Unarguably a famous safari destination in Africa, Nairobi, Kenya is a fascinating city to visit which boasts of an enchanting tourism scene and a rich cultural heritage. It is famous for being the only city with a national park within it, in the world. Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, is a multicultural city full of expatriates from across Africa and the rest of the world.
Nairobi’s culinary scene has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, with most cuisines represented by its ever-growing roster of restaurants, cafés, and bars. This bustling city has a diverse restaurant culture. Nairobi’s best dining experiences range from roadside food stalls to five-star fine dining establishments. Don’t miss local specialties such as Nyama Choma (grilled goat meat), Mahindi choma (roasted corn), Mutura (African blood sausage) and Ugali just to mention a few. Whatever you’re craving, you’ll find it in Nairobi.
Here is our pick of the city’s top restaurants and eateries to fulfill your taste buds:
Adorned with colorful Kenyan fabrics and hand-painted murals, Nyama Mama is an unpretentious, fun, modern day African roadside diner. Nyama Mama has three outlets: on Capital centre, Mombasa Road, Village market, Limuru road and the other in Delta towers, Westlands. All serve classic local dishes, including chapati wraps and ugali chips, flame-grilled meats, and stew pots (think goat curry, or chicken in cassava and coconut). International options like burgers and quesadillas are on offer, and vegetarians are well-catered for, too. The inspiration for Nairobi’s Nyama Mama phenomenon comes from Mama herself, a one-time exclusive Safari lodge chef in East & West Africa who left the safari circuit to open up a modern take on a traditional roadside dinner.
Inti – A Nikkei Experience
Located on the 21st Floor, One Africa Place, next to Delta Towers, Waiyaki Way, INTI is the first Nikkei restaurant in Africa.
The INTI experience centers around the finest Nikkei cuisine. The restaurant celebrates the marriage of Japanese & Peruvian fare in a unique contemporary urban environment in the heart of Nairobi.
Nikkei cuisine was born in 1889 when Japanese farmers moved to Peru to work in sugar cane fields. Lacking many of their traditional ingredients, they began using Japanese cooking techniques with Peruvian ingredients they could find locally. This gave birth to an inspiring and unique cuisine known as Nikkei.
Amidst INTI’s contemporary urban décor, feast on Japanese classics like sashimi, sushi, and robata, all prepared with uniquely Peruvian ingredients and served with artistic flair on coal black plates. Playful takes on the Peruvian pisco sour and chilcano cocktails take center stage on the drink’s menu, with a supporting cast of imported wines from all over the world.
Mawimbi Sea Food Restaurant
Mawimbi Seafood Restaurant & Cafe is a fine dining restaurant located on the corner of Harry Thuku Road and Kijabe Street, Nairobi.
With a modern interior aesthetic designed to simulate a tropical vacation, every moment and feeling is curated to guarantee total relaxation. Mawimbi sea food restaurant is famous for its fresh and inventive seafood and the quality of its cuisine. With a Crudo Bar for fans of raw dishes like oysters and ceviche, this fine dining restaurant also offers up tempura lobster and panko king prawns, seafood tagliolini, and salmon Thai curry.
Honey and Dough
Honey and Dough is situated in the One Africa building (same as INTI) with far-reaching views across the city. Honey & Dough provides a modern gourmet café experience with delicious healthy, multi-cuisine food. The menu is extensive with Indian, Asian, Italian, Mexican and western influences, there is plenty on offer for vegetarians and some vegan dishes.
Mercado Mexican Kitchen and Bar
Mercado has won a huge number of awards for both its cocktails and its food. With a curated menu helmed by gourmet experts from Mexico, who use home-grown and organic ingredients to revive ancient cooking techniques with a lively modern twist, Mercado is undoubtedly one of the best Mexican restaurants in Africa. The menu includes all the classics, ceviche, little taco cones filled with veggies, tostadas, quesadillas, burritos, mole, tacos and fajitas. The ingredients are local and Mercado switches up some of the classic Mexican dishes with crunchy veggies, and shrimp: think tortilla cones filled with aubergine and corn, tacos pilled high with mushrooms, chilli and cheese, and tamales stuffed with Mayan chicken. It’s located in Kenrail Towers, Terrace (T) Floor, South Wing, next to 9 West Building, Westlands, Nairobi.
Fogo Gaucho is an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse that offers the most delectable selection of charcoal grilled meats that go along with a full buffet to choose from all for a set price per person, all you can eat. This concept in Brazil is referred to as Rodizio.
The full buffet offers different cuts of meat ranging from chicken and beef, to crocodile meat. The meat is accompanied by over 20 different salads, sides, and desserts, all of which are yours to enjoy for an affordable set price.
There are two branches to choose from: One in Viking House, Westlands and the other in Galana Plaza, Kilimani.
Located in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, the Carnivore Restaurant is a meat-lovers paradise. Serving Kenya’s famous Nyama Choma (barbecued meat), it has twice held the honor of being named “one of the best restaurants in the world”. It is must stop on your African safari.
The Carnivore has been an icon for tourists, expats and locals for decades. At the entrance is a huge barbecue pit laden with real swords of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and farmed game meats such as crocodile and ostrich. It’s a memorable night out.
Carnivore’s specialty is meat, and features an all-you-can-eat meat buffet. The all you can eat meat buffet is called The Beast of a Feast. This includes four courses: soup, salad, meats, and dessert. The barbecued meats are the main attraction. Served are various cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and lamb as well as farm-raised ostrich and crocodile. One can choose instead to order off a menu with dishes such as chicken pot pie, beef and pork ribs, burgers, and sandwiches.
UK magazine Restaurant named Carnivore one of the 50 best restaurants in the world in 2002 and 2003, when you could dine here on exotic game meats. Its legend seemed assured. In recent years, however, strict new hunting laws mean that zebra, hartebeest, kudu and the like are now off the menu, and you have to be content with camel, ostrich and crocodile in addition to more standard offerings.
There is also a signature cocktail called dawa. Dawa means medicine in Kiswahili but it tastes much better than any medicine. It is composed of a healthy shot of vodka, lime, sugar, and crushed ice.
From street food to fine dining, Nairobi’s food scene is outstanding – in both quality and variety.
You can also top up your experience over a cup of Gold Coffee at the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi.
Expertly made using Kenyan coffee beans and formed milk that is blended with 24-carat edible gold, the drink is served on a golden china set. Unlike anything you’ve ever tasted in Nairobi, this cappuccino will make you feel like a real royalty.
Served in a gold cup and adorned with Italian edible rose petals, this Gold Coffee is the epitome of luxury and an inspiration of wealth and health.