Mombasa is a top travel destination in Kenya thanks to its historical sites, exquisite holiday resorts, and beautiful beaches. It’s also an excellent place for nightlife and life-changing culinary adventures. As a local who’s extensively explored its food scene, I am delighted to share the best restaurants in Mombasa.
Table of Contents
- 15 Best Restaurants in Mombasa
- 1. Mombasa Tamarind (Best Restaurant in Mombasa Overall)
- 2. Char-Choma (Best for Nyama Choma and Ocean Views)
- 3. Java House (Best for Burgers and Takeaway Coffee)
- 4. Jahazi Coffee House (Best for Coffee and Local Food)
- 5. Blue Room (Best for Affordable Food in Mombasa CBD)
- 6. Barka (One of the Best Traditional Restaurants in Mombasa)
- 7. Forodhani (Best for Authentic Swahili Cuisine)
- 8. Sunset Lounge (Best for Drinks and Sunset Views)
- 9. Tapas Cielo (One of the Best Bars in Mombasa)
- 10. Cafesserie (Best for Burgers, Coffee, and Pastries)
- 11. Floating Island (Best for Fine Dining in Mombasa)
- 12. Yul’s (Best for Seafood and Watersports)
- 13. Maasai Beach Bar (Best for Food and Sea Views)
- 14. Safari Inn (One of the Most Affordable Restaurants in Mombasa)
- 15. La Casa Di Nico (Best for Sushi and Pizza in Mombasa)
- Must-Try Meals in Mombasa
- Mombasa Restaurants: FAQs
- Now You Know Where to Eat in Mombasa
I’ve visited Mombasa numerous times for holidays. The coastal destination attracts many tourists and is home to various local and expatriate communities. This makes its food scene diverse, ranging from scrumptious Swahili dishes to international meals.
If you’re planning a trip to Mombasa and wondering where to eat, read on. In this foodie’s guide, you’ll discover the best restaurants in Mombasa. They include places with the best pizza, seafood, biryani, coffee, and more.
15 Best Restaurants in Mombasa
After revisiting Mombasa and eating around its neighborhoods, I’ve compiled the following list of my favorite restaurants in the city. The compilation is a mixture of my personal opinion and customer reviews online – based on factors such as food quality, service, ambiance, views, price, and location.
I’ve dined at many more restaurants than mentioned, but I’ve narrowed this list down to my top 15 based on the above criteria.
1. Mombasa Tamarind (Best Restaurant in Mombasa Overall)
The Mombasa Tamarind is a jewel along the Kenyan coast and one of the best restaurants in Mombasa. I’ve visited this beautiful eatery many times and always look forward to indulging my taste buds in their palatable meals.
Besides local Swahili dishes like biryani, it serves delightful prawns, lobster, and fish in the most serene ambiance, making it one of Mombasa’s best seafood restaurants.
In addition to the elegant restaurant that commands excellent views of the ocean, Mombasa Tamarind operates two dhows (Babulkher and Nawalilkher). Visitors to this eatery are treated to a culinary adventure onboard these traditional boats.
If you’d like to take a lunch or dinner cruise on one of the dhows, join this exciting tour. Besides enjoying palatable seafood and cocktails, you’ll be entertained by a live band. Make sure you try the Tamarind fish soup, mangrove oysters, and seafood platter (if you’re in a group).
Mombasa Tamarind Information
Address: Along Cement Silos Road, Mombasa
Phone: +254 722 205 160
Operating Hours: Daily from 12 pm to 4 pm (lunch) and 6 pm to 11 pm (dinner)
Must-Try Meals: Tamarind fish soup, mangrove oysters, sunset crab
Average Cost: $4-$7 per starter, $19-$50 per main, $4-$11 for desserts
2. Char-Choma (Best for Nyama Choma and Ocean Views)
Char-Choma Restaurant is a gem and it’s one of my favorite places to eat in Mombasa. Its quality of services, delicious food, and inviting mood make it a place you’ll cherish. The restaurant excels in African and international cuisines, with must-try dishes like nyama choma (barbecued meat) served with spicy chips or potato wedges.
Another thing that sets Char-Choma apart is its delightful setting. Its raised deck allows you to dine and sip your drinks while gazing at the beautiful ocean. For families with small children, there’s even a playground where the little ones can have their fun.
