Going on holiday to Mombasa in Kenya and looking for some great food? Well, fear not as this little island has some fantastic cuisine on offer that will definitely make you want to return again. Whilst a number of the hotels offer some mouth-watering meals, there are a number of long-standing and new places to dine on the island that will make you want to venture out of your hotel to check them out! Having sampled over 20 different places to eat in Mombasa, I have pulled together a list of the top 5 places (in no particular order) that you should consider visiting; so get ready to read an article that will make your hunger pangs start!
Close to the hotels on the north coast of Mombasa is Cafesserie, an Italian and French restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night drinks and snacks. If you want to sit in a buzzing environment with ample choices and free Wi-Fi, then this is the place for you. The seating area is comfy, airy and there are fans to ensure that you’re able to relax. The quality of the food is consistently good, even with a regularly changing menu. This eatery stands out because of some of the items on its menu, including its healthy salads. I would recommend that you try the pear and goats cheese salad with nano bread as it is to die for! The contrasting flavours in the salad coupled with the freshly prepared and warm bread is filling, comforting and healthy which will, no doubt, make you feel good. The location of Cafesserie, being on the ground floor of City Mall in Nyali, is fantastic as it is so close to the hotels on the north coast and is based next to Nakumatt. Nakumatt is an enormous local supermarket where you can buy souvenirs, household items as well as food and drink. The average cost for a drink and a main meal at Cafesserie is approximately 950 KES (9 USD).
If you’re craving for Indian cuisine and you don’t want to travel too far from the hotels on the north coast of Mombasa, then Namaskar is practically at your doorstep and is a wonderful place to visit. Based within the Bliss Resort in Nyali, the ambience and entrance to Namskar is exquisite. There are beautiful fountains, pebblestones, water streams and comfy loungers for you to sit in and relax before sitting in the restaurant itself. The food in the restaurant is tasty and you get real value for money. I recommend trying the daal makhani which has been slow cooked for a number of hours to ensure that it has bold spicy flavours that will blow you away! The service is prompt and pleasant and whilst the restaurant can be busy at times, you never have to wait too long to be attended to. The average cost for a curry, naan bread and a drink is approximately 1300 KES (13 USD) per person.
Would you believe me if I told you that you could experience a high-end grand establishment with a homely feel for a reasonable price? Well, get ready to start believing it as I introduce to you Shehnai. Shehnai is one of the oldest restaurants in Mombasa and it is no surprise that it is still around because of the incredible and tantalising Mughlai cuisine that it offers. I absolutely adore this restaurant and won’t be able to forget the corn in coconut sauce and I would urge you to order it when you visit. The menu has so much to offer and caters fantastically for vegetarians and those with dietary requirements; although, what I really liked was how the owners and the waiters asked me about what type of food I liked and made fantastic recommendations for me to choose from.
Whilst the location of this restaurant is in the centre of the city as it is based at Mungano Street, I would still recommend that tourists staying in hotels by the beach, book a taxi and make their way to this superb establishment. I think the beauty of this restaurant is its location and its owners. By being in the centre of town, as a tourist, you will be able to explore and see what Mombasa is really about (and not just see its beautiful beaches) and most importantly, when you enter Shehnai, you will be personally greeted by the owners who will make you feel so welcome and special. The cost for a curry, naan bread and drink is approximately 1400 KES (14 USD) per person.
If you’re travelling through the city of Mombasa, you absolutely must drop in to MNKafe which is based in Kizingo. I am quite sure that this little cafe is going to take off and have customers queuing from the outside because of its amazing milkshakes and tantalising desserts! The cafe is small, cute and has a refreshing and vibrant feel to it and offers small snacks, desserts and drinks. From freshly squeezed lemonade to seriously fabulous hot chocolate to pistachio milkshake, the menu in this little munching haven will most certainly have you deliberating what to pick as everything looks so good. I recommend trying the Ferrero Rocher waffle with strawberry ice cream which is wonderfully sweet and nutty. If you’re a vegetarian, vegan or have any allergies then fear not as MNKafe is perfect in catering for everyone so you will certainly find something suitable for you on the menu. The cost for a drink and dessert at this yummy place is approximately 750 KES (7 USD).
5. Street food at the famous Lighthouse
A trip to Mombasa without visiting the famous Lighthouse would not be a trip at all! The Lighthouse is famous for being a relaxation spot where you can enjoy the Kenyan weather and the street food that is being sold for as long as your heart desires. If you fancy some fried or grilled sweet potato or cassava whilst watching the ferries and boats coming into the port then this is where you have to be. It’s a fantastic spot to sit in during the day-time as you can watch how the busy city of Mombasa runs as you can directly see the ferries and cargo ships crossing from the island to mainland Kenya. My favourite Kenyan item to munch whilst sitting and watching the local people, the sea and the sunshine is the grilled cassava which is covered in chilli followed by being squirted with lemon! If you can’t take spicy food, I recommend telling your street food vendor this before he goes wild with all the flavours. The cost for the items being sold vary and are contingent on your negotiating skills. However, some grilled cassava with chilli and lemon won’t set you back too much and would be less than 250 KES (3 USD).
Can't decide which one of these top 5 to visit?
If you can, I would urge you to visit all 5 of the spots that I have recommended in Mombasa as each of them is brilliant and will deliver wonderful food. However, I do appreciate that you may be strapped for time and may need more help in making a decision of which 1 or 2 to visit. Here are some final information and tips to help you decide.
If you want to eat something ultra healthy in a buzzing environment where you can use Wi-Fi, then make your way to Cafesserie. If you love Indian food and want to go somewhere for a relaxing meal that is not too far away from the hotels on the north coast, then head over to Namaskar. If you’re willing to trek a little further and truly experience the city of Mombasa, then take a journey to the centre of the city where you can enjoy a magnificent and personable experience at the long-established Shehnai, which has been around since 1984. The fabulous MNKafe, whilst a bit of a commute from the north coast beach, is worth it if you love indulging in sweet stuff - so make sure you check it out!
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