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 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.
Eritrean and Ethiopian Restaurants
- Location: Argwings Kodhek Rd, Kilimani
Habesha has the most authentic Ethiopian food in the city. Even Ethiopians think so. The communal thing where you all eat from one huge plate is fantastic group bonding. Half the time I wasn’t sure what I was eating, I just knew I enjoyed it all.
Kesh Kesh Roastery & Cafe
- Location: Timau Plaza, Kilimani
Eritrean coffee – some of the best in the world – is roasted and brewed in-house in the same tradition that’s been practiced for hundreds of years. Not just that, Kesh Kesh has a mix of both worlds, where even though Eritrean and Ethiopian food is the main dish on the menu, there are other options for those with a different taste.
- Location: Ring Rd, Westlands
Magnificent food, peaceful location, and excellent coffee. You’d think that would be all you need, but no, Abysinnia goes a step further, with a traditional coffee-making ceremony where they teach their method. Coffee aficionados, this is the Ethiopian restaurant for you.
For more top picks, see our Best Eritrean and Ethiopian Restaurants page.
Connect Coffee Roasters
- Location: The Riverfront, Westlands
Connect coffee has a deep knowledge of coffee and encourages you to delve into it. You’re in control of almost every stage of brewing your coffee. The specialty coffee blends are special treats: Romeo has a smoky, chocolatey flavour, while Juliet has a fruity flavour with flowery scents.
The rest of the menu is also all-inclusive; the salads and sandwiches are my picks to try out. Order from the rooftop terrace where you’ll have a view of Westlands’ ever-changing skyline.
Barista & Co
Barista is a specialist in coffee and pastries. Both locations are easily accessible, even though Sarit is a bit noisier than Keystone. The menu is fully vegetarian, but I would dine here without question, even though I’m very much a meat eater.
- Location: State House Rd, Milimani
Not only is Lava Latte a nice, quiet, airy place to work from, but the coffee is also brilliantly made. You’ll have enough of a kick to go all day.
The playful atmosphere is a welcome change from other locations. Lave Latte is also a hub for Nairobi’s creative community, so you can swing by for regular events, live music, quiz nights, DJ sets, and much more.
For more about coffee in Nairobi, see our Coffee Shops in Nairobi page.
Brunch in Nairobi
- Location: Karen Mbagathi Ridge, Karen
More than just having an Oscar-themed dining room, Hemingway’s gardens, view of Ngong hills, fancy decor, and mouth-melting food is what brunch is all about. Select from a wine rack that touches the ceiling and sip in differently styled lounges – I’d live there… or just have a lot of brunch.
The upcountry, farmhouse feel of Tin Roof makes it one of the most calming, revitalising restaurants in Nairobi. You go there to get away from it all, and then they serve really good food that has an emphasis on healthy eating.
And on those chilly Nairobi Winter afternoons, they have the perfect fireplace to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine – or tea!
The River Cafe
- Location: Karura Forest
The brunch at River Cafe is exactly what the doctor ordered (not really) after a hike or cycle through Karura Forest. The cafe has the same lost-in-nature feel. The coffee’s great, salads and sandwiches excellent, and you can just stay the day there deep in a book or conversation.
For more information, see our guide to the best Brunch restaurants in Nairobi.
- Location: Eldama Ravine Rd, Westlands
The colourful decor of About Thyme, the full gardens, the mood lighting, and the food designed by an artist. It’s everything that a night out with someone special needs.
INTI – A Nikkei Experience
- Location: One Africa Place, Westlands
Nairobi is lovely at night, and INTI gives you a 360-degree view from the 20-floor. The cuisine of Japanese and Peruvian delicacies with a choice of either fine wine, sake, or special cocktails will put anyone in the right mood.
- Location: Village Market, Gigiri
Harvest has this classy, rustic, homely look that says, “take a load off, but don’t be afraid to play.” The food is also uncomplicated enough to keep your attention solely on your date, but exotic enough to impress.
For more romantic inspiration, check out our Date Ideas in Nairobi page.
Furusato Japanese Restaurant
- Location: Off Ring Road, Parklands
From the reception at the entrance, Furusato feels like a proper Japanese restaurant, where you’re welcomed with a cheer. The restaurant is cosy; you’ll never feel overcrowded here. The chefs also put on a show as they cook on teppanyaki grills.
- Location: HMK Block B, Lavington
Chekafe’s choices of location, construction, and decoration make it the most accessible and inviting Japanese restaurant. The food gets top marks too. It’s a lovely place to hang out and have some delicious dumplings, ramen, and other casual dishes.
- Location: Kolloh Rd, Lavington
Dining outside at Tokyo Restaurant really gives an impression of Japan. It’s a pale impression to dining under cherry blossom trees, but the feeling is there, and that’s what matters. Excellent food presentation too.
For more about Japanese in Nairobi, see our Best Japanese Restaurants in Nairobi page.
Kenyan Restaurants, Grills, and Nyama Choma
- Location: Langata Rd, Langata
The way Carnivore waiters walk around with different kinds of exotic meats, roasted to perfection and just waiting for your table flag to go up makes this the leading grill joint in the country. The music, atmosphere and bar are good too, but you’re here for the meat.
- Location: Off Peponi Rd, Parklands
With a menu that draws from every corner of Africa, how can you not love Amaica? The setting has a polished traditional African look too. You actually feel like you’re sitting in the region where your meal is from.