So, whether you’re a family looking for a wholesome meal, a couple seeking a romantic dinner, a solo traveler exploring local flavors, or a food enthusiast searching for the finest dishes, this beachfront eatery has something for everyone.
Char-Choma Restaurant Information
Address: Aga Khan Beach Cottages, Mombasa
Phone: +254 794 673 598
Operating Hours: Daily from 6 am to midnight
Must-Try Meals: Nyama choma, African breakfast, black forest cake – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $3-$8 per starter, $16-$27 per main, $4-$13 for desserts
3. Java House (Best for Burgers and Takeaway Coffee)
With more than 20 locations in the country, including Nairobi and Mombasa, Java House is one of Kenya’s best restaurants and cafes. The restaurant chain is popular among families, couples, and those looking for a place to dine and work from their laptops. It has an extensive menu full of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
There are three Java House restaurants in Mombasa, but the Nyali Center branch is my favorite. I’ve visited this outlet several times because of their juicy beef bacon burgers, house coffee, and classic lemonade. They also have other fantastic meals, snacks, and drinks to suit your tastes. Before you leave, make sure to order your favorite Kenyan coffee to take away.
Java House Nyali Information
Address: Nyali Center, along Links Road
Phone: +254 718 543 579
Operating Hours: 7 am to 10 pm (Mon-Thu), 7 am to 11 pm (Fri), 8 am to 11 pm (Sat), 8 am to 10 pm (Sun)
Must-Try Meals: Swahili coconut fish curry, burgers, house coffee – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $2-$4 for coffee, $9-$29 per main, $4-$8 for desserts
4. Jahazi Coffee House (Best for Coffee and Local Food)
Jahazi Coffee House in the heart of the old town is one of the top restaurants in Mombasa for anyone seeking an authentic taste of Swahili dishes. Aside from delicious meals, it has elegant furniture, decor, and some captivating paintings.
Its warm aura and rustic charm transport you into a world that beautifully reflects the heritage of Mombasa’s current and former inhabitants – Swahili people, Indians, Arabs, and Portuguese.
After savoring their meals, such as my personal favorite, the biryani chicken, you can enjoy a cup of Kenyan tea or coffee. For those who love history, join this guided historical walking tour of Mombasa Old Town and visit iconic sites such as Fort Jesus and Pembe Za Ndovu (elephant tusks).
Jahazi Coffee House Information
Address: Off Ndia Kuu Road, Mombasa Old Town
Phone: +254 113 585 755
Operating Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Must-Try Meals: Chicken biryani, house coffee, samaki wa nazi (coconut fish curry)
Average Cost: $2-$5 per coffee, $6-$11 per main
5. Blue Room (Best for Affordable Food in Mombasa CBD)
Established in 1952, Blue Room is one of the most famous landmarks and restaurants in Mombasa CBD, with an additional outlet at Likoni Mall. Known for its cleanliness, warm staff, delicious food, and great prices, this restaurant offers an excellent escape from the city’s heat. It’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, and cheap eats in Mombasa.
If you’re looking for nice restaurants in Mombasa, stop at Blue Room. Its round-out menu includes breakfast options, burgers, rice and curries, desserts, and fresh juices. My favorite dish here is the grilled steak with mashed potatoes. You’ll also love their ice creams and milkshakes.
Blue Room Restaurant Information
Address: Haile Selassie Road, Mombasa
Phone: +254 797 272 727
Operating Hours: Daily from 7 am to 9:30 pm
Must-Try Meals: Grilled steak, chicken burger, vegetable fried rice – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $5-$11 per main, $3-$6 for desserts
6. Barka (One of the Best Traditional Restaurants in Mombasa)
Barka is one of the best traditional restaurants in Mombasa, attracting local families and tourists. Owing to its quality services, authentic food, and lovely ambiance, Barka has attracted VIPs, including Uhuru Kenyatta (former president of Kenya). It opens early for breakfast and stays open late for dinner.
This restaurant in the old town is famous for its affordable Swahili dishes such as biryani, pilau, and grilled fish in coconut sauce (samaki wa nazi). You can also enjoy Kenyan tea and Swahili snacks like viazi karai (spiced fried potatoes) and muhogo wa nazi (cassava in coconut). Make sure you try their chicken shawarma.
