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  • Favorite restaurants
  • Local and regional specialties
  • Asian
  • Breakfast and brunch
  • Italian (including pizzerias)
  • Additional experiences
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  • Eating out in Nairobi is never boring. The sheer number and variety of restaurants could keep you dining for many months without ever visiting the same restaurant twice. And while restaurants open and close monthly, current offerings include Kenyan, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Italian, Ethiopian, Yugoslav, Indian, French, German, Continental, plus barbecue and pizza. A curry dish is often served in hotels on Sunday, as there are many people of East Indian descent in the country.

    Local specialties include sambusas (deep-fried pastry filled with mincemeat), mandazi (a semisweet flat bread similar to a doughnut), kienyenji (maize and green vegetables mashed together) and ugali (cornmeal cooked into a thick porridge). The fruit in Kenya is heavenly—the mangoes are superior to any grown in North or Central America, and the papayas (pawpaws), custard apples, passion fruit, green oranges, green bananas, small yellow bananas (sweet) and pineapples are all delicious. For many Kenyans, nyama choma (barbecued meat) is an epicurean delight. Usually, each diner chooses a cut of meat at the counter, and it is prepared to the diner's liking. Ask to sample the vegetable side dishes before you choose.

    Below is a sampling of restaurants in town. Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than 560 KSh; $$ = 560 KSh-1,120 KSh; $$$ = 1,121 KSh-2,800 KSh; and $$$$ = more than 2,800 KSh.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Additional experiences


    Gipsy's—This Spanish restaurant serves tapas along with a full menu. It's a trendy gathering place. Lunch Monday-Saturday noon-3 pm, dinner daily 5 pm-late. $$. No credit cards. Westlands Shopping Centre (opposite Barclays bank), Nairobi. Phone 440-836.

    Ibis Grill—Elegant, cozy, tastefully decorated and retaining its reputation as a top restaurant in this city. The chef has won several international culinary awards. Daily 12:30-2 pm and 7:30-9:45 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. In the Norfolk Hotel, Harry Thuku Road, Nairobi. Phone 335-422.

    Mandhari—One of Nairobi's most elegant and intimate restaurants, with international cuisine. The chef recommends smoked salmon for starters, followed by snapper and dessert from their lavish dessert trolley. Daily 12:30-3:30 pm and 7:30-11:30 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. In the Serena Hotel, Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi. Phone 725-111.

    Simmers Restaurant—Dine on hearty dishes including nyama choma while listening to live bands and disco music. It's very popular. Cosmopolitan atmosphere. Daily from 7 pm. $-$$. No credit cards. Kenyatta Avenue and Muindi Bingu Street, Nairobi. Phone 217-659.

    Stopitalia—A busy, informal Italian eatery. The owner, Mario, lends a personal touch to the service by making the rounds and checking on his customers. Try a Trastevarina Pizza or one of the delicious homemade ice creams. Monday-Saturday 12:30-3 pm and 5:30-9:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. Woodvale Groove, just past Westlands, Nairobi. Phone 445-234.

    Tamarind—Best choice for seafood (try the red snapper Walewska). Steak, chicken and vegetarian entrees, plus good homemade sorbets, too. The dining room has one wall with dramatic stained-glass panels. Monday-Saturday noon-2 pm and 7-10 pm. Reservations required. $$$. Most major credit cards. National Bank of Kenya Building, Harambee Avenue, Nairobi. Phone 220-473.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Additional experiences


    African Heritage—The restaurant is just behind the African Heritage shop. It's a good place for a fresh lime drink after looking at Africa's best crafts. Traditional African food and a nice salad bar. Daily 9 am-10 pm. $. Most major credit cards. Mombasa Road, Nairobi. Phone 530-056.

    Carnivore—A touristy nyama choma (barbecued meat) restaurant, but nevertheless extremely popular. It's one of the few licensed to serve gazelle, giraffe and zebra. Despite the name, vegetarian dishes are available as well. The bar is especially popular, and so is the music/dance hall on the other side of the restaurant. Daily noon-2:30 pm and 7-10:30 pm. Reservations advised—it can be very busy. $-$$. Most major credit cards. Langata Road (past Wilson Airport), Nairobi. Phone 501-779.

    Nyama Choma Restaurant—Upscale nyama choma dining. This place offers a well-prepared version of the local favorite barbecued meat dish. But there's more: From your outdoor table, you can watch a cabaret-style dance troupe (starting at 9 pm). Monday-Saturday 7:30 pm-10:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am-2:30 pm. Reservations required. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. In the Safari Park Hotel, Thika Road, Nairobi. Phone 802-493.

