Zanzibari cuisine is a wonderful mish mash of cuisines, reflecting the melting pot of cultures that make up this semi autonomous island off the coast of Tanzania. There are curries laced with exotic spices, grilled meats and seafood, Zanzibari pizza – the choices are endless and mouthwatering. Here are my top 5 places to eat in Stone Town, Zanzibar.
An institution in its own right, Lukmaan’s is located near the former slave market. A popular place to eat with locals and tourists alike, the restaurant serves up pilau rice, curried octupus, flat breads and all manner of dishes. If you’re unsure, ask – the staff speak English and are super helpful. Make sure you order the tamarind juice (plus one to go), a refreshing pick me up in the humidity and heat.
2. Forodhani Gardens
I spent many a happy hour wandering through Forodhani Gardens, snacking on perfectly grilled calamari, homemade sausages on sticks, fried fish, and urojo. The latter is also called Zanzibari Mix, and each stall has its own unique combinations of boiled egg, crispy bhajis, vegetables and curry sauce. Adjust to your own taste by adding tamarind juice and chilli. Other offerings at Forodhani Gardens include Zanzibari pizza which resembles a heavy crepe, kebabs, fresh pressed sugar cane juice and grilled meats and seafood.
Dimly lit and atmospheric, places to eat in stone town Monsoon is located along the waterfront. It has traditional style dining with low tables and cushions scattered around a high ceilinged room. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Monsoon hosts taarab performances. The restaurant serves traditional Swahili cuisine which features seafood heavily – we ordered the lobster and left happy.
You might not think to find gelato in Zanzibar, but there are plenty of gelaterias dotted around Stone Town. Best of them all is places to eat in stone town tamu, a little hidden gem in the corner of a courtyard near the big hotels. Run by locals, Tamu offers all the usual popular flavours, plus surprising local ones like tamarind and baobab.
5. Rooftop Tea House, Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel
Inside a fairytale of a hotel, on the very roof tops, with views across to the Indian Ocean, is the places to eat in stone town Rooftop Tea House, one of the best restaurants in Stone Town. The restaurant books out quickly, so reservations are recommended, especially for dinner. The views, service and quality of food make it a popular place to sip a cocktail while watching the sunset.