There are many restaurants in Stone Town catering for all tastes and diets. Being an island, fresh fish in a wide variety of forms is served in all restaurants. Restaurants take advantage of the vast range of vegetables and spices which are grown on the island (Zanzibar is often referred to as “The Spice Island”) – with spices used in imaginative ways to flavour local and international dishes.
Visitors need to be aware that service in restaurants is invariably slow. This, we think, is a good sign as meals are cooked fresh and to order.
We have given indicative prices for meals in US$s. Payment at restaurants will be in Tanzania Shillings (TSH) with the current exchange rate of US$1.00 = TSH 2,000.00. TSH can only be obtained on arrival in Tanzania.
The Tea House – Rooftop restaurant at Emerson Spice Hotel in the heart of Stone Town with wonderful views. Very popular, top quality, top chef and top prices. Seafood taster menu for US$30.00 per person. A la carte menu allow US$40.00 + per person plus drinks. Essential to pre- book.
Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel Rooftop Restaurant – The original rooftop restaurant opened 20 years ago as Emerson Green and still with a winning formula, seating on cushions, one sitting commencing with pre-dinner drinks at 6.00PM to view the sunset, set menu. Allow US$30.00 per person plus drinks. Essential to pre-book.
Swahili House Hotel Rooftop Restaurant – At the rear of Stone Town a varied international menu. A lift has been installed which means guests do not have to climb the 80 steps – even when guests did – it was well worth the effort. Serves local and international dishes. Allow US$30.00 per person plus drinks. A large restaurant but still advisable to pre-book.
Beyt Al Salaam Hotel Restaurant – In comfortable, muted surroundings with fine dining candle lit dinner, and light meals during the day. The restaurant has developed a good reputation with visitors and ex-pats. Specialising in seafoods but with an interesting choice of meat and pasta dishes. Allow the equivalent of US$40.00 per person for a 3 course meal, plus drinks which are quite expensive. Advisable to pre-book.
Serena Inn Restaurants – Good for snack lunches on the terrace of the main bar. The main restaurant is large with some tables overlooking the ocean. Buffet and a wide la carte menu. The Terrace Restaurant is an intimate place to have a romantic seafood dinner with direct views over the ocean. Pre-booking is essential. Allow US$50.00 per person plus drinks.
Mashariki Palace Hotel Restaurant – set back near the Old Fort, the Rooftop Restaurant has views over the Forodhani Gardens to the ocean and harbour. Worth arriving at about 6.00PM to witness a magnificent sunset. Meals, in keeping with the quality of the Hotel, are of a universally high standard. Allow US$20.00 per person plus drinks.
Mercury’s – near “the big tree” towards the harbour. Named after one of Zanzibar’s greatest sons, Farrokh Bulsara – better known as Freddie Mercury, this popular bar & restaurant is set on a platform over the ocean and very close to the harbour. Average to good food but good for people wanting a DJ playing music by, of course, Queen plus the Bee Gees and the like. Allow US$15.00
per person plus drinks.
The Silk Route – at the bottom of Kenyatta Road. In our opinion the best Indian food in Town. Set on two upper floors some tables have views – but you do not go here for the views, you go for the food and the lively atmosphere. Turnover is quick so usually no need to book. Equally good for lunch and dinner. Allow US$15.00 per person plus drinks.
House of Spices Restaurant – tucked away in the heart of Town. Genuine Italian food but with the twist of Eastern/Zanzibari using local spices. Wonderful pizza baked in a traditional oven. A very wide range of spices for sale in the ground floor shop, and a boutique bar on the first floor adjacent to the restaurant. The building lovingly restored by the owners, Cesare & Anna.
Allow US$15.00 per person plus drinks.
Archipelago – on the ocean front at the very bottom of Kenyatta Road. Top place for lunch. Popular, quick turnover, simple but tasty meals. Allow US$5.00 per person. Alcohol is not served.
Maru Maru Hotel Terrace Restaurant – in Ghizenga Street behind the Old Fort. On the top floor of the Hotel (there is a lift) “Happy Hour” between 4.00 – 7.00PM, good for sundowners. Specialising in South Indian cuisine, especially dosas and idly, but also serving international dishes. Ingredients sustainably sourced daily direct from local fishermen and from the local farmers. Allow US$15.00 per person plus drinks. Ground floor courtyard café open during the day serving very good fresh pastries.
Monsoon Restaurant – Adjacent to “The Tunnel” towards Forodhani Gardens. The closest you will get to authentic Swahili/Zanzibari cuisine. There is an outside terrace with tables, and the inside is set up with mats and cushions and low tables. Three nights a week there is local Taraab & N’goma music. Allow about US$15.00 per person plus drinks.
The Pagoda – near Africa House Hotel. An institution on Zanzibar – has been around for ever. Excellent Chinese food using fresh ingredients and taking advantage of the wide range of vegetables and spices available on the island. No outside space or views, but do not let this put you off. Allow US$15.00 per person plus drinks.
6 Degrees South – a strange mix of “European Chic” lounge bar/restaurant with Zanzibari touches. Overlooking the ocean between The Serena & Africa House Hotel good for lunch and dinner. International cuisine with emphasis on sea food. Live music some nights of the week. A very extensive wine list. Allow US$25.00 per person plus drinks.
Taarab Restaurant and Bar – at Double Tree By Hilton Hotel. Fine dining, both for lunch & dinner, at this rooftop restaurant with an air-conditioned inside section and a terrace section with some views of the ocean. Extensive international menu prepared by well trained chefs. Allow US$25.00 per person plus drinks.
Café Miwa – on the 1st floor of the Post Office building in the main Kenyatta Road. Specialising in a variety of organic coffee and pastries, but also snacks such as sandwiches, wraps, pies, burgers and main courses are of south east Asian dishes. Prices from approx US$5.00 per person.
Stone Town Café – just past the Post Office in Kenyatta Road. Inside and shady area watching the world go by – open for breakfast with Marsala tea, lunch and dinner. A limited menu but all freshly cooked. Good place for a break on a tour of Stone Town. Allow about US$5.00 per person.
The Post Taperia – in the old Post Office building. The only Mediterranean/Spanish restaurant on the island specialsing in tapas and Spanish wine. Outdoor balcony and the elegant indoor “Cava Room”. There is also a gourmet deli where sandwiches are created according to clients wishes.