Continuing our series of where to eat in the major African cities, we look at the Kenyan capital Nairobi. There is no doubt that there has been a huge increase in both choice and quality of food and restaurants over the last ten years. As always, these lists are subjective but represent a good cross section of whats on offer when you are looking for a good bite to eat. In no particular order of preference, here are our Top 5:

1. The Restaurant at HEMINGWAYS. This is no doubt one of the best fine dining experiences to be had in Nairobi and has raised the bar considerably for other up market restaurants. This newly opened hotel and restaurant in the suburb of Karen has set tongues wagging for its European cuisine pepped up with local ingredients. For a more relaxed meal, try the Brasserie with its indoor barbecue.

2. In Nairobi, it would be amiss not to try the local Indian cuisine. HAANDI, located in the central suburb of Westlands, has now expanded internationally and is regularly recognised as one of the best restaurants in Nairobi with its speciality of North Indian Frontier cuisine. A glass fronted kitchen is a nice touch for those nervous about how their food is prepared.

3. Back in Karen, the TALISMAN restaurant is a traditional favourite with locals and expats alike. Located in a colonial era bungalow, this al fresco restaurant offers a mixed menu of international favourites with ingredients sourced both locally and abroad. This place has a good vibe and offers live music at the weekends.

4. The SEVEN SEAFOOD & GRILL Restaurant in Westlands is a regular in the top 10 list in Nairobi. With fresh fish brought in daily from Mombasa, the head chef describes the food as ” Afro-Mediterranean fusion with a touch of the east to spice things up.” Undoubtedly the best seafood restaurant in Nairobi combines well with an uncompromising modern decor.

5. SANKARA HOTEL RESTAURANTS in Westlands. One of the latest 5 star additions to the Nairobi hotel and dining scene. This hotel offers a variety of Afro Chic dining experiences. Not cheap but it is very much of the highest international quality coupled with a local relaxed feel. Local ingredients are used extensively and if you want to wash it down with a glass of Veuve Clicquot, this is the place for you.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST (I know I said 5 restaurants but you really can’t miss out this institution)

CARNIVORE RESTAURANT in Langata (nr Wilson Airport.) This has been a Nairobi institution since 1980 offering choice cuts of meat from traditional lamb and beef to crocodile and ostrich. There are other offerings on the menu, even vegetarian it has been said but it defies the point of going there; meat is what it is all about. At night, people make a straight line to the popular night club of the Simba Saloon.

Top 5 Nairobi Restaurants by Nicolas Edwards

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