Barka Restaurant Information
Address: Mji wa Kale, along Makadara Road, Mombasa
Phone: +254 722 881 009
Operating Hours: Daily from 7 am to 10 pm
Must-Try Meals: Biryani, samaki wa nazi, chicken shawarma – click here to view the full menu
Average Cost: $1-$4 for breakfast, $3-$9 per main, $2-$3 for drinks
7. Forodhani (Best for Authentic Swahili Cuisine)
Forodhani is a charming seafront restaurant in Mombasa Old Town by the old port. It offers ample seating with stunning ocean views and is well-liked by families and visitors to the city. Its proximity to historic Fort Jesus, a short walk away, makes it a convenient choice for history enthusiasts.
Having dined at Forodhani twice, I eagerly look forward to returning whenever I’m next in Mombasa. The restaurant offers an enjoyable atmosphere, friendly service, and authentic Swahili cuisine, including seafood and vegan options. I recommend trying their spicy jumbo prawns, chicken biryani, pilau, and ukwanju (tamarind juice).
Forodhani Restaurant Information
Address: Sir Mbarak Hinawy Road, Mombasa
Phone: +254 724 401 551
Operating Hours: Daily from 9 am to 11 pm
Must-Try Meals: Chicken biryani, seafood platter, fish in coconut curry
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $9-$16 per main
8. Sunset Lounge (Best for Drinks and Sunset Views)
Hotel English Point Marina is a luxurious property situated at the mouth of Tudor Creek. It offers breathtaking views of the ocean, Mombasa Old Town, and Fort Jesus. This 5-star accommodation facility in Mombasa boasts a hotel, apartments, a spa, and a marina. It also features five restaurants catering to both in-house and outside guests.
If you’re searching for the best Indian restaurant in Mombasa, look no further than Karahi. For scrumptious teppanyaki, sushi, and sashimi options, Masa is your ideal choice, and if you’re craving pasta and pizza, Margherita won’t disappoint. Arabica is perfect for coffee and pastry lovers.
My favorite spot at this hotel is Sunset Lounge, known for its great ambiance and vibrant setting. Here, you can enjoy the latest live sports over a beer or watch the glow of the setting sun while sipping on a cocktail. After the sunset, you can indulge in a delectable meal like nyama choma served with ugali.
Sunset Lounge Information
Address: Hotel English Point Mombasa, along Silos Road
Phone: +254 730 930 107
Operating Hours: Daily from 3 pm to midnight
Must-Try Meals: Nyama choma, cocktails
Average Cost: $9-$16 per main, $3-$9 for drinks
9. Tapas Cielo (One of the Best Bars in Mombasa)
Tapas Cielo Bar & Restaurant, located in the Nyali neighborhood of Mombasa, is an ideal spot for professionals and tourists. This versatile establishment isn’t just a restaurant; it’s also a cocktail bar, lounge, and whisky bar catering to a mature crowd (over 25 years). It has a modern decor, with cool blue lighting that creates a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
Here, you can expect great service, fantastic music, and excellent vibes. With a full range of drinks, including wine and cocktails, and a menu that covers everything from main meals to tapas and desserts, there’s something for everyone. Try out their tasty offerings, like veggie burgers, fried calamari rings, lemon prawns, and indulgent flavors of Italian gelato.
Tapas Cielo Bar & Restaurant Information
Address: Nyali Centre, Links Road, Mombasa
Phone: +254 739 888 888
Operating Hours: 12 pm to 3 am (Sun-Thu), 12 pm to 5 am (Fri-Sat)
Must-Try Meals: Margherita pizza, tapas, grilled T-bone steak – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $8-$14 per main, $3-$5 for desserts
10. Cafesserie (Best for Burgers, Coffee, and Pastries)
Cafesserie is one of the best places to eat in Mombasa for any occasion. Whether planning a coffee date, a romantic dinner, or just a quick stop for pastries, this cafe, bakery, and restaurant has you covered. It also prides itself on having the finest coffee beans in Mombasa.
French and Italian cultures influence its diverse menu. From freshly baked bread and pastries to delicious dishes like beef burgers, pizza, grilled salmon, and pasta, there’s something to satisfy every taste. They even offer vegan options for those with dietary preferences.
The cafe caters well to digital nomads, providing fast WiFi, power socket outlets, