Ngara, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)720 129 873

Mambo Italia

Making their own gelato on site, this beautiful Italian restaurant is all about tasty, no fuss dining. Hidden within the Lavington Curve Mall, you’ll find long wooden tables, colorful chairs, and an open-plan kitchen. The menu takes Italian classics and re-invents dishes as inspired by local Swahili cuisine. Try the Swahili beach pizza adorned with a coconut curry sauce and finished with coriander and red onion. If you’ve still got room for dessert, the refreshing chocolate and fresh mint gelato is delightful.

Mambo Italia, Lavington Curve Mall, Lavington, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)719 468 885

Talisman

The New York Times has proclaimed Talisman Nairobi’s best restaurant. Its interior comprises Middle Eastern tapestry and Kenyan craft, and Talisman is the place to go for unrivaled candle-lit al fresco dining. It plays host to a series of regular exhibitions on African art and hosts monthly foodie events. The continental menu stretches from Japan to Zanzibar, Limuru to Mombasa. Start with the feta and coriander samosa’s doused in chili-ginger jam, followed by the deluxe burger layered with apple slaw, bacon and cheese, and finish with smooth and spicy Turkish coffee paired with famous Malindi Indian halwa. Booking is highly recommended.

Talisman, Ngong Road, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya, +254 (0)705 999 997