Top Places to Eat in Tanzania
While you’re often at the mercy of your lodge or camp when it comes to food choices, happily most excel at the task of finding the freshest produce and producing top-notch cuisine. We’ve rounded up our favorite restaurants, extraordinary bars, and local markets to visit for great food.
Set in the lovely garden of Arusha’s National Natural History Museum, Via Via is a fairy-lit café, bar, and restaurant. But that’s not all: On Thursday nights, a fire blazes in the tropical garden and the crowd dances to live music into the early hours. At this and other cultural events held here, Via Via’s dancers perform and hold epic dance battles. The atmosphere is fun and lively—perfect if you’re traveling solo and looking to make some new friends.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Located near the soft pale sands of Dar es Salaam’s Oyster Bay beach, the Kind Earth Eatery is regularly touted as one of the best restaurants in town. The small vegan-vegetarian restaurant has a Jamaican-influenced menu (Jamaica is the owner’s home country) and serves beautifully cooked and creatively plated food. The ingredients here are fresh, with vegetables grown within the country. Alcohol is not served, but guests at the outside tables can order a bottle from the wine bar next door. King Earth Eatery is a relaxing, romantic place, great for small groups or dates. Try the tasty pumpkin soup to start and the carrot cake for dessert.
R5QQ+QHJ, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Each evening as the sun sets, Stone Town’s Forodhani Gardens park transforms into an open-air food market. Skip the fish kebabs and head straight to the vendors selling urojo, a thick mango-and-tamarind soup served alongside chickpea fritters, boiled potatoes, cassava flakes, chutney, and as much hot sauce as you dare. Follow it up with hand-pressed sugarcane juice with ginger and lime.
pingwe michanvi kae, Michamvi, Tanzania
Warm, turquoise waters; sugar-white beaches; clear blue skies; and a restaurant plonked on a rock in the middle of the Indian Ocean: Welcome to Zanzibar. The Rock has gained something of a cult following in recent years, thanks, in large part, to its Instagrammable location. Not surprisingly, this waterbound restaurant—accessed by boat during high tide or by wading out during low tide—serves up fresh seafood. Guests can sit inside or on sofas out on the terrace, cocktail in hand, admiring the views. Reservations are strongly advised.
Arabica coffee beans, one of Tanzania’s largest exports, are widely grown in the rolling foothills of Mount Meru, outside Arusha. The Arusha Coffee Lodge offers tours of its estate to show how these beans are farmed, harvested, and dried. The lodge offers accommodations in their 30 plantation cottages, tucked among the lush green coffee fields. A beautiful on-site bistro café, which opens out onto a garden terrace, serves full meals or just a cup of very locally sourced coffee. Don’t forget to stop in and browse or visit the workshops at Shanga while you’re here: This social enterprise employs people with disabilities to create handcrafted goods.
PO BOX 2, Karatu, Tanzania
Gibb’s Farm began life as a coffee plantation in the 1920s. In 1948, British war veteran James Gibb bought the property and decided to plant vegetables alongside the coffee fields. Located near the village of Karatu on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the original farmhouse is a beautiful ivy-covered building set among formal English gardens. Guests can stay overnight in a cozy cottage, or just stop in for an alfresco lunch on the patio and a stroll through the fruit and vegetable orchards and the coffee fields. Food at Gibb’s has a real wow factor, and 90 percent of the ingredients are homegrown and organic. Lunch favorites include colorful beet and avocado salad, any of the delicious soups, and stuffed zucchini flowers.
Haile Selassie Rd, Arusha, Tanzania
At the Blue Heron—a lovely, laid-back lunch spot set in a garden in Arusha—benches piled with colorful cushions spill out from the veranda onto the grass and tropical birds swoop overhead. It’s the perfect spot for families and groups of friends, with adults enjoying an afternoon beer and tiny tots galloping around the grounds in the sunshine. The menu is simple: paninis, soups, homemade pizzas topped with fresh avocado, and delicious smoothies. Also on-site is Schwari Collectibles, a boutique store selling stylish goods like brightly patterned footstools, seemingly right out of a 1950s bungalow.