Places To Eat In Kenya
Tin Roof Cafe
Tucked away off a dusty road in a suburb of Nairobi, the Tin Roof Café at the Souk is a gorgeous little place with floral cushions, spindly garden chairs, tin pots of wildflowers, and mismatched pictures on the walls.
The shelves are filled with books and board games, and large blackboards list the delicious array of food and drink on offer, from Ottolenghi-style salads to sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, and juices galore. Explore a bit further inside to find a bookstore, a housewares shop, and a jewelry shop.
Lost your velvet bathrobe? Don’t worry—they sell them here. The café’s offbeat charm has proven so popular that a second location opened on Langata Road.
Trout Tree Restaurant
Set in a huge tree just south of Nanuki, about 3 hour’s drive from Kenya’s capital Nairobi, is the Trout Tree. It’s a spectacular place with a series of decks jutting out from the enormous tree, monkeys swinging through the branches, and giant ponds filled with trout below.
There are only a couple of vegetarian options available, but for character alone, this place is worth a visit, even if you don’t eat fish.
Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant
This romantic and quirky restaurant, set in a cave on the beach in Diani, is definitely splurge-worthy. The menu is a little pricey but includes a tasty range of dishes, from crepes and pasta to seafood. Book a table at the mouth of the cave so you can see the stars overhead and the candles flickering inside among the cave’s spiny stalagmites.
Diani, a popular resort on the Kenyan coast, has an expansive white sandy beach, boutique hotels, and cozy vacation cottages. After dinner, wander next door for a nightcap at Forty Thieves, a beach bar with pool tables and seating out on the sand.
A high-end gastropub set in the green suburb of Karen, Talisman serves some of the best food in Nairobi. The ginger teriyaki tofu, in particular, is delicious, and the menu offers a wide variety to tempt all kinds of palates.
Talisman is great for romantic dinners, especially those enjoyed in the pretty gardens lit by coal fire pits, lanterns, and candles.
Be sure to book ahead—and note that the restaurant has a calendar of live music and events, so call in advance to see what’s on. An Escape Room experience just opened next door, so a perfect evening could mean a daring breakout followed by a candlelit meal.
About Thyme Restaurant
About Thyme is a tranquil, leafy restaurant set in Westlands, central Nairobi, serving European cuisine. Brunch here is excellent – three pages of eggs, French toast, and bagel options await.
It’s a great place to go with a group, where you can book out one of the hidden tables, fitted with its own hanging fairy lights, cushions, and lanterns.
The River Café
The River Café is situated right in the middle of the huge Karura Forest, a tranquil swath of wilderness in the middle of the city. The dining area, on a large expanse of wooden deck under an open-sided canvas roof, gets extra atmospheric charm from the surrounding forest treetops and plants.
The menu is varied, with a good vegetarian section as well as light bites and more indulgent meals. The French onion soup and the salads are recommended.
This place gets busy on the weekends when Nairobians stop in for brunch after church or a walk around the forest, so book in advance.
Modern and trendy Urban Eatery is a popular restaurant that only opened about a year ago in Nairobi. There’s always a good atmosphere here, as the kitchens open out onto the restaurant area filling the room with the sizzles and delicious smells of food to come.
The menu is quite literally overwhelming, with Thai, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Sushi, and everything in between available, but it’s a fun evening picking and choosing from the different options.
Chowpaty, Nairobi’s best vegetarian restaurant, serves outrageously tasty dishes from across the Indian subcontinent. On arrival, customers are presented first with a small bowl of warm water to wash their hands in and then with the epic menu.
The best item on the menu is the dahi puri: Crispy puffed puri shells are filled with Bombay mix (a crunchy snack mix) and then drizzled with a sweet and sour sauce. Many items on the menu can also be made vegan—just ask.
Chowpaty has several locations around town, but the most popular sits in the courtyard at Diamond Plaza, a bustling shopping mall where the Indian community comes for fabrics, clothing, electrical goods, and supermarkets.