An old school mate of mine reached out to me the other day. I possibly haven't seen her in about 20 years. She lives in the US and is soon returning to Kenya with her family (husband and child) and wanted me to recommend some eating hotspots in the city. This little conversation led me to write a list of restaurants in Nairobi suitable both for Vegetarians and meat eaters alike for the most part. Restaurants that I'd like to call my faves. Rest assured, if a restaurant has mastered the art of vegetarian food, then I’m pretty sure their meat dishes are on point. Now over to my list. Might I add that it was very hard to compile this list and I have intentionally left out number 10 because that makes my list final. I am not ready for the final. I will dedicate another post to my number ten restaurants. Now in no particular order:
Honestly, it’s not my favorite restaurant in the least bit but they definitely have a very efficient take out system that works for me all the time! They are an exclusively vegetarian Indian restaurant and I order from them about 80% of the time. Their food is consistent; it’s fresh and very tasty. The best part is, if your worried about shared knives or whatever strict vegetarians worry about in meaty kitchens, then you are in luck with these guys.
One of the best in Ethiopian cuisine. Based in the leafy suburbs of Brookside, Abyssinia is home to a really yum assortment of Eastern African food. I have had my fair share of Ethiopian restaurants around Nairobi (and the world at large), and I suppose I am highly attracted to consistency. They offer this here. My number 2 place in Ethiopian food is is Daas, based on “Electric avenue” in Westlands.
This new spot opened in Westlands, Nairobi just a few weeks ago and I have been there twice for breakfast/brunch. The name says it all. It’s a high tech food court of sorts housing about 4 different restaurants including Indian, Mexican and continental cuisine. Their staff is very pleasant and attentive; the place looks great with some corner couches you can lounge at with your laptop and blog from (am I there now? Maybe. Maybe not). I had the muesli and yoghurt from Yog, which turned out to be the best muesli and yoghurt I had ever had. I genuinely love this spot and highly recommend it for some alone moring time.
The Juniper Kitchen
Another new spot in Lavington Nairobi, right by the maxland shell petrol station on waiyaki way.. A huge garden with loads of outdoor seating. The juniper kitchen has a rustic theme with mason jar flower pots and hanging wall plants and sack cushion covers. The idea is loud and clear, yet the execution I think, still needs work. The service is also slightly off with the owner (I think) brushing off guests quite briskly. Other than that, they remain in my top 10 because of their food. They have a large vegetarian selection and their food tastes homemade with love. I’ve only ever been there once but I would return if only for the food.
I’ve written about them in a previous blog but over and above that, they are generally one of my fave places to chill out and have a meal or not, or just a beer, or not. Up to you. They have a lovely chill spot in their backyard where you can spend a sunny afternoon with friends. Their cuisine is mostly continental with some themed meals here and there and a decent selection of vegetarian food. Very much recommended if you’d like to go on a romantic dinner with a loved one.
Taste of China
This is my favorite Chinese restaurant in Nairobi. Mostly because I cant stand any of the other places really. The restaurant itself is beautiful with some gorgeous pieces up on their roof and walls. Very colorful way to depict China (though I’ve never been. But I have been to China town in NYC, does this count?)
Anyway, gorgeous little spot in Westlands with amazing Chinese food! I’ve been there once but often order take out from them. Highly recommended!!
Oh my! One of my faves with Indian cuisine. This place has been open for many years in Nairobi and are almost always full on any given night. With one in Karen and another in Westlands (that I know of), Open house is the home to the BEST veg biriyani EVER! But other than that, my family swears by them in terms of great food and personalized customer service. Even though they may be more expensive than the average diamond plaza meal, they are definitely worth it!
And while we’re on the subject of diamond plaza, lets talk bhajias. It’s really that simple. I found their recipe online and made my own bhajias but they still were nothing like Maru’s. Though close. If your looking for a good carb fix, I recommend a plate of Maru bhajias at diamond plaza in Parklands and while you're there do yourself a favour and order a paneer sharwama to go with your side.
I have also written about this littu spot. Both the coffee spot and the Thai dining restaurant (Bamboo) are amazing. Located on lower Kabete road in spring valley and rocking a beautiful garden to spend beautiful Nairobi afternoons. Coupled with great service and AMAZING Thai food, I’d say this little spot is a definite go-to if your visiting or even if your not.