100. The Carnivore Restaurant

The Carnivore is an open-air restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya.
It’s specialty is meat, and features an all-you-can-eat meat buffet.

Source: mapio.net

The Carnivore is reported to be touristy.
Mincing no words, many travelers have labeled it a full-fledged Tourist Trap.

But if you’re interested in a lively dining atmosphere perpetuated by an out-going staff, it’s said to be the place to go (at least once, just to say you’ve been). They serve ox balls there, which sort of makes attendance mandatory.

Source: Tripadvisior

Famous more for the presentation than for the food itself, the meat is skewered on Maasai swords, roasted over a coal pit, carved table side and served on cast-iron plates.

The Carnivore opened its doors in 1980 and became an instant success. It was praised for its game meat and the unique experience it offered.
The UK magazine Restaurant named it one of the “World’s Best 50 Restaurants” in 2002 and 2003.
The following year Kenya imposed a much-praised ban on the sale of game meat and there were fears that the restaurant might go under, yet it remained a popular tourist destination.
Nowadays, it serves the meat of domestic animals, including rumps of beef, legs of lamp and pork, racks of ribs, sausages and chicken wings, as well as ostrich, camel and crocodile meat.
It does have a vegetarian option for those who are forced into attendance.

Source: Tripadvisor

Both lunch and dinner include salad, soup and a range of side dishes, followed by desserts and Kenyan coffee.

And, of course, there’s the famous Dawa.

Take 126 matatu from the town center in daylight hours and walk the 1km from the main road. (There’s a signpost just past the Wilson Airport.)
At all other times, take a taxi.
11:30 am to 11:00 pm

90. Kahawa *

Kenya Coffee is widely considered to be among the best coffees in the world.

Kenya’s perfect coffee growing climate, rich soil and wet processing method combine to produce the finest beans.
It would stand to reason that Kenyans are enjoying their coffee all across the country – morning, noon and night.

Yet Kenyans, who were once citizens of the former British Kenya Colony, have inherited The Crown’s preference for tea rather than coffee.

Still, one can find some highly recommended coffee houses in the country’s capital.
The following cafes were approved on several sites (among them, Robert Omgija, at travelstartblog, Corlena Bailey at Culture Trip, Tripadvisor, YouTube, Foursquare and Yelp).

Nairobi Java House
One of the first coffee shops in Nairobi and home to one of Kenya’s best hand-roasted coffees is Nairobi Java House.
Apparently, it’s Nairobi’s answer to Starbucks.
From its website:
Java House opened its first store in 1999 at Adam’s Arcade in Nairobi. With the aim of introducing gourmet coffee drinking culture in Kenya, the first outlet was a coffee shop and later the brand evolved to an American diner style restaurant to its present-day status as a 3 -day part coffee-led, casual dining concept.”
Nairobi Java House, ABC Pl., Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, Kenya,
+254 20 350 4468

Artcaffe Coffee and Bakery
From its website:
Artcaffe is a full service bakery, coffee shop, bar and casual dining restaurant,open daily from 7am to midnight that targets customers of all ages who care about quality, ambience, community and value for money in the products they consume and their experience. We freshly bake artisanal bread and pastries, we brew real Kenyan coffee, craft signature cocktails and lead the way in modern casual dining in Kenya.
Artcaffé, Westgate Mall, Mwanzi Rd, Nairobi, Kenya,
+254 725 20202, or
Artcaffé, Dagoretti Road, The Hub Shopping Mall, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 790 124892

Urban Grind Coffee & Grill
Advertised on Tripadvisor:
At Urban Grind, we pride ourselves on offering our guests:• A delicious assortment of specialty drinks, a good food selection as well as the finest coffees, including cappuccino, café au lait, latte, and mocha.
Apparently a bit off the beaten track, but worth the journey.
Urban Grind, Highway Mall Along Uhuru Highway, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 70 895 4515

Pete’s Cafe and Burrito Haven
From its website:
We are known as a coffee company before anything else. We go out of our way to source for quality coffees all over the region as each country’s coffee is unique in its own way. Our choice of a Mexican Cuisine is because we believe in great tasting, healthy and flavorful meals.
The owner of Pete’s is a former barista champion of Kenya. Seating is on a leafy outdoor patio filled with umbrellas.
Pete’s Cafe and Burrito Haven, Bishop Magua Centre, Ngong Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 20 2177453

Gibsons Coffee House
This coffee house grows its own coffee.
From its website:
Our uncompromised quality of food and high level of service, attracts customers and ensures they leave with a memorable experience.
Gibsons Coffee House, Banda St., Nairobi, Kenya,
+254 728 981656

