Thousands, nay, millions of visitors to Kenya land in the country with one destination on their minds, Mombasa. Nestled by the Indian Ocean, this coastal city’s enviable location makes it a major tourist attraction and so it has branded itself as such. You’ll notice a fusion of cultures here, which is a result of the historical settlement of European, Arab and Asian explorers and traders and, with them, came a food scene that’s a gastronomic treat. Naturally, seafood is readily available, as you’ll figure out from the article below. However, if you’re looking for African, European and Asian dishes, you’ll find these, as well. To know where exactly to eat, scroll down to learn about the best restaurants in Mombasa.
1. Tamarind Mombasa
An apt place to start, Tamarind Mombasa offers one of the best dining experiences in Kenya’s coastal city. If you’re visiting Mombasa, no doubt you’ll hear good things about Tamarind, not from the locals, but from tourists. So, yes, it’s a touristy joint, a restaurant that charges slightly higher than the average restaurant, but whose service is on par with or even higher than what it charges. Expect some of the best seafood in Mombasa and a scrumptious menu of African cuisines.
Address: Cement Silo Road, Mombasa
Website: Tamarind Mombasa
Opening hours: 12pm - 3pm, 7pm - 10pm (daily)
2. Imani Dhow Restaurant
Imani Dhow Restaurant at Severin Sea Lodge. This is where all guests doing their wedding at Flowerboat have their wedding dinner.Posted by Coraldunes Wedding Services, Kenya. on Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Picture an aged dhow, docked, disused for decades, transformed into a restaurant. Picture signs of its distant past still showing in its interior: the rustic, wooden floor and ceiling panels. Picture Imani Dhow Restaurant, the reality version of this image, a former Zanzibari dhow that was decommissioned and perched at Severin Sea Lodge in Bamburi, Mombasa.
It feels like the owners were deliberate about where they wanted the dhow’s new habitat to be, at the very heart of a forest of greenery on the lodge’s premises. So, yes, the ambiance is excellent, with a lovely view outside and a stunning, quaint appeal inside. Similarly, the food is a gastronomic delight, with seafood and more seafood on the menu, as well as more drinks than you can handle.
Imani Dhow Restaurant
Address: Malindi Road, Bamburi Beach, Mombasa, Bamburi, Mombasa 80101, Kenya
Website: Imani Dhow Restaurant
Opening hours: 7am - 10:30pm (daily)
3. Sea Haven Restaurant
If you happen to be on Mombasa’s North Coast, head over to Sea Haven Restaurant. The name gives away its specialty: seafood. There’s no doubt that your seafood cravings will be satisfied at Sea Haven, with a wide selection of options on the menu that will leave you spoiled for choice. However, if you’ve had your fill of seafood in Mombasa and want something a little more inland, definitely give their steaks and curries a try.
Sea Haven Restaurant
Address: Shanzu-Mombasa Malindi Road, Mombasa 80100, Kenya
Website: Sea Haven Restaurant
Opening hours: 11am - 11pm (daily)
4. Shehnai Restaurant
I get it, you can’t have seafood every day so here’s a bit of a deviation: Indian cuisine. Shehnai is a quintessential Indian restaurant, offering popular eats like tandoori, chicken biryani and lamb masala, each prepared to perfection. But don’t take my word for it, go check out the hundreds of online reviews praising their conscientious cooking. Their food is spicy, as one would expect from traditional Indian cuisine, so if you’re averse to this, perhaps consider the next restaurant on our list.
Address: Fatemi House, Maungano Rd, Mombasa
Website: Shehnai Restaurant
Opening hours: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 6:45pm - 9:45pm (daily)
5. Tamarind Dhow
Not to be confused with the Tamarind Restaurant in our first listing, above, (although the management is the same), Tamarind Dhow is, as it sounds, a dhow turned restaurant. But wait, before you dismiss this as a knock-off of Imani Dhow, our second listing above, you need to know that Tamarind has a different take on dhow restaurants. Unlike Imani, which has been taken out of the water, Tamarind Dhow remains on the water, moored at the Mombasa jetty and offers lunch and dinner cruises.
