My Favorite Places in Nairobi

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

Great Food

INTI Restaurant Nairobi Interior - photo by Ijeoma Kola

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.

Nice Ambiance

Ijeoma Kola at Pallet Cafe in Nairobi Kenya

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

Yummy Takeout

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

Decor

Ijeoma Kola at Wasp & Sprout Nairobi Kenya

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.

Clothing

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!

Plants​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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

Nature​​​​​​​

Ijeoma Kola at Karura Forest

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.

Animals

Giraffe Center – a must-do if you’re visiting Nairobi, check out my adventures with some friends in this vlog

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!

So those are my favorite places in Nairobi so far, though I’m sure I’ll be adding much more to the list as I start to gradually venture outside again! Feel free to drop your suggestions for places I should check out in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Ijeoma you can also try out “the social house” good ambience for working and social meet ups.
    Also try out Ankole for good food

  2. I totally agree with all these spots!! I kept thinking ohh, this place should be here, and boom! It’s next on the list! You should try out The collective restaurant around the CBD, it’s such a cute place!

  3. Interesting to read this. I worked in NBO for 5 months over 10 years ago and I actually don’t recognize any of the restaurants mentioned. Ha ha ha good to know I am not the only one unsettled at the thought of a park with lions in a city.

  4. Yaaay! I have added to my restaurant and takeout lists. I really miss clubbing with friends in Nairobi ? but imma try a socially distanced date with the plants.
    Suggestions: I have been to the Circle Art Gallery twice – it was a nice pastime. Ziplining at Kereita and touring the Brown Cheese Farm in Limuru (not in Nairobi but close enough) has also always been on my list ‘cuz I’ve heard good things so maybe you can check them out. My younger sisters love the water parks at Two Rivers and The Waterfront Malls so maybe for when the little one grows. Otherwise, thanks for sharing.

  5. You could check out Giraffe Manor, it’s an experience of a lifetime, Paradise lost located around Kiambu is also a great nature spot,You could also check out Village market and Two Rivers Mall, they both have great fun activities and new shopping places and products you could discover.

    1. I’ve been to both the malls, thanks! I’ve also heard good things about Paradise Lost but haven’t checked it out yet. Giraffe Manor is also on my to do list

  6. I don’t know of any places in Nairobi but it sure definitely looks like a place to visit and stay. I don’t know why other countries look so much better than the US. I’m opening to embark on cuisine of African food because I haven’t had to many dishes that are none from the country. I know that I would to shop there and what female who doesn’t like the word “shopping.” Enjoy!

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