The appreciation for local culinary delights is on the rise in many Kenyan towns which is a welcome change from the dominance of fast food chains and restaurants serving international cuisine. Unlike in the past when it was hard to find a decent restaurant serving local food, Nairobi and indeed other parts of the country are playing host to some of the best African themed restaurants in the region.
This is a world renowned establishment that specializes in authentic Kenyan-style barbequing. The succulent meat cuts are prepared as you watch and served directly from the chef’s skewer onto your plate. Carnivore was once known for its array of game meat delights but following a government ban in 2004, the restaurant has stopped serving game meat. However, diners can still look forward to exotic meats such as crocodile, ostrich and camel. Other staples on the menu include beef sirloins, rump steaks, lamb legs, pork chops, a variety of sausages and skewered kidneys. Apart from grilled meat (nyama choma) there are plenty of salad and soup starters to choose from. This is an all-you-can eat-experience like no other.
Amaica was among the first fine dining eateries to specialize in authentic Kenyan cuisine. The African theme is enhanced with the rustic traditional décor that adorns the Peponi and Milimani branches of the restaurant chain. Patrons can indulge in a variety of dishes from various local communities prepared in traditional pots for that authentic African flavor.
3. Seafront Restaurant
This eatery is located in the Lamu which is one of Kenya’s first coastal settlements. The establishment is at the seafront which guarantees patrons remarkable views of the Indian Ocean as they enjoy local delicacies. The menu consists mainly of Swahili dishes such as Pilau(curried rice mixed with meat), fish curry, coconut rice, biriani, keema and chapati (a flat unleavened pastry). Also on offer are other delectable treats from the Swahili culture which is heavily influenced by Arab, Indian and African heritage.
4. Bridges Organic Health Restaurant
This is one of the few restaurants in the country that boasts of a fully organic menu. The main emphasis is on the preparation of Kenyan traditional cuisine using whole meal products and organically grown vegetables. Non vegetarians have not been left out and they can enjoy organically reared white meat that also features prominently on the menu. From the tasty organic vegetable soups to healthy sweet potato mandazis, Bridges Organic Health Restaurant underlines the fact that traditional food does not have to be bland.
5. Ranalo Foods (Kosewes)
Fish lovers will enjoy the offerings at this restaurant that specialises in tradition food from the western part if Kenya, specifically the Lake Victoria region. The restaurant is famed for its delectable tilapia which is fried, stewed or grilled. This is often served with ugali (cooked cornmeal) and traditional vegetables such as ‘kunde’ or ‘mrenda’. The menu also includes other local delicacies such as chapati, stewed beef and ‘Kachumbari’ (salsa salad). Kosewes also has an in-house bar and patrons who enjoy a bit of a jig will appreciate the local tunes belted out by local bands in the late evenings.
6. Mama Oliech’s
After achieving fame and fortune in the European football leagues Kenyan international Dennis Oliech helped his mother set up this restaurant the Hurlingam surburb of Nairobi. This establishment is famed for its mouth-watering tilapia which is stewed to perfection and served with ugali, rice or chapati. Apart from the delicious food, the prices at this establishment are relatively affordable making it a regular stopover for locals and tourists alike.
7. Malindi Dishes
Set in one of the busiest parts of Nairobi’s central business district, Malindi dishes provides a pleasant ambience for those who want to sample traditional Swahili cuisine. Some of the staple items on the menu include pilau, coconut fish, biriani, chapati and coconut rice that is usually washed down with freshly squeezed mango juice. The establishment it is a common stopover for tourists and is a notable fixture on the itinerary of circuit tours.
8. Nyama Choma Ranch
This is one of Safari Park hotel’s flagship restaurants and is considered one of the best places to eat authentic nyama choma in a fine-dining setting. Patrons get to sample some of the finest domestic and exotic meat cuts all grilled to satisfaction. The restaurant is also home to the famous Safari Cats Cabaret that keeps visitors entertained as they dine.