Tamarind operates two dhows, which lived their past lives as cargo boats. Their advanced age is evident and the chic Arabic design elements remain intact, they don’t try to hide it. The deck is now dotted with wooden tables, where you’ll get to sit and enjoy a feast, as you marvel at the Indian Ocean.
Address: Silos Road, Tudor Creedk, Mombasa 80100, Kenya
Website: Tamarind Dhow
Opening hours: 12:30pm - 3pm, 6:30pm - 10:30pm (daily)
6. Pavilions Restaurant
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
This is a conventional restaurant: tables, chairs, waiters, and lots of food. But, that’s not all. Although Pavilions seems like just another food establishment in Mombasa (and there are lots), it stands out by doing what they do in the best possible way. This restaurant is part of the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort, a brand that’s revered in the country’s hospitality industry. However, Pavilions doesn’t ride on the coattails of the resort’s popularity, it works hard to stand on its own. And they have such a wide variety of dishes, it’s a wonder how they hit the mark each time. From African to Indian to Middle Eastern, the staff at Pavilions Restaurant know their food.
Address: Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort, Mombasa 80100, Kenya
Website: Pavilions Restaurant
Opening hours: 24 hrs (daily)
If the name, Arturo’s, sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a brand you’ll find in major cities around the world. Whether or not there’s a connection to this Arturo’s, in Mombasa, remains unknown. However, what is clear is that this Italian restaurant has brought a bit of the country’s flair to the Kenyan coast. If you’re craving pasta, pizza, carpaccio, or minestrone, visit Arturo’s and get to know what all the fuss is about.
Address:Arturo’s, Mamba Village, Links Rd, Mombasa, Kenya
Opening hours: 7:30am - 11:30pm (daily)
8. Galaxy Chinese
From Italian fare to Chinese, Galaxy is probably one of the few places, if not the only place, you can try Chinese cuisine in Mombasa. Despite this limited competition, the restaurant refuses to be mediocre, striving to honor the richness of Chinese culture in their cooking. Of course, seafood is aplenty, but you can also have beef and chicken dishes. Although the food is great, what will catch your attention is the view, offering a breathtaking sight of the ocean and the entrance to the Mombasa port.
Address: Kizingo, Mama Ngina Dr, Mombasa
Website: Galaxy Chinese
Opening hours: 11am - 11pm (daily)
9. La Marina
If you’re looking for an intimate restaurant with an enviable waterfront location, then visit La Marina. Located by a creek, in Mombasa’s Mtwapa area, La Marina boasts a stunning view in a tranquil setting. The ambiance is nothing if it isn’t romantic, a good option for those in a lovey-dovey mood. The food is the final piece of the puzzle, making this an all-rounded restaurant, offering mouthwatering dishes and breathtaking scenery. Seafood is their specialty and you should try out their grilled swordfish, which is highly raved about.
Address: Off Mtwapa Creek, Off Malindi, Behind Hotel La Marina, Daisha Rd, Mtwapa
Website: La Marina
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (daily)
10. The Moorings
Capping off our list is the Moorings, a floating restaurant on Mtwapa Creek. Dinner and a view are what you get at this restaurant, certainly one of the best views you can get, as you chow down on crispy honey prawns or deep-fried Calamari. Other than seafood, the chefs at the Moorings can also whip up a delectable steak or pasta. Then, once you’ve filled up, consider their sundowner cruise aboard their modified Arab dhow. This would be a memorable climax to your trip to Mombasa.
Address: Off Mombasa- Malindi Road | Coast, Mtwapa 80109, Kenya
Website: The Moorings
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 11pm (closed on Mon)
Treat your palate to mind-blowing cuisine that you won’t have to wander too long to find. Seafood is definitely a staple but, thankfully, the food in Mombasa is as diverse as the people and cultures. The above 10 restaurants are just a fraction of what you’ll find in the city, so go ahead and explore your options.
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