Whether you’re in the mood for something refined or relaxing, Nairobi has it all. Could this be the gastronomic hub of East Africa? We certainly think so!
Please trust us when we say that going on safari without including at least one night in Nairobi would be a mistake. You may already know about the many wonderful experiences to be had in and around the city but perhaps, even more importantly, why chance missing out on what is fast becoming one of the most vibrant food scenes in Africa? With influences all the way from Ecuador to Japan – but always with a distinctive Swahili touch – it was near impossible to whittle down the list of must-do restaurants. Nevertheless, here is our current shortlist of Nairobi’s best dinner eateries.
Exciting cuisine, incredible views and gorgeous design all wrapped into one – INTI is Nairobi’s first Nikkei restaurant (and in fact, the first in Africa). High up on the 20th floor of One Africa Place on Waiyaki Way, INTI boasts incredible views of the city lights. A combination of Japanese and Peruvian fare, the style of cooking first emerged in the late 19th century when Japanese farmers moved to Peru to work on sugar cane farms. Unable to find many of their familiar ingredients, they turned to Peruvian produce but retained their traditional cooking methods. Come early to toast the sunset with a Japanese craft cocktail, and then dine on ceviche and tiradito (Peruvian sashimi) prepared with Kenyan seafood, with the zing of lime, chilli, and soy.
Located in Westlands, INTI is best for guests staying at Villa Rosa Kempinksi.
Mawimbi Seafood Restaurant
Meaning ‘waves’ in Kiswahili, Mawimbi Seafood Restaurant near Nairobi’s central business district evokes the ambiance of an island holiday. With its heavily palmed entrance and white-washed walls and fresh produce flown in daily from the Kenyan coast, the tropical theme carries through to every dish. Delicious seafood prepared by Ecuadorian executive chef Carlos Espindola features both African and Latin American influences. Who can resist an elegant and refreshing ceviche, followed by ‘The Poseidon’, a platter piled high with lobster, fish, prawns, calamari, oysters, and octopus, served with a dazzling choice of cocktails with background live jazz?
Located in Nairobi’s Central Business District, Mawimbi is ideal for guests staying at Villa Rosa Kempinski.
Originally planned as a pop-up restaurant to make the most of an abundant season of crops organically farmed in Langata, fans of Cultiva simply couldn’t get enough. Now a permanent fixture, Cultiva is the brainchild of another Ecuadorian kitchen maestro, Ariel Moscardi, who loves to showcase the very best freshest produce from farm-to-table. The menu changes regularly and is a great choice for vegans and vegetarians, but there is heaps to keep carnivores happy, too. The on-site bakery prepares delicious sourdough breads and the ice-cream shop delights gelato lovers with combinations such as caramel, bacon and peanuts, and sesame and Canadian bourbon made with all-natural ingredients and vanilla beans grown in Uganda.
Located in Karen, Culitva is perfect for guests staying at Hemingway’s, Giraffe Manor and Eden.
Seven Seafood & Grill
You may have heard of the celebrity executive chef at this much-loved restaurant, Kenyan Kiran Jethwa. Kiran has feautured on cooking shows on Nat Geo, Channel 4 and the Food Network. At Seven Seafood & Grill, his creative Indo-Mediterranean cooking style showcases the very best Kenyan produce – freshly flown-in fish, crayfish, prawns and oysters from the coast and the finest local beef. The combination of fish and meat is likely to make most happy, with platters showcasing both and a range of vegetarian options for those who don’t like either. Before heading home, end the evening off with one of the ‘Dangerous Ice Cream Cocktails’ or ‘Boozey Coffees’.
Located in Westlands, Seven Seafood & Grill is suited for guests staying at Villa Rosa Kempinksi.
While the concept of Fogo Gaucho may be Brazilian it is undeniable that Nairobians have a deep love for nyama choma, or grilled meat. It comes as no surprise that the Brazilian tradition of a churrascaria would be a huge success in this city of meat-lovers. Serving up 17 cuts of meat every day – each cooked to perfection over open coals and carved off steel skewers – Fogo Gaucho has an all-you-can-eat offering, so maybe consider skipping lunch before your visit. On the table, you’ll find a token which you will turn to green when you want the waiters to bring on the meat and turn to red when you need a break. Make sure to leave some space for their famous grilled pineapple with cinnamon sugar for dessert.
Located in Westlands, Fogo Gaucho is convenient for guests staying at Villa Rosa Kempinski.