- Location: Marcus Garvey Rd, North, Kilimani
Everyone goes to Mama Oliech for the fish, but the rest of the food is incredible too. I’m not sure if it’s the fresh ingredients or maybe the chefs pay special attention to the original preparation of local food. But I’m yet to have a disappointing meal here.
For more, check out our Kenyan Food Guide.
Mama Rocks is one of those places with such expertly made food, you have to try each and every menu item. One of those rare places where the burger in the promo picture is exactly what you get. The burgers have flavours from across Africa, from South Africa to West Africa to Somalia. Simply outstanding.
- Location: Yaya Centre, Kilimani
Sierra Brasserie is a more uptown choice for the best burgers in Nairobi. It’s everything you’d expect in fanciness, from lighting to decor to meal design. You wouldn’t expect a simple burger to be exceptional, right? Sierra pulls it off.
- Location: Muthithi Rd, Westlands
The burgers here have haunted me since the first time I had one. There’s simply none better, and I’m not exaggerating. If they worked on the location a bit I wouldn’t rate them any lower than the best restaurant in this category.
- Location: Utalii St., CBD
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.
- Location: Wood Avenue, Kilimani
A rooftop restaurant with its own cinema? Can it get any better than this?
Well, yes, actually, because Unseen Nairobi compliments these fine offerings with a small but eclectic menu, expertly mixed cocktails and juices, and all-round amazing vibes.
- Location: Muthangari Rd, Westlands
WAMA’s gardens are just what your group dining is looking for, and the menu will satisfy any taste. The fact that you’re being served by a differently-abled staff is just the icing on top. The wine selection is pretty good as well.
- Location: Gitanga Rd, Valley Arcade
For You is the complete Chinese restaurant, from the red decors, shared servings of food, an outdoor playground for kids, and a full bar. The staff even do the over-the-top birthday celebrations that embarrass you just enough to be a wonderful memory.
Bamboo at Zen Garden
- Location: Lower Kabete Rd, Gigiri
The way they serve their meals at Bamboo is artistic and appetizing. A lot of homage to Asian culture adorns the restaurant, finely introducing you to food from China, Japan, and Thailand. Bamboo calls it a culinary journey, and I recommend you take it.
Taste of China
- Location: TRV Parkwest Office Suites, Parklands
You could spend your whole time here just admiring the art piece, the set pieces, and just taking in the feel of the place. And then when the food comes, you’ll forget all that. It’s a party for your taste buds, and the broad choices available, meats especially, just make it exceptional.
- Location: Rhapta Rd, Westlands
I’ve met Indians who swear by Anghiti, saying it’s the closest they’ve come to tasting home food. With everything from the hottest curries to the sweetest pastries, I’m inclined to believe them. Just have to visit India now to confirm.
- Location: Gallant Mall, Parklands
Open House looks like a value restaurant, with its choice of simple decor. But the care given to the dishes here pitches it a lot higher than it looks. The service is also very personal, like they also deeply care about you being there.
- Location: The Mall, Westlands
Haandi has been around as long as I can remember and it’s still one of the most popular Indian food restaurants (plenty have come and gone). I have a taste for hot food so the curries there are my favourite, but everything accompanying is just as excellently made.
La Terrazza Italian Restaurant
- Location: Green House Mall, Adams Arcade
La Terrazza would easily qualify among the most romantic here too. The service, the food, the location, the mood within – everything is top shelf. I would visit La Terrazza daily if I could.
- Location: Lavington, Westlands, Garden City
Mambo Italia’s casual approach makes for relaxed dining – you won’t feel like you’re under-dressed here, you know what I mean? The pizza puts the fast-food variety to shame. And if you’re a pasta lover, you’ll absolutely applaud Mambo Italia’s.
- Location: Villa Rosa Kempinski, Westlands
One of the best Italian experiences in one of the best 5-star hotels in Nairobi. Lucca’s selection of food and drinks will make you think you’re in Rome. Even the outside seating is designed to transport you there, with the overhanging roofs and furniture style.
- Location: Kimathi St, CBD
I dream of the biriani here quite often. The Swahili food is the best in the city centre; so good, I can’t believe they don’t charge more. And the portions are insanely generous – I dare you to finish a whole meal.
- Location: Moi Avenue, CBD
I always look forward to Azuri’s version of normal, everyday Kenyan dishes like their five-star cuisines. The food is great, yes, but you’ll always want to take a photo before you start.
K’Osewe Ranalo Foods
- Location: Kimathi St, CBD
I can’t tell you how often my friends suggest K’Osewe to start off a weekend. The food is what you’ll find served in most Kenyan homes and made just as well.
So if you’re tired of fast food or looking for a full meal in the CBD, look no further than K’Osewe.
- Location: Longonot Place, CBD
The only place to fulfill an itching for both luxury and seafood. Mawimbi’s every meal is fit for a king so if you’re looking to impress or just treating yourself, there’s few places better.
Ocean Basket’s whole vibe is about generosity. It’s best enjoyed with a few friends who like seafood. The Mediterranean style allows a true taste of the ocean. The menu has a few dishes for those who aren’t really used to that flavour.
Seven Seafood & Grill
- Location: ABC Place, Westlands
The Afro-futuristic atmosphere of Seven Seafood only adds to the twist of Indo-Mediterranean flavours add to give Seven Seafood a fresh experience. The food presentation is also just as innovative. I’d have both a date and a business meeting here.
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.