Kaldis Coffee House
Locals especially appreciate Kaldis’ breakfasts, milkshakes and coffee.
Kaldis Coffee House, Kimathi St., Nairobi, Kenya,
+254 725 00 0784

Connect Coffee
Connect Coffee is a small cafe that follows the coffee-making process from bean to brew.
From its website:
We roast coffee every day onsite and ONLY serve coffee prepared between 2-14 days. We provide a variety of extraction methods based on the coffee bean characteristic to meet customers preference and choice. From each sale of a cup of coffee we donate 5% to improve coffee farmers welfare.
Connect Coffee, The Riverfront, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 708 790480

Pointzero Coffee
From Google Guide:
Located right next to Nairobi Gallery, this is one of the most sensible meeting spots in Nairobi. It’s central but not in the bustle of the city, it’s rooted but yet seems mobile seeing as the kitchen is based on a food truck, it’s shielded from the elements yet open enough for you to feel you’re outdoors. They have a great drinks and menu, numerous choices of coffee and a very powerful Dawa for a chilly Nairobi day. It’s a place to go again and again.
Pointzero Coffee, Posta Rd / Next to Nyayo House, PO Box 5449, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 707 789376

As noted earlier, “kahawa” means “coffee” in Swahili. But, honestly, doesn’t it seem like “java” ought to be the Swahili translation?

88. Tusker – My Beer, My Country

Tusker Lager, which has a sound international market,
is the highest selling beer in East Africa.

For Kenya, Tusker is more than just a beer; it is a symbol of national pride.

What makes it stand out from the rest is the fact that its brewing ingredients are 100% Kenyan.

Tusker is truly home-made. The barley is grown in Kenya’s Rift Valley region. The spring water is from the Aberdare Mountains. The yeast is local as well.

Source: East African Arig-News

Kenya Breweries Ltd was founded by Charles and George Hurst in 1922. Originally, the beer was produced in small copper vessels heated by firewood. Bottling was done by hand.

The first 10 cases of beer were delivered by an ox-drawn cart to Nairobi’s Stanley Hotel (currently called the Sarova Stanley) in 1923. That same year, George was killed by an elephant in a hunting accident. In a slightly twisted tribute to his brother, Charles named the first beer brewed “Tusker”.

The company’s early slogan was
“Baada ya Kazi burudika
na Tusker”
(After work, relax with a bottle of Tusker).  

Today’s more commonly used slogan is
Bia yangu, Nchi yangu” which means
“My beer, My country.”

At present, the brand commands over 30% of the country’s total beer market.

You many want to asked to have it served  baridi—cold.
If you don’t ask, it will arrive warm.

87. What’s a Dawa?

Dawa, the de facto national drink of Kenya, is a mixture of honey, lime, sugar, ice, and vodka. It’s popularity is such that virtualy every restaurant and bar in Kenya has it on the menu.

The star ingredient is honey, which is fitting for a country with a long history of traditional beekeeping.

The Dawa cocktail was first mixed together and served at The Carnivore in Nairobi, back in 1980 when the restaurant first opened its doors.

Dr. Dawa travels from table to table wearing a 1920s cigarette girl-inspired tray carrying the libation’s necessities while wearing a feathered hat similar to those worn by African witch doctors.

Dawa means “medicine” in Swahili, but Samson Kivelenge (a.k.a. “Dr. Dawa”), who is credited with naming the cocktail, does not claim it possesses healing properties.

Still, a Dawa does seem to act as an effective rejuvenating tonic in Kenya’s hot weather.

Dawa comes with its own accessory, a chunky wooden (or plastic) Dawa stick.

Basically, the Dawa stick is a honey-coated swizzle stick that is occasionally carved at the head, or decorated with famous beadwork of the country’s Maasai people. It comes wrapped in honey.
You use it to stir your drink and the honey dissolves with the rest of the ingredients.

These days the Dawa is sipped at sunset across East Africa in a time-honored happy-hour tradition.

The best way to end a safari day is with a beautiful sunset and drink – an activity that’s known as a sundowner.
Make mine a honey drink.


2 teaspoons white sugar or 1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 fluid ounces vodka
(1 or 2 shots)

crushed ice cube

1 whole lime, quarter with skin on

3/4 cup lime juice

1 Dawa stick*, twisted in creamed honey or 2 tablespoons of honey

 *You can replace the Dawa stick with a popsicle stick or spoon.

Put lime and sugar into a whiskey tumbler.
Crush lime slices slightly, add ice and pour in the vodka.
Add the lime juice.

Twist a Dawa stick into some honey and add the stick to the drink. Use the stick to stir the drink.

The more you crush the limes into the mixture and stir with the honey stick, the sweeter your Dawa will taste.

Source: Food.com