I can’t believe it’s already been a year since Jonathan and I moved to Nairobi, Kenya. Between having a baby and life in the pandemic, time has really flown by! In my July Q&A, someone asked me what my favorite places were in Nairobi, and I figured now that I’ve been here for a bit, it would be a great time to spotlight my favorite restaurants, shops, and hang out spots in Nairobi. Whether you’re a local or Nairobi is on your travel bucket list, here are my favorite places in Nairobi.
My Favorite Restaurants in Nairobi
INTI – Hands down the BEST food I’ve had in Nairobi. I don’t understand how Japanese and Peruvian food go together but it WORKS. Plus the view at night is dreamy.
Chez Sonia – I actually haven’t had the wine here but there was a cheese dish with camembert & honey that I still dream about from time to time.
Hemingways Nairobi – an old classic, but with really, really good food.
Planet Picnic – we randomly found this place and though it has a much more casual feel than everything else in this category, the food has never disappointed us.
Chowpaty – our go to spot for Indian food. It’s all vegetarian but you won’t even notice because it’s so good!
Mama Ashanti – solid West African food for when I need a quick egusi soup fix.
Pallet Cafe – I love a restaurant that serves the community, and this one hires deaf and hard of hearing staff. Plus it has a coworking space as well as plenty of grass for little ones to play.
The Arbor – Another great outdoor eating area, with a home decor store, spa, and plant nursery all in the same venue. Their breakfast and noodle offerings are particularly good.
Honey & Dough – if you’re looking for THE Instagrammable spot, look no further than the blush & wicker decor at Honey & Dough.
Boho Eatery – also beautifully decorated, this restaurant is much smaller and great for intimate meals
Shamba – this is a great place for a weekend meal, especially since the grounds are vast and kids can run around. But they usually have vendors selling handmade goods or jewelry.
Artcaffe – with plenty of locations around the city, this coffee shop is a great place to get work done
We try to limit our takeout to once or twice a week, and here are our usual go tos.
OhCha Noodle Bar – excellent Thai food!
Shack Nairobi West – most flavorful burgers we’ve ever had
Uncle Nene’s Burgers – we love ordering from this place, the customer service is perfect, the price is right, and the fries are delicious
Mama Rocks Burgers – they would rank higher if they didn’t run out of plantains so often, but MR has interesting burger toppings/flavors. And their sweet potato fries are bomb!
My Favorite Shops in Nairobi
Wasp and Sprout – Although they also have a pretty good restaurant/cafe, I go to W&S mainly for all the wonderful Made in Africa wares that they sell.
Mabel Homestyle – Tons of cute little home decor & organization trinkets
Smart Lady Home – My go to spot for pillow covers and small rugs
House of Leather – Although I’m not a fan of the winding layout, House of Leather reminds me of American dollar stores, but a bit elevated. I get a lot of kitchen things from here, but also found plant pots too. They have everything.
Siri Studio – Beautifully tailored tops and wide legged bottoms that look so flattering
Shop New Level – Gorgeous clothing and accessories, slightly edgier and more bohemian style. And they recently launched a website making it even easier to shop!
Going to plant nurseries has become a favorite pandemic activity of mine – it’s a great socially distanced friend date!
Mandhari Plants – great nursery that also has a greenhouse & guesthouse, as well as concrete planters
Garden World – really beautiful selection of plants, ranging from landscaping to indoor houseplants
Plants Galore – smaller collection of plants, but more affordable pots and accessories
My Favorite Activity Spots in Nairobi
Karura Forest – really sizable forest with plenty of trails perfect for walking, running, or biking. The on-site restaurant always lets me down but is pretty decent.
Nairobi Arboretum – much smaller and a bit dustier than Karura, but a nice place to go for a walk or a picnic.
Nairobi National Park – I find it both fascinating and scary that lions exist in a park within the city center limits!
Sheldricks Orphanage – you can feed baby elephants, what more do you need!