    Sagret Hotel—The Sagret Hotel prepares as many as 20 goats and 30 chickens a day and three cows or steers each week in its nyama choma (barbecued meat) kitchen. Up to 500 dine there on a Friday night—it's a delightful place to eat with the locals. Daily 10 am until the last customer leaves (but never before 11 pm). Reservations for large groups only. $. Visa accepted. Milimani Road, Nairobi. Phone 720-933.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Additional experiences


    Haandi—An elegant, popular place with fabulous Indian dishes. It's a favorite of the local Indian community, sustaining its reputation as the best Indian restaurant in town. Daily 12:30-2:30 pm and 7:30-11 pm. Reservations required. $$. Most major credit cards. Located in the Mall, 2nd Floor, Westlands, Nairobi. Phone 448-294.

    Nairobi Nihonjin Club—This Japanese restaurant is always filled with Japanese diners, the best recommendation anyone could want. Monday-Saturday 12:30-2 pm and 6:30-10:30 pm, Sunday 6:30-10:30 pm. $-$$. No credit cards. Mezzanine Floor, Reinsurance Plaza Building. Phone 340-114.

    Rickshaw Restaurant—The only restaurant in town with a Hong Kong chef, and it's very popular for business lunches. Try the black bean lobster. Daily noon-2 pm and 6-10:30 pm. $$. Major credit cards. Fedha Towers, 1st Floor, Kaunda Street. Phone 333-229.

    Siam Thai Restaurant—Best of the Thai restaurants. (Almost all Thai restaurants have been opened by a Chinese family from Uganda, and they seem to know their business really well.) Daily 12:30-2:30 pm and 6-10:30 pm. Reservations recommended. $$. Most major credit cards. Unga House, 1st Floor, Westlands. Phone 751-727 or 751-728.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Additional experiences


    Alan Bobbe's Bistro—This very intimate, quaint French bistro opened the year before Kenya's independence. After more than 30 years, it's still one of the city's better restaurants. Monday-Friday 8 am-noon, 12:30-3 pm and 7-11 pm; Saturday 8 am-noon and 7-11 pm. Reservations recommended for dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. Cianda House, Koinange Street. Phone 336-952 or 226-027.

    French Bakery—Expect chocolate or almond croissants, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Monday-Saturday 8 am-6:30 pm, Sunday 8 am-1 pm. Two locations on Argwings Kodhek Road: Yaya Center, phone 711-123; and Hurlingham Shopping Centre, phone 721-299.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Additional experiences


    Cafe Latino—Delicious Italian food in an inviting, comfortable atmosphere. Often on Saturday nights, the tables and chairs are moved aside for dancing and/or live music. Midnight spaghetti specials on some nights, but many pasta varieties are offered, followed frequently by chocolate mousse dessert. Tuesday-Sunday 12:30-3:30 pm and 7:30-11 pm (unless there's a midnight spaghetti special). $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. The Village Market, Limuru Road. Phone 522-661.

    Trattoria—A lively, chaotic place and one of the city's most enduring and popular informal restaurants. Homemade ice cream, fresh bread, good food. Daily 8 am-11:30 pm. $. No credit cards. Town House, Wabera Street (near the Stanley Hotel). Phone 340-855.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Additional experiences


    Daas Ethiopian Restaurant—A very popular place serving great Ethiopian food. If in doubt, order the mixed dish and sample a variety of tastes. Try the Ethiopian wine tej, made with honey, and the strong Ethiopian coffee roasted in the restaurant and served with rue. If you wish, traditional singers and dancers will perform at your table. Daily noon-3 pm and 8-11 pm. $. No credit cards. Lenana Road (take a taxi; it's in the suburbs, past Hurlingham). Phone 712-106.

    Mrs. Mitchell's Tea Farm—You eat in Mrs. Mitchell's own home and hear stories about "how it used to be" and about tea farming. Lunch only. Reservations required. $-$$. No credit cards. The place is called Kaimbethu Farm, and it's 20 mi/32 km outside the city on the B route, Limuru. Phone 0154-40756.

    Thorn Tree Cafe—Historically, this has been the meeting place for travelers in Nairobi. Its huge thorn tree, with a legendary message board for travelers, was recently—and reluctantly—felled because it posed structural damage to the building; a new, smaller, replacement tree carries on the popular tradition. Around the eating area are wonderful stained-glass walls designed by local artist Nani Croze. Menu features fusion cuisine. Daily 8 am-11 pm. $. Most major credit cards. In the Stanley Hotel, Kimathi Street. Phone 333-233.

    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | Breakfast and brunch  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Additional experiences

    Information prepared by Weissmann Travel Reports
    Copyright © 2000 by Reed Travel Group. All rights reserved.





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