15 Best Restaurants in Nairobi in 2023: A Local Kenyan Foodie’s Guide

15 Best Restaurants in Nairobi in 2023: A Local Kenyan Foodie’s Guide

In this article, I’ll introduce you to some of the best restaurants in Nairobi – from fine dining and romantic spots to the best steakhouses and pizza joints, these are my favorite spots to eat in my hometown of Nairobi!

Nairobi, the magical capital of Kenya, is a bustling metropolis with a mix of urban settlements, wildlife centers, and historical attractions. A few minutes from the city center, you can explore a national park, visit museums, and experience local culture in markets.

In addition to the numerous tourist attractions, the city has a vibrant nightlife. It’s also home to excellent restaurants that serve delicious dishes for every taste and occasion.

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15 Best Restaurants in Nairobi

I used to live in Nairobi for over ten years, and the best way to share the best restaurants in the city is to tell you about places I visited. I recently returned for a week and I spent that time searching out the best Nairobi restaurants.

I’m also a tour guide, so I know the famous places as well as some lesser known local hangouts.

So, if you’re planning a trip soon and wondering where to eat in the city, consider this article as your guide to Nairobi’s best restaurants.

The list of the best Nairobi restaurants is based on food quality, service level, location, my personal opinion, and customer reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor and Google. I eat at many more restaurants than these, but I narrowed this list down to 15 based on those criteria.

1. K’Osewe Ranalo Foods (Best Restaurant in Nairobi Overall)

A tasty kachumbari salad with fresh tomatoes and red onions.

Locals and tourists agree that K’Osewe Ranalo Foods is the best restaurant in Nairobi city center for traditional dishes and live music.

It’s also one of the top places to eat in Nairobi to have a local food experience after a day of city sightseeing. You can try out their goat meat, tilapia fish, or wet beef served with ugali and kachumbari. After eating, I recommend staying a little longer to enjoy a few Tusker beers while listening to a live band.

I visit K’Osewe Ranalo Foods for dinner every time I’m in Nairobi. It has clean amenities and friendly staff, and its food is always fresh. Although they’ve various options, my favorite meal is fried fish served with brown ugali and green vegetables.

K’Osewe Ranalo Foods Info

Address: Kimathi Street, Nairobi
Phone: +254 721 323238
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (10:30 am-3 am)
Must-Try Meals: Fried tilapia fish, goat meat with ugali, kachumbari
Average Cost: $7-$15 per main, $4 for beers
Website: N/A

2. Java House (Best for Breakfast and Lunch)

Coffee at the Java House

The Java House chain of restaurants has garnered a well-deserved reputation for world-class coffee and great dining. Each branch has spacious sitting areas, a beautifully decorated interior, and a lovely ambiance. Their service is also top-notch.

If you’re looking for affordable places to eat in Nairobi, head to Java House. Its multi-cuisine menu has everything, from omelets and coffee to start, to burgers, quesadillas, and vegetarian options for lunch, to sundaes and cakes for a sweet finish.

There are several Java Houses in Nairobi, but my favorite is located along Kimathi Street. I particularly enjoy their breakfast, which comprises African tea with sausages, bread, salad, and a Spanish omelet. Outside of breakfast, you can’t go wrong with their pizzas, salads, and chicken wings.

Java House Restaurant Info

Address: Java House, Kimathi Street
Phone: +254 725 412164
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri (6 am-10 pm), Sat (7 am-9 pm), and Sun (8 am-8 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Caesar salad with grilled chicken, cheeseburgers, grilled tilapia (check out the full menu)
Average Cost: $5-$10 for breakfast, $9-$29 per main, $4-$8 for desserts
Website: javahouseafrica.com

3. About Thyme (One of the Best Outdoor Restaurants in Nairobi)

a delicious aromatic vegetable Tagine

About Thyme is one of the finest outdoor restaurants in Nairobi. It’s set in a serene green garden and offers a rare culinary experience.

The space features rustic benches, comfortable couches, and a tranquil garden lit by traditional lanterns, giving it a really romantic feel. Here you can enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner from their multi-cuisine menu.

My favorite main dish at About Thyme is the pepper steak-beef barbecue in a creamy black pepper sauce, served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Their desserts and cocktail options are great too.

