A tropical paradise known for its azure blue ocean, adventure water activities and the superb mix of African and Indian cultures; there are multitudes of flavours, spice and fragrances to sample and enjoy in the food. It’s not called the spice island for nothing so come expecting dishes carefully prepared with a cacophony of spices. Here’s a few favourites you should try when visiting Stone Town…
#1 Lunch at Chumbe Island
Funded by their eco-tourism alone, by staying in their eco-lodge set with solar panels, compost toilets, using water regeneration; you will be supporting all of the conservation projects on the island. I’ve been to many islands, but here I felt like i had been deserted on an island in the middle of paradise ( with staff not far away). When visiting the island on a day trip lunch is an abundant affair of seafood, salads and rice/potato-based dishes. All fish are caught sustainably and are on the green seafood guide list Enjoy lunch after a snorkel and relax on a lounge beside the ocean after. This place was pure bliss!
Website: Chumbe Island Coral Park
#2 Dinner at Red Monkey Lodge
You can’t get any closer to the beach if you tried and with beautiful simple island accommodation right on a quiet beach in Jambiani, you can’t go wrong. With live music, the sensation of sand under your feet and the sunset smudges coloring the sky over the ocean, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better view in Zanzibar. The menu changes daily and will be written on the blackboard. I loved the spicy octopus and samosas. But to be honest- everything was a sumptuous affair.
Book your spot for dinner here: Red Monkey Lodge
#3 Breakfast at Protea Hotel- Mbweni Ruins
Perched beneath the palm trees and right on the Mbweni beach in the neighborhood adjacent to Stone Town, the Protea Hotel is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a buffet breakfast overlooking the ocean, mangroves and the beach. Linger a bit longer for lunch and cocktails beside the pool and find coolness in the shade of the trees.
For more info visit: Protea by Marriott
#4 The Taarab restaurant
Atop the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in the heart of Stone Town is a roof top restaurant overlooking the old city and the ocean. These are one of the restaurants which really impart the romance of Zanzibar especially once sun sets and night falls. Enjoy scrumptious breakfasts in the morning, sundowners in the evening and warm dinners at the a la carte restaurant outside on the terrace. The Chef is known for creating marvelous meals and the team are known for wonderful gestures of hospitality.
Website: Doubletree by Hilton
#5 Emerson Tea House Restaurant and Secret Garden
Get whisked away by the romance of Stone Town and book your seat at The Tea House at Emerson Hurumzi showcasing true Swahili style with lush Persian rugs, low tables and live traditional Taarab music. Known for serving up some of the best meals in Zanzibar, one cannot help but get swept away to another time and relax into Afro-Persian luxury. The restaurant only seats 35 guests so reservations are essential for lunch and dinner.
While the rooftop dinner venue of the Emerson is only open for dinner, Downstairs the secret spice garden is open during the day. With shaded spots beneath the trees and umbrellas to enjoy lunch, this magical little garden provides a welcome reprieve from the heat and the food is pretty delicious! Definitely try to the coconut curry.
Website: Emerson on Hurumzi
#6 Ma Shallah cafe
Started by local Yaseer, this buzzing restaurant is said have some of the best Indian meals in Zanzibar and this comes from Indian guests who tend to be very choosy about how their Indian meals are prepared. With well loved briyanis and butter chicken, fresh juice and fresh food, this is a stop you can’t miss on your culinary journey through the city. Watch how the naan is baked and sit outdoors watching the world go by.
Website: Ma Shallah Cafe
#7 Maru Maru
Another rooftop delight and one with a pool, Maru Maru is a welcome visit after a day of shopping in stone town. Enjoy views of the ocean and this dynamic little town from the top and take a dip in between drinks and lunch. On a hot day, the breeze up here is dreamy.
Website: Maru Maru