Five Food Experiences We Love in Zanzibar
Food is a top priority for many travelers, and Zanzibar doesn’t disappoint. A delightful tropical island off the coastal mainland of Tanzania, Zanzibar is a destination overflowing with history, intrigue, and multi-cultural tradition that delivers an endless array of magnificent experiences for visitors, including sumptuous dining. With an abundance of fresh seafood, and an ancient tradition of exotic spices, Zanzibar is a food lover’s dream.
Here are five of our favorites when it comes to enchanting dining experiences in Zanzibar.
The Rock is perhaps one of the most charming and beautiful restaurants in all of East Africa. Literally set upon a rock jutting out from the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, this delightful eatery is one of the most legendary dining experiences in Zanzibar, and certainly a “must” for foodies who love fresh seafood in an exotic ambiance.
Previously a fishermen’s post, The Rock has just 12 tables. The house fills up quickly, so reservations are a necessary, especially if you want to score one of the better tables. The menu is reliably centered on the abundance of available seafood, but also has a wonderfully delicious vegetarian list of options.
Emerson Spice Café
Emerson Spice Café is reputedly one of the best restaurants in Zanzibar. Part of the Emerson Spice Hotel, and situated within a Swahili sultan’s palace from the 1800s, this trendy space is often host to celebrities. Lunch is served daily in the downstairs Café and reservations are not needed.
Evening cocktails and dinner are served rooftop, where the warm, vibrant colors of the sunset make it a sensory delight that goes beyond the palate. Do make reservations with plenty of advanced notice because the restaurant gets booked quickly; dinner is served promptly at 7:00 PM and there is only one seating.
Forodhani Gardens Waterfront Snacks
The Forodhani Gardens are situated between the Arab Fort and the ocean, near the House of Wonders in Stone Town.
A laid-back promenade through the evening food market at Forodhani Gardens will never disappoint the foodies among us. A popular meeting place for locals, the park underwent renovations recently, and now enjoys a new boardwalk, improved lighting, and ample seating.
Perfect for an evening picnic on the grass, just bring your blanket because there are plenty of stalls selling delicious fare. From pizza, to fish skewers, to spicy soup, and mango slices lightly dusted with chili salt, there is something to satisfy every craving. To quench your thirst, enjoy a cup of hand cranked sugar cane juice infused with lime and ginger.
The Swahili culture is an opulent blend of African, Arabic, Indian, Middle Eastern and European cultures. Of course, this colorful blend influences the food.
House of Spices
A reminder of Zanzibar’s long-enduring spice industry, the House of Spices is one of the most popular restaurants in Stone Town. Serving Indian Ocean fare with an Italian flare, the dining room is a covered terrace that was once used to hang and dry spices before they were packed for shipment to far off destinations. The House of Spices is a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ TripAdviser winner.
A ‘Certificate of Excellence’ Trip Advisor winner, Upendo offers everything a food-focused traveler could dream of in an island dining experience. Situated on a white sand beach with coral cliff hangings and dramatic vistas of the Indian Ocean, this exceptional restaurant is part of the luxury resort located on the Michamvi Peninsula and boasts one of the most striking views on the island. A seafood lover’s delight, Upendo should not be missed by those who enjoy amazing fish, crab, prawn, and lobster dishes.
About the Author:
Eran Feinstein is the CEO and Co-Founder of Online Zanzibar, an online hub for travel and other business communities in Zanzibar. With over 14 years of leading technology, sales, marketing, and operation teams Eran is an authority in the East African e-commerce and payments arena. He’s also an avid marathon runner.