About Thyme Restaurant Info

Address: Eldama Ravine Road, Westlands, Nairobi
Phone: +254 721 850026
Operating Hours: Mon (closed), Tue-Fri (12 pm-11 pm), Sat (10 am-11 pm), Sun (10 am-7 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Pumpkin & Amaretti Tortellini, Aromatic Vegetable Tagine, About Thyme Pepper Steak (Check out their full menu)
Average Cost: $3-$9 per starter, $14-$30 per main, $7-$9 for desserts
Website: about-thyme.com

4. Cafe Deli Restaurant (Best Burgers and Coffee)

Nairobi is home to many fantastic cafes, and Cafe Deli is one of the best. The restaurant chain is popular with young people – couples and digital nomads – because of its great food, lovely ambiance, perfectly brewed coffee, and tasty cakes.

I’ve visited several of their outlets, but the Tumaini branch is my favorite. It has a friendly staff, comfortable seating space, and a beautifully decorated interior. Their beef bacon cheeseburger with spicy chips is probably the best in Nairobi.

If you’re looking for dinner places in Nairobi, or a restaurant with fast WiFi, head to Cafe Deli. It comprises three delicatessen branches and a cake shop, all within the city center.

Cafe Deli Restaurant Info

Address: Cafe Deli has three branches; Tumaini, Koinange Street, Moi Avenue
Phone: +254 707 712287
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (9 am-11 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Beef burgers, Deli spring chicken, Deli English breakfast
Average Cost: $8-$28 per main, $3-$7 for desserts
Website: cafedeli.co.ke

5. Abyssinia Restaurant (Best for Ethiopian Food)

A delicious goulash on a plate

Abyssinia is one of the most welcoming and laid-back restaurants in Nairobi. It offers you a chance to explore different vegetarian dishes as well as delicious meaty options.

If you’re after an Ethiopian food experience, this restaurant is one the best places to eat in Nairobi. It’s also nice for groups and travelers who enjoy authentic coffee and spicy food.

I visited this restaurant several times with friends and travelers when I was living in Nairobi. It offers a wonderful dining experience in a serene environment, and its prices are reasonable too.

Make sure you try the Abyssinia Goulash – a hot goulash made from beef, lamb, fish, or chicken served with Injera (a sour Ethiopian staple made with teff flour).

Abyssinia Restaurant Info

Address: Abyssinia has two branches; Westlands (my favorite) and Kilimani.
Phone: +254 725 151515
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (11 am-11 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Abyssinia Goulash, YeSiga Alicha We’t, Shiro Tegamino We’t (explore their menu)
Average Cost: $8-$25 per main, $4 for desserts
Website: abyssiniarestaurantnairobi.com

6. Kilimanjaro Jamia Restaurant (Best for Local Food in Nairobi)

Kilimanjaro Jamia is a warm and inviting restaurant for locals and tourists looking to have a fine dining experience in Nairobi.

The restaurant is famous for Somali and Swahili dishes like pilau, biryani, and camel meat. It also serves other delicacies, like roasted sirloin steak, pizza, beef with tandoori tikka, and local steamed bananas (matoke).

Besides great food, Kilimanjaro is a great place for soup, juices, and healthy drinks. They also have freshly baked cakes, muffins, and pastries that go exceptionally well with hot beverages.

If you enjoy trying unusual dishes, don’t leave without trying out busteki (camel steak) – my favorite plate in the restaurant.

Kilimanjaro Jamia Restaurant Info

Address: Kimathi Street, Nairobi
Phone: +254 796 766808
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (6 am-10 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Busteki (camel steak), chicken biryani, camel pizza
Average Cost: $4-$6 for full breakfast, $6-$10 per main
Website: N/A

7. Mama Oliech Restaurant (Best for Fish and Ugali)

A delicious fish and ugali on a plate

Situated in the vibrant neighborhood of Kilimani, this is one of the best local restaurants in Nairobi. It’s modest, authentic, and best known for its delicious deep-fried fish served with ugali and kachumbari.

Even before it came into the spotlight after a visit by Mark Zuckerberg in 2016, the restaurant was a popular lunch joint for locals. It’s a symbol of fresh food at affordable prices and a place to catch up with friends and colleagues.

I’ve visited Mama Oliech Restaurant numerous times and can highly recommend trying out their fish with ugali. Make sure you also ask for fresh vegetables and kachumbari.

Mama Oliech Restaurant Info

Address: Marcus Garvey Road, Kilimani
Phone: +254 701 707070
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (7:30 am-11:30 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Whole deep-fried fish, ugali, kachumbari
Average Cost: $4-$7 for fish with ugali
Website: N/A

8. Mawimbi Seafood Restaurant (Best for Seafood)

Mawimbi is one of the best seafood restaurants in Nairobi. This fine dining restaurant near the city center is famous for its variety of fresh seafood, lovely ambiance, and quality of dishes.

