Diani is a paradise. Saying the name alone brings up different memories for everyone. I put together this guide so that the next time you’re in town, you can take a break from your usual spots and try out our new favourites!
Piri Pirie’s Bar & Restaurant
I walked into this restaurant and was pleasantly surprised by the pool table that sits in the middle of the indoor part of the restaurant. As tempted as I was to try and get my name on their Pool Ladder, I settled in their outdoor sitting area and patiently waited for my food. Piri Pirie’s prides itself on the dishes on its menu that are inspired by British pub food. I have not had British pub food yet but if it tastes anything like what was served then I already love it. battered fish and chips were delicious but the seafood lasagna was a magical experience. I did not know that I needed prawns, calamari, crab, fish fillet, layered in pasta and coated in a cheesy white sauce until I tasted this amazing creation. The sauce wrapped around the fresh seafood and was so well balanced that not once did I feel the need to reach for my drink to wash it down. Light and airy are words that were invented to describe the chocolate lava cake, If there is one thing the chef here has managed to do, it’s finding a way to take food you would usually describe as stodgy and given it a light touch that makes it taste like your eating a cloud. Once cracked open, a pool of chocolate pours out that I could have drank cup fulls of. If you plan on eating here, show up hungry and in loose clothing because you might order more than one round of food.
Aniello’s Ristorante Pizzeria
This restaurant is the definition of unassuming. If you’re not looking out for it, you will miss the simple sign that directs you off the road and into their parking. The interior is thoroughly Italian bistro, from the cream coloured chairs to the owner sitting in the corner shuffling cards. The laid-back vibe is perfect for a long lunch or early dinner that stretches out until closing time. If you sit at the right spot you can look into the kitchen and see their wood-fired oven from which the tastiest pizzas emerge. From the thin Italian crust that held up a generous layer of sauce, cheese and various toppings to the garlicky Chicken Kiev, everything was so expertly flavoured. I can guarantee that I will be going back for 3 or more pizzas.
Colobus Shade Restaurant
If you’re an adventurous eater, then I am sure you have stumbled upon this restaurant more than once. It was once known for its location right on the beach and the blue tarp that shielded patrons from the sun as they feasted on their seafood dishes. It has now moved further inland but is still close to the beach. Besides the location, nothing else has changed. The seafood remains fresh and well cooked. Here is another place that is great for groups. The seafood platter is altered in portion according to the number of people on your table and our was a portion for 3 that we struggled to finish. The fresh lobster, crabs and octopus served with a fragrant pot of rice, potatoes and coconut sauce almost had us in a food coma. The generous portions and friendly service are worth every penny!
Jolly Bar Pizzeria
The colourful decor of this restaurant makes it stand out among the others around it, inviting you in to try its Sicilian delights. More pizza was ordered here along with a round of drinks. The atmosphere is comfortable which makes it a great place for afternoon cocktails and beers. The extensive menu will have you spoilt for choice but don’t hesitate to try more than just their pizzas.
This cafe sits on the opposite side of the same shopping centre as Piri Pirie’s. You might be tempted to skip it in lieu of your favourite cafe but it is definitely worth the try. This was my last stop and it was a great way to end my trip. The breakfast offerings are limited but this is not a bad thing. It means that they know what they are good at making and boy do they make it well. They are a Middle Eastern restaurant but their English breakfast options such as the egg and ham croissant is insanely delicious. This is the right place to stop for breakfast and copious amounts of coffee.
Leopard Beach Hotel
This hotel is making a come back from a fire that destroyed a good part of their previous suites. From the ashes, new stunning suites have risen and they are filling up fast every month. These newly designed suites have been put together with comfort in mind. If you’re travelling as a couple or small group then these suites are for you. It might be hard to leave the comfort of your suite but the restaurants here are worth it. The main dining area has a new health-conscious menu that will make sure you don’t return from your holiday 5 kgs heavier. Besides the extensive salad bar, the main menu offers a selection of vegetarian meals and desserts. Don’t forget to try their pizzeria that offers freshly made pizzas that may not be as friendly for your waist but taste great!
Swahili Beach Hotel
From the name, you can already guess what the theme of this hotel is but you will not be prepared for the level of detail and effort put into the aesthetics. From the high ceilings and themed furniture to the beautifully designed rooms, everything about this place makes you want to leave your worries at the door and embrace the space. In their suites, you will find plush bathrobes, the softest sheets and even a mini sewing kit. The rooms are set up to be so comfortable that you probably will only leave to bask by the pool or enjoy lunch by the ocean at Zan-zi-bar before running back to sink into the bed. Let’s talk about their food though. Heading the Kitchen Brigade is Chef John Chesimbili who has a great working relationship with Swahili Beach for the past number of years. Chef John is responsible for maintaining the new methodology of inhouse skills development and sourcing of sustainable, local ingredients supporting local community businesses.
The management understands that you came down all this way to relax, unwind and be wowed which exactly how their dining options are set up. Besides Zan-zi-bar, there is the renowned Spice Route restaurant at Swahili Beach is a traditional Indian Swahili Fusion restaurant and it is here that Chef Parwar Shivaji displays his magical hand with exotic spices and traditional cooking methods.
With two decades of experience in running fast pace, high volume, professional kitchens, Chef Gregory Henderson is proud to be mentoring the team of chefs at Swahili Beach Resort. Henderson believes in employing local community staff to develop and transfer skills to elevate the competency level of mostly unskilled labour, he says ” a skilled work force is vital to the success of any business and certainly make running operations easier, but it is by far more rewarding to develop that skill in a passionate and willing individual that does not have the funds or resources to obtain formal training. I enjoy going on this journey with them.”