Known as the spice island, Zanzibar is a melting pot of cultures. In terms of its food, it’s literally that. Indian, Arabic and African culinary traditions meet in the Zanzibar kitchen. The result: an explosion of taste and a kitchen full of unique dishes to enjoy. To make sure you don’t miss the multi-culinary delights during your visit to Zanzibar, here’s a list of 8 must-try restaurants in Zanzibar that serve mouth-watering meals.
1. Rooftop Tea House restaurant (Stone Town)
This charming restaurant, located on the top of Emerson on Hurumzi, is one out of a thousand. It really excites all your senses: a 360-degree view of Stone Town, a colourful lounge interior, live music and the best Indian/Arabian dishes. Drink a cocktail at the start of the evening while enjoying the sunset. The Tea House has a tasteful Arabian decor, including carved woodwork, low dining tables and large colourful pillows. The special atmosphere, service and dishes in the Tea House are absolutely fantastic!
2. Taraab restaurant (Stone Town)
Taraab offers a mix of local and international cuisine in an intimate setting with live music and stunning sea views. It features a large variety of dishes for all types of food lovers. Feast on the crab soup, fish curry, lamb kofta, Mezzeh or any of the other tasty dishes while listening to live music. The service and ambience creates a wonderful dining experience. The desserts here are the perfect ending to a special evening. Try the chocolate chip cookie ice cream… Yummy! The chef even decorates the desserts with inspirational quotes.
3. Badolina Secret Garden (Nungwi)
The delicious food and fast service, combined with a great atmosphere and live music, make this restaurant a ‘must-visit’ if you are staying in Nungwi. Try the tuna and hummus plateau (carrot, tzatziki and chimichurri sauce) as a starter. This is the real stuff. The falafel, carpaccio and salad will also make you smile. Bandolina stands out from the other restaurants in Nungwi with its mediterranean dishes. After dinner, you can settle down on the lounge sofas and enjoy great cocktails with fresh fruit and spices. Although this restaurant is not located on the beach (behind restaurant Cholos), it is definitely worth a visit.
4. Bin Jabir (Matemwe)
This small local restaurant on the beach is a culinary surprise. The decoration may be quite basic, but the dishes are a real taste experience. You can choose from a variety of local dishes at a good price, such as shrimp curry, seafood, pilau and chicken in coconut sauce. All the food is fresh and the fish they serve is caught that very same morning. Enjoy the tasty local cuisine and laid-back atmosphere, with your feet in the sand. The staff here are warm and friendly, especially the owner. Bin Jabir is located next to Seles Bungalows, opposite the Ray diving centre.
5. Zan View restaurant (Kiwengwa)
On the top of a hill, overlooking a small village and the beach, lies Zan View. They serve fresh dishes full of flavour. The menu changes every day and consists of fresh fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. The fresh fish is highly recommended, but also the pizza, curry, tuna, steak and burgers are teeth watering. They have top service and after dinner you can chill in the lounge area on top of the roof terrace.
6. Kijiji restaurant (Paje)
A nice local restaurant with flavourful fresh African dishes at very reasonable prices. The interior is simple and functional, but the food is delicious and prepared with love. All the seafood hails from the nearby Indian Ocean, and its freshness shows. The passionate chef knows how to cook and spoil his guests. Try the catch of the day, chicken with coconut, ginger crab, seafood pasta or squid salad. Kijiji Restaurant is located next to SupaDuka supermarket.
7. Bahari pizza restaurant (Jambiani)
A cosy Italian restaurant, right on the beach of Jambiani, with a great view over the Indian Ocean. The pizzas are lovely, especially the famous fish and salami pizza. In addition to fresh pizzas, they also serve delicious lobster, curry, salads, tiramisu, pasta carbonara and many more goodies. If you need vitamins, order a fresh smoothie or fruit drink with crushed ice. Bahari offers an intimate ambiance with friendly staff and live music each Friday night. Hence this restaurant is included in the list of 8 must-try restaurants in Zanzibar.
8. The Island (Pongwe)
This is what they call ‘dining with a view’. The Island is built on a cliff in Pongwe Bay, 10 metres from the beach. Depending on the tides you can reach it on foot or by boat. These tides create a unique atmosphere, since the landscape around the restaurant changes continuously. If you are looking for a romantic, special place, you are at the right place. The dishes are fresh and a treat for your taste buds, especially the fish. The quality of the service is very high, with an eye for detail, as you expect from a restaurant like The Island. Absolutely one of the most special restaurants in Zanzibar.
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