If you’re a fan of oysters, lobsters, prawns, salmon, and seafood tagliolini, head to Mawimbi. This excellent Nairobi restaurant is also famous for its burgers, steaks, and platters with different meals.

Mawimbi Seafood Restaurant Info

Address: Longonot Place, Kijabe Street, Nairobi
Phone: +254 758 956805
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (6 am-9 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Grilled prawns, lobster gratin al cafe, fruits of the sea platter (check the menu for details)
Average Cost: $9-$12 per starter, $14-$40 per main, $7-$11 for desserts
Website: mawimbirestaurant.com

9. The Carnivore Restaurant (Best for Nyama Choma)

Selective focus photography of beef steak with sauce

Carnivore is a popular gem for affluent locals, tourists, and expatriates looking for the best steak in Nairobi. The restaurant operates on an all-you-can-eat basis, where servers pass between tables with various types of roasted meat.

You can choose from lamb, ostrich, beef rump, sirloin, and crocodile meat, and once you’re full or need a break, you simply have to lower the card placed in the middle of the table. The food experience is followed by coffee, dessert, or your favorite local beer.

Despite the name, in addition to the meats, Carnivore has various options for vegetarians. They also serve soup along with home-baked bread for starters.

During my guided tours of Nairobi, I take tourists to this restaurant for dinner. The staff is friendly, and their nyama choma is delicious.

Make sure you try the sirloin and wash it down with a cold Tusker.

The Carnivore Restaurant Info

Address: Langata road, near Wilson Airport, Nairobi
Phone: +254 731 611606
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (12 pm-11 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Sirloin, ribs, sausages, and pork
Average Cost: $40-$100 for nyama choma, $5 for beers
Website: tamarind.co.ke/carnivore

10. The Mayura (One of the Best Indian Restaurants in Nairobi)

If you’re looking for an affordable Indian restaurant in Nairobi, head to The Mayura. The restaurant has three branches within the city, each offering an excellent Indian food experience.

My favorite Mayura branch is located at the Nairobi SGR Terminus. It serves delicious food that will keep you full for the entire train trip to Mombasa. I recommend trying the mutton korma – pieces of boneless lamb cooked in cashew nut gravy.

The Mayura Restaurant Info

Address: Nairobi SGR Terminus, Westlands, and Karen
Phone: +254 737 224422
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (11 am-11 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Tandoori chicken masala, mutton korma, Indian-style fish curry (check the full menu)
Average Cost: $7-$10 per starter, $11-$20 per main
Website: themayura.com

11. The Talisman Restaurant (Best for Fine Dining)

A delicious beef masamman curry in a bowl

The Talisman is considered one of the best restaurants in Nairobi for bringing different cultures together with its various cuisines – African, European, and Pan-Asian.

If you’re looking for a place to eat in Nairobi with a lovely ambiance and a romantic vibe, try The Talisman. It’s defined by beautiful nomadic carpets, elegant furniture, and an outdoor garden – a setting best for fine dining, evening coffee, and great cocktails.

I’ve been to Talisman once and would revisit the restaurant for the delicious beef massaman. Other dishes to try out include smoked salmon, fried prawns and calamari, beef burger, and sesame falafel.

Besides its delicious main dishes and sushi, this restaurant has various options for desserts, beverages, wine, and beers. Check out their menu and book your table in advance.

The Talisman Restaurant Info

Address: Ngong Road, Nairobi
Phone: +254 0705 999997
Operating Hours: Mon (4 pm-9 pm), Tue-Fri (11 am-10 pm) and Sat-Sun (9 am-10 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Beef massaman, fried prawn and calamari, house smoked salmon
Average Cost: $8-$12 per starter, $12-$30 per main, $6-$10 for desserts
Website: thetalismanrestaurant.com

12. Acacia Restaurant (One of the Most Romantic Restaurants in Nairobi)

Located in the Emara Ole-Sereni Hotel, the Acacia Restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Nairobi, especially for romantic dinners. Its menu includes ostrich steaks, sirloins, Indian ocean snapper, and spiced chicken.

In addition to the fine dining experience, the restaurant has beautiful interiors and a lovely ambiance. It also has a terrace from where you can enjoy stunning views of Nairobi National Park.

