There are so many incredible restaurants in Nairobi, it can be a bit overwhelming to pick one.
Do you go for casual burgers or fine dining? Do you want to try Eritrean food for the first time, or stick to some good ol’ pasta? Or maybe do you don’t feel like risking a traffic jam traveling halfway across town, only to be disappointed by a mediocre meal.
Whatever culinary experience you’re looking for, this guide to Nairobi’s best restaurants will guide you in the right direction.
Click the location links to bookmark each restaurant on Google Maps and save them for your next meal.
Mama Rocks @ The Yard
- Cuisine: African; Fusion; Burgers
- Location: The Alchemist, Parklands Rd.
Mama Rocks was founded by two sisters who wanted to bring all the flavours of Africa together in a new and exciting way. Their burgers are succulent and packed full of flavour – each one totally unique. Even better, they’re complicated with a huge variety of sides, dips, and cocktails.
The Mama Rock food truck has long been a highlight of The Alchemist – the best place to fuel up before a big night on the dancefloor.
You can order from your table at the bar, and the staff will bring your burger to you.
- Cuisine: Casual; Sharing; Mexican; Craft Beer
- Location: Pramukh Towers
While Bao Box is most well known for its board games, it’s worth coming just for the delicious food and tasty craft beers.
Highlights include sharing dishes like the giant bowls of loaded nachos. If you’re here alone or with a friend, try out the salads and sandwiches.
Lavington and Kilileshwa
- Cuisine: Casual; Healthy
- Location: James Gighuru Rd.
Pallet Cafe is a much-loved social enterprise that hires members of Nairobi’s deaf community as service staff. It’s an incredible initiative. But that’s not the only reason to come by.
The restaurant is set in a beautiful, expansive garden that feels a world away from Nairobi’s hustle just outside the gate.
The food is fresh and inventive, a mix of regional flavours and international classics, focusing on healthy dishes and a vegetarian-friendly menu.
- Cuisine: Japanese; Coffee
- Location: Kauria Close
A ramen restaurant and sweet factory that also serves incredible coffee and… oysters?
Yes, Chekafe is all of these. Housed in a giant shed with a big garden, it’s one of the most fun and relaxing places to hangout in Nairobi.
The long benches and garden canopies make it ideal for long lunches with friends, work sessions, or just sitting with a book and soaking in the atmosphere.
- Cuisine: Japanese; Fine dining
- Location: Kolloh Rd.
For a much different take on Japanese food, Tokyo serves an incredible selection of sushi dishes in a wide variety of styles and dishes.
Tokyo’s sushi is experienced on a sharing platter between friends. The colourful spread introduces an exciting mix of flavours, which you mix and match to your heart’s content.
Le Grenier a Pain
- Cuisine: French; Bakery; Coffee
- Location: Riverside Dr.
Always busy without feeling crowded, Le Grenier A Pain is one of the most popular places for coffee and cakes in Nairobi. The huge displays of pastries, buns, and baguettes will set you mouth-watering – and they don’t disappoint!
Le Grenier A Pain is also super ‘laptop-friendly,’ with plenty of spread out workspaces and plug sockets if you want to plant here and work for an afternoon.
- Cuisine: Fine Dining
- Location: Utalii St.
A restaurant and art gallery, The Collective serves delicious dishes with a relaxed ambiance.
The restaurant walls are adorned with beautiful pieces from many of Kenya’s most famous contemporary artists, and you can take a stroll around before sitting down for an exquisite meal.
- Cuisine: Casual
- Location: Mbaazi Ave.
Tucked away in the corner of a car wash, Geco Cafe doesn’t look like much from the outside. But that’s part of the magic. This is a true ‘hidden gem – a cozy, relaxed restaurant stuffed with charm and a friendly atmosphere.
The pizzas are a highlight and great for sharing with friends while enjoying the weekly live music concerts held inside.
- Cuisine: Steak and grill; Africa; Contemporary
- Location: Galana Rd.
Ankole Grill’s sleek, modern, and atmospheric interior perfectly complements the menu. Staples of African cuisine, from Ghana and the Congo to Liberia and Lamu, are given a modern spin, alongside Western classics like Texas BBQ and meatballs.
The restaurant is popular for people working in nearby offices, and happily accommodates remote workers also. They even serve breakfast and host live DJs, in case you spend the entire day here.
- Cuisine: Greek; Fast food
- Location: Valley Arcade Shopping Mall
Tucked away in a corner of Valley Arcade’s car park, Gyros 2 Go may not look like much from a distance.
But as you approach, the rich aromas of shawarma, fresh falafel, and tzatziki hit you, and it becomes obvious why people travel from across Nairobi to eat here.
The food is simply delicious. The flavours are mixed to perfection and lingering long after you’ve finished. And for a restaurant based in a car park, it’s surprisingly one of the quietest and most relaxing restaurants in Nairobi.
The River Cafe, Karura Forest
- Cuisine: Casual; Brunch
- Location: Karura Forest
Looking out over the canopy of Karura forest, The River Cafe is perfect for a quick getaway from Nairobi.
The restaurant is a casual affair, with delicious, hearty dishes served in a relaxing atmosphere. Tables are big and made for groups of friends and family, but you can usually find a quiet corner to chill if you come here alone.
If you’re coming to Karura Forest to exercise, The River Cafe is for winding down post-workout.
Muthaiga and Thigiri
Pallet Cafe Thigiri
- Cuisine: Casual; Healthy
- Location: New Muthaiga Mall
Pallet Cafe’s Thigiri location is just as popular and well-loved as their first restaurant in Lavington. And it’s easy to see why.
Great food, fantastic coffee, friendly staff, and another beautiful setting make it well worth a trip to Thigiri.
They also have a good selection of craft beers.
What’s Your Favourite Restaurant in Nairobi?
Is there somewhere missing from the list? Do you disagree with any of our entries?
Add your restaurant review in the comments below, and we might include it in the next update.