Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is a multicultural city and a booming centre for foodies. The culinary scene in Nairobi is slowly rising in popularity because of the different expatriates residing in the city. Coming from across Africa and all around the globe, Nairobi’s dishes are full of diversity.
New cafes, restaurants, and bars are popping up almost weekly in Nairobi. It has resulted in assorted dining cultures. From local delicacies to five-star cuisine, one can’t help but be surprised by all that Nairobi’s restaurants have to offer.
Whether you are craving native specialties like nyama choma and kebabs or international cuisines like sushi and pizza, Nairobi’s restaurants are sure to deliver.
From vegan eateries to rooftop cafés and garden restaurants serving global cuisine, here are the top 6 Nairobian restaurants you should not miss out on:
1. Nyama Mama, best for Kenyan cuisine
Nyama Mama serves authentic Kenyan as well as African cuisine. The restaurant is furnished with Kenyan fabrics and hand-painted murals. It is a fun and vibrant place to visit, spotting bright colours and unique decor.
Vegetarian and non-vegetarian items such as samosas, ugali fries, and coconut-crusted calamari are available. For a fulfilling meal, you can dine on chapati wraps and stew pots made from goat or chicken meat.
There are international options, including quesadillas, burgers, and a variety of delicious desserts. One of the best-served foods at Nyama Mama is lentil dal, chapati, and a preferred side such as seasonal vegetables.
2. Talisman, best for international cuisine
According to The New York Times, Talisman is one of the top restaurants in Nairobi. This high-end gastro lounge serves some of the best cuisines you can find in the city.
Talisman’s interiors are decorated with Middle Eastern draperies, Kenyan crafts, beautiful artwork from local artists, and plentiful Kitengela glass. The restaurant is perfect for candle-lit dinners, especially those enjoyed in the gorgeous gardens lit by lanterns and coal pit fires.
The menu at Talisman consists of Pan-Asian, European, and African fusion. Steaks, scrumptious burgers, authentic sushi, and Zanzibari fish soup poke bowls are some of the famous dishes served. However, one of the most recommended items on the menu is the feta and coriander samosas and Malindi Indian halwa.
For enthusiastic foodies, Talisman also hosts a series of regular exhibitions featuring African art, food events, and live music shows.
3. Hashmi BBQ, best for Indian barbecue
Hashmi BBQ is a family-run joint located in Nakumatt Ukay, Nairobi’s famous mall. Despite the simplistic atmosphere and seating, what sets the restaurant apart is the appetising food.
The joint specialises in Indian BBQ, with signature dishes like Chooza chicken with sauce, Khima (minced meat) chapati, and spicy poussin chips. There are paneer, egg, and meat rolls available, as well as classic shawarmas and grills. You can enjoy drinks like fresh juices and faluda, an Indian cold dessert made with noodles.
Hashmi BBQ generously marinates the food and slowly cooks it to give it the perfect Indian taste.
4. Tamarind, best for Kenyan seafood
Tamarind is located in Karen and is prominent for being one of the leading seafood restaurants in Nairobi. The restaurant resembles the bygone Arab era, built with high arches and an elegant interior.
Tamarind’s menu consists of Asian, French, and African cuisines. The extensive collection of seafood and meat dishes made from the finest ingredients is what attracts tourists to Tamarind. Favourites cited by locals include garlic jumbo prawns, deep-fried crab claws, and tasty lobster.
If you are not a fan of seafood, the restaurant has meat and vegetarian selections that are equally exceptional and delicious.
5. The Carnivore, best for Nyama choma
If you are looking for the best eatery that serves Nyama Choma in Nairobi, your search ends here. The Carnivore provides one of the best dining experiences involving a variety of grilled meat, or Nyama Choma.
The open-air restaurant is spacious, comfortable, and surrounded by wilderness. A sanctuary of meat grilled and cooked to perfection, the food here will leave you craving for more. It specialises in assorted meats such as goat, chicken, pork, whole beef, lamb, spare ribs, ostrich, and even crocodile.
The unusual selection and sheer variety of meat in The Carnivore attract hordes of guests to try out their delicacy. The Nyama Choma is cooked and roasted over traditional Maasai community swords. Aside from specialised meat, salads, vegetable side dishes, continental cuisine, and more are available.
6. Abyssinia, Best for Ethiopian cuisine
Among the several Ethiopian restaurants in Nairobi, Abyssinia tops the list. It is considered to be the finest place to enjoy a flavourful Ethiopian meal.
Tucked away in a suburb, Abyssinia has a minimalistic interior and a relaxing ambiance. The outdoor setting, shaded by large trees, enhances the dining experience further.
Offering meat, seafood, sizzling tubs, fir fir, vegetarian dishes, and house specialties, there is a lot to choose from. The restaurant is also known for its generous portions of food, guaranteed to leave you satisfied.
The food is cooked in a traditional Ethiopian style to not miss out on its authentic flavour.
Nairobi has some of the top restaurants that offer a range of delicacies. From international to local and even fusion, they cater to everyone’s taste. Don’t forget to head over to these restaurants during your Kenyan trip and try out the variety of cuisines they offer.
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