After dinner, you can enjoy coffee at the Karibu Cafe or relax with a glass of wine or beer at the Oasis Bar – in the same hotel.

If you’re not staying at the Emara Ole-Sereni, I recommend booking a table in advance, especially during the weekend. Also, make sure you try their T-Bone steak (my favorite) served with ugali and kachumbari.

Acacia Restaurant Info

Address: Emara Ole-Sereni Hotel, Nairobi
Phone: +254 732 191000
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (24 hours)
Must-Try Meals: Indian Ocean snapper, ostrich steaks, fried mutton samosas (explore the menu for more dishes and starters)
Average Cost: $10-$12 per starter, $14-$39 per main, $6 for desserts
Website: emara.ole-sereni.com

13. Mambo Italia (Best Pizza and Pasta)

A butternut squash mezzaluna ravioli

Mambo Italia may not have the best pizza in the world, but it’s a beautiful place to spend time with friends or family. The Italian restaurant has three outlets in Nairobi, each with a unique offering.

Their Lavington branch is my favorite. It’s cozy, less crowded, and has a beautiful rooftop view and a play area for kids.

Pay a visit for pasta, pizza, panini, and cocktails. They also serve other delicious meals such as fillet steak and roast chicken, barbecue pork ribs, and grilled lamb.

Mambo Italia Info

Address: Lavington, Garden City Mall, Westlands
Phone: +254 709 670000
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (11:30 am-9:30 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Greek Mama pizza, grilled red snapper, butternut ravioli (check menu for more options)
Average Cost: $4-$10 per starter, $12-$30 per main and pizza
Website: mambo-italia.com

14. Fogo Gaucho, Kilimani (Best Steak House in Nairobi)

Fogo Gaucho has built a reputation for having the best selection of juicy meats (17 different cuts) in Nairobi. The Brazilian steakhouse has four branches within the city – in Westlands, Kilimani, and along Mombasa road.

Their Kilimani branch is my favorite. It’s conveniently located in one of Nairobi’s best neighborhoods and grills its steaks to perfection. Besides beef ribs and pork sausages, I love sirloin steaks, and this branch is famous for serving some of the best.

Whether you like your meat well done, medium or rare, the steakhouses promise a memorable churrascaria experience. Make sure you try out their crocodile meat and rump steak.

When you take a seat at Fogo Gaucho, you’ll find a green/red card on your table. The waiters pass around different steaks, and you can eat as much as you want. All you have to do is turn the card to red when you’re full (or need a break).

Fogo Gaucho, Kilimani Info

Address: Galana Plaza, Kilimani
Phone: +254 715 414141
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun (12 pm-11 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Sirloin steak, beef ribs, crocodile steak
Average Cost: $22-$65 per main, $6 for desserts
Website: fogogaucho.co.ke

15. Boho Eatery (One of the Best Vegan Restaurants in Nairobi)

A tasty Masala dosa with chutney.

Boho Eatery is set within a 10-acre estate that also hosts the Ngong House and this incredible treehouse. Its dining space is serene and gets an extra outdoor charm from the surrounding plants.

The menu is varied, with a good mix of vegetarian options, light dishes, more indulgent meals, drinks, and desserts. You can opt for tacos, fish soup, bowls of different delicacies, burgers, or hot beverages like fresh mint tea.

I am yet to visit Boho Eatery but based on their customer reviews, it’s a heavenly place for a healthy breakfast and lunch in Nairobi.

Boho Eatery Info

Address: 114 Ndovu Road, Karen, Nairobi
Phone: +254 727 502416
Operating Hours: Mon (closed), Tue-Wed (11:30 am-5:30 pm), Thu-Fri (11:30 am-10 pm), Sat (9 am-10 pm), Sun (9 am–5:30 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Raw vegan lasagne, masala dosa, hot & sour fish soup (explore the menu for more options)
Average Cost: $8-$16 for soups, $17-25 per main, $3-$9 for desserts, $2-$4 for hot drinks
Website: boho.co.ke

Must-Try Meals in Nairobi

Here are some of the meals you must try in Nairobi.

Nyama Choma

Roasted meat (nyama choma) is one of the most popular dishes in Kenya. Visit Carnivore Restaurant and try out different options.

Fried Tilapia with Ugali

In Kenya, we love deep-fried fish served with ugali and kachumbari. Mama Oliech Restaurant has some of the best fish in town.

Grilled Steak

At Fogo Gaucho, you can try out “all the steak you can eat” at a fixed price. Make sure you sink into a tasty beef sirloin.

