Top Restaurants in Kenya

You may not expect Kenya to have a booming foodie culture for anyone but the lions, but Nairobi has some surprises in store for you. The sheer variety of options—food trucks, international cuisines, African dishes, and vegan tea shops—will keep you searching for the next thrill.

Highlights
Delta Towers, Nairobi, Kenya
Nyama Mama is a fun spot in Westlands serving homey Kenyan and African cuisine. The decor is hip and funky: bright yellow sofas adorned with colorful kanga cushions, chunky metal lights, and the kitchen set within a shipping container. One of the best items on the menu is the lentil dal served with chapati and a side of your choice, from fried plantains to kachumbari salad (chopped tomatoes and onions) or sautéed sukuma wiki (spinach). Nyama Mama also offers a limited late-night menu until 4 a.m., convenient for those lingering at the cocktail bar upstairs.
Karen Hardy, Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi has a new mainly vegan restaurant. “Mainly vegan” may sound like an odd description, but it works here: Boho Eatery’s owners have swapped what would be a mostly meat menu with a mostly vegan one, leaving a couple of options for those carnivores unwilling to branch out. Label the cuisine what you will, it is definitely delicious. Try, especially, the mushroom ceviche, the coconut cream panna cotta, and the scrambled tofu breakfast bowl. The elegant restaurant, located in a converted house, has an outdoor bar and patio seating area as well as a large garden.
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.
Ground Floor and 1st Floor, Diamond Plaza, 4th Parklands Avenue, Parklands, Nairobi, Kenya
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.
320 Ngong Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
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.
Parklands Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
The owners of Mama Rocks, two sisters from London with Kenyan heritage, decided to introduce the food truck revolution to Nairobi. Their pale pink truck, located most days outside the Alchemist bar in Westlands, has sent Kenyans wild with joy and praise for the gourmet burgers. Mama Rocks recipes infuse Western/American traditional foods with an African twist, like the Nollywood Suya Saga burger (a beef burger dressed with caramelized onions, arugula, and a honey and nut mayo blend), served with fried plantains on the side. Despite identifying as a burger truck, Mama Rocks turns out delicious salads and drinks, too. The veggie burger (a falafel patty topped with haloumi cheese) is one of the most popular items on the menu.
This hip little café in the leafy suburb of Loresho feels comfy and welcoming, with candles flickering on the tables throughout the day and a monthly schedule of open-mic sessions for Nairobi’s budding musicians. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, and snacks as well as cold brew coffee. All the furniture here is handmade by the owners and available for purchase. You can even commission your own designs to be made here. After your meal, swing by the farm shop next door for jams, cups, bags of coffee, and more.
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.
Cannon House, Nairobi, Kenya
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.
Rosslyn Riviera Mall, Limuru Road, Nairobi, Kenya
For many years, good Mexican food was sadly missing from Nairobi. A couple of restaurants served bits and bobs—guacamole, maybe a tortilla on the menu—but there wasn’t a great spot dedicated to the cuisine. Happily, all that changed when Fonda came along. Fonda, meaning a welcoming inn, is a fitting name for this laid-back bistro complete with bright yellow walls and rustic crockery. But don’t let the casual nature of the place fool you into thinking these guys don’t care about their food. They only use locally sourced, organic ingredients and the menu features inventive new taco fillings like sweet potato and pineapple marinated in an achiote paste, which can be paired with watermelon margaritas.
8th Floor Pramukh Towers, Westlands Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya‘s first board-game café. like many great spots in Nairobi, is hidden away—in this case, on the 8th floor of an office building. If anything, Bao Box’s location is actually a boon because the altitude offers fabulous city views, and its seemingly random location adds to the completely fun vibe of the place. Walls are stacked high with all the famous board games like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan… and some lesser-known gems including one bluntly named “Fact or Crap.” Whatever your board-game poison, here lies something for you. The decidedly non-corporate decor is funky and outdoorsy with blankets and colorful cushions on pallets. A simple menu of burgers, chips, beers, wines, and soft drinks will satisfy peckish players.
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