A tropical island in the warm Indian Ocean off the coast of mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar is a place full of history and multicultural heritage. It offers endless wonderful experiences for travelers, including dining out in Arabian style houses, on rooftop terraces or even on a rock in the ocean. Enjoy eating out on the Spice Island with our hand-picked guide of the ten restaurants not to miss in Zanzibar.
The Rock is probably one of the most scenic restaurants in Africa. Literally located on a rock in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, this restaurant is one of the most renowned in Zanzibar and a high-end stop for those who wish to enjoy fresh seafood recipes in exotic settings. Formerly a fishermans’ post, the restaurant has only 12 tables that are filled fast, so consider making reservations to be sure you get the best seats in the house. The menu is based on the abundant seafood available, serving delicacies such as octopus salad, seafood spaghetti, squid and queen prawns alongside vegetarian dishes and special children’s menus.
Located in a former 19th-century Swahili sultan’s palace, which is today a trendy hostel also popular with the occasional celebrity, Emerson Spice Cafe has a reputation for being one of the best restaurants in Zanzibar. Serving dinner on its rooftop Tea House is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the warm colors of the sunset, but consider making timely reservations as this small restaurant gets booked up very fast. The menu includes lobster on green papaya salad, Tambi prawns with grilled mango or coconut chili king fish baked in banana leafs.
Emerson Spice Café, Tharia Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania, +255 755 046 395
This must-try restaurant is located on the rooftop of the second tallest building in Stone Town after the Sultan’s Palace, the House of Wonders. Offering unique panoramic sights to the Indian Ocean and the surrounding mosques, the House of Hurumzi has its share of mystery and legends some even relating its name to black slaves’ freedom. Restored to its past glory after decades of oblivion, Hurumzi House functions today as a small hotel, its rooftop restaurant being one of the best locations in town to enjoy the exotic and unforgettable view of Stone Town and a fresh seafood-based menu.
For those looking to mix the seafood cuisine of Zanzibar with European-style dishes while visiting this small piece of tropical paradise, Loulou is the perfect choice. This restaurant is a unique presence in this African culinary landscape. Offering a Belgian-based menu, Loulou brings to the table some of the best-known gastronomical products of this country, from classical waffles and chocolate mousse prepared with imported Belgian chocolate to Blanc Bleu Belge steaks.
Abyssinian Maritim is a traditional Ethiopian restaurant in the heart of Stone Town and the go-to place for visitors who want to discover as much as possible about the tastes of Africa. This thematic restaurant adopts the Ethiopian custom of eating with your fingers as well as the plate sharing approach, a traditional symbol of friendship and loyalty. Among its specialties, you can try the Ethiopian bread injera and Maritim’s renowned fresh-roasted coffee.
Abyssinian Maritim, Vuga Roundabout, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania, +255 772 940 556