Chicken Biryani

If you’d love to taste local dishes, head to Kilimanjaro Jamia Restaurant for the delicious Swahili chicken biryani.

Grilled Prawns & Lobsters

Mawimbi serves various incredible seafood dishes, and I recommend trying their fresh prawns and lobster. The prawns (and lobster) are grilled and served with garlic-butter sauce, vegetables, and kachumbari.

Food Tours in Nairobi

There are several food tours in Nairobi where you can learn how to prepare, cook, and enjoy local dishes. Such tours also include exploring food joints and sampling dishes in the city. Check out the following exciting Nairobi food experiences.

Nairobi Cooking Class

When you join this exciting tour, you’ll visit a local market to buy ingredients, and then learn how to cook a Kenyan meal.

Kenyan Food Experience in Nairobi

During this experience, your guide will teach you how to cook traditional foods and engage you in Kenyan history and culture.

Roast & Learn Tour

Nairobi is not only popular for its fine dining but also for its great coffee. To appreciate the process that your cup of coffee goes through, join this tour. You’ll learn everything about coffee from farm to cup.

Matutu Culinary Experience

In this experience, your guide teaches you how to prepare various local meals after a market visit and a fun ride in a local matutu. You’ll learn how to make dishes such as mukimo, ugali, Kenyan curry and fruit salad.

Carnivore Restaurant Experience

If you love a perfectly grilled steak, this tour takes you to one of Kenya’s best nyama choma restaurants – The Carnivore.

☞ SEE ALSO: 25 Best Things To Do in Nairobi, Kenya

Best Restaurants in Nairobi: FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions people ask about restaurants in Nairobi.

What are the best restaurants in Nairobi?

The best restaurants in Nairobi include The Carnivore, Mawimbi Seafood, Cafe Deli, Java House, and Talisman.

What time is dinner in Nairobi?

The best time for dinner in Nairobi is between 8 pm and 10 pm.

What time is lunch in Nairobi?

Lunch in Nairobi is served from 12 pm to 2 pm.

What time is breakfast in Nairobi?

Breakfast in Nairobi is usually between 6 am and 9 am.

Do you tip in Nairobi?

Although tipping is not mandatory in Nairobi, it’s a standard to add 10% of the bill as a tip.

What neighborhood has the best restaurants in Nairobi?

The best restaurants in Nairobi are in the city center, Westlands, Karen, and Kilimani areas.

What is the most famous food in Nairobi?

Ugali, nyama choma, fried fish, and kachumbari are some of the most popular dishes in Nairobi.

What is the most delicious food in Nairobi?

Nyama choma (roast meat) is one of the most delicious food in Nairobi, Kenya.

How much is a meal in Nairobi?

Meals in a decent restaurant in Nairobi range between $9 and $40.

Where should I stay in Nairobi?

There are plenty of beautiful and safe neighborhoods in Nairobi, like Karen, Kilimani, Loresho, and Lavington.

Now You Know Where to Eat in Nairobi

Nairobi is a great destination for wildlife safaris and natural attractions, and as you have seen, it’s also the perfect place for food lovers.

The city has a growing food culture that incorporates different themes and tastes. It also has many fantastic restaurants that offer various cuisines from around the world.

So, whether you like sampling local dishes like nyama choma, or looking for international delicacies like Mexican tacos, Nairobi has something for you.

I hope this article has given you ideas on where to eat during your next visit to the “Green City Under the Sun.

☞ SEE ALSO: 15 Best Airbnbs in Nairobi, Kenya

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Planning to travel to beautiful Kenya? Nairobi is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, making it a delicious foodie destination! Here are 15 restaurants in Nairobi where you can try a variety of foods and delicacies! In Kenya's capital, you can get everything from fish fries to five-star dining! | #nairobi #restaurants #foodies
Considering a trip to lovely Kenya? Nairobi is a fantastic destination for foodies because it is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines! Here are 15 places in Nairobi where you can sample a wide range of cuisines and treats! From fish fries to five-star cuisine, everything is available in the capital of Kenya! Discover Nairobi restaurants across all cuisines and to suit all budgets! | #travel #kenya #vacation
Are you considering a trip to lovely Kenya? Nairobi is a wonderful destination for foodies because it is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines! Here are the top restaurants in Nairobi where you can try a wide range of cuisines and treats! From fish fries to five-star dining, there's everything available in the capital of Kenya! | #visitnairobi #traveltips #wanderlust

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