There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that 2019 was different. Beyond the politics, climate change and world events, there was a shift in the Nairobi restaurant scene that surprised our team. From veterans sporting new menus to new kids on the block breathing life into our growing gastronomic scene, 2019 was a year that left us spoiled for choice. We figured the best way to start our 2020 was to share a list of places we hope will surprise you and keep you going back for more.
You may be surprised to see a fast-food spot on this list but in our eyes all food is equal. Our staff member who suggested this restaurant was blown away by their chicken wrap. Sure enough, the spicy grilled chicken that fills this wrap is too good to resist and might just become our new favourite quick bite.
The one thing you love about this spot when you walk in is the art and decor. The art is very Kenyan, quirky, cheeky and definitely makes you want to explore more about the place. Chicken wings? More like chicken yes! When Java House opened this outlet, many were unsure about what different thing it was going to offer but the chicken wings are the winner, their fries are just crunchy enough and they even have meal plans for squads. It doesn’t get better than this and they’re centrally located in the city.
If you didn’t already know then we’re here to let you know that the restaurant inside Muse club is the eclectic Disco Bistro. You may have had some fun nights here but what you might not have tried is their food. One of our staff member’s recommends the lemon pepper wings that are a flavoursome combination of tangy and spicy and will leave you smacking your lips in satisfaction. This is definitely one of the restaurants in Nairobi to look out for in 2020.
This restaurant in Karen, Nairobi has been around for some time now and has managed to move with the times while remaining a cosy spot to enjoy great food and drinks. You don’t have to take our word for it, read all about our managing editor’s experience there. That’s all the proof you need that their food is worth the drive up into the suburbs.
There were so many wows when we got to Ventana Restaurant during the 2019 Burger Week. The scene-stealer was the chicken burger! It’s not easy getting the chicken burger right but they nailed it. It’s a flavourful combo of tangy chicken pieces, lighting up gloriously in the mouth as you chew on the burger. Ventana has always been one of the ideal spots for steak and fine dining and it’s a surprise that their fast food is also on spot.
Dari was the setting for last year’s Nairobi Cocktail Festival which showcased 40 different cocktails but while some people were making the most of their cocktail experience, we were busy in the food corner discovering a dish we had never seen before. The Dari ugali and sukuma wrap is a must-have fusion meal that is both filling and incredibly delicious. This restaurant, one of the few restaurants in Nairobi with open space and where you’ll occasionally spot an antelope, is also on our top list of places we want to go back to in 2020.
Small World Country Club
Our team was lucky enough to stay at Small World Country Club last year. Beyond the Instagrammable pool and cosy Swahili-inspired rooms, we got to taste the food from their head chef, Chef Chris. The stand out dish was their mango frangipane tart that was crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside with just the right amount of sweetness. Read our full review of our stay here.
Saab is run by the lovely Soad who is friendly and passionate about what she does. The menu has been carefully selected by her and has items like a proper Turkish breakfast, Medittarenean breakfast, a ‘pick & prepare’ option, freshly baked bread and so much more. Their menu is perfectly small and is going to get bigger as they perfect every dish. Saab Bakery feels like home when you enter it, but when you eat, it only becomes better.
Two Grapes Wine & Friends
Two Grapes – Wine & Friends is a new wine bar located in Kilimani and is owned by two friends who love their wine and wanted a space for people to drink their favourite drink and enjoy quality tapas. In their menu, you’ll find wines from all over the world and a Tapas menu inspired by the two friends shared experience of Belgium, Kenya and Rwanda. Their tapas menu included items such as Belgian fries, Caramelized plantains, Blini Mbili and more.
Zucchini ABC Place
We can’t get enough of Zucchini’s outlet at ABC Place. Beyond the wide array of fruits, vegetables, juices and grains, they have a cafe where you can find everything from breakfast treats to lunchtime snacks. Pop in for a slice of pizza, soup, falafel and other daily meals all made fresh daily then wash it down with a hot (or cold) cup of coffee or tea from their drinks menu.
DJC Kitchen, another top contender for restaurants in Nairobi to look out for in 2020, has an extensive menu that offers East Asian fast food classics such as sweet and sour chicken, spring rolls and dumplings. The decor is modern with the addition of small potted plants and warm lighting that will make you feel right at home as you take a break from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Next time you’re on Koinange Street, pop in for breakfast, lunch or take a break from their traffic and enjoy their happy hour where they serve cocktails just as delicious as their food.
The Daily Café
We participated in our first office eating competition at this wonderful cafe last year. It’s one of those amazing restaurants in Nairobi that’s kind of hidden from many, set nicely at the Doctors Plaza in Nairobi Hospital. Most of us had not been here before and we were impressed not only by the pizza that we had to devour in less than 20 minutes but by the interior which hints on a classic American diner. Their fruit smoothie is a must-have and a Sunday afternoon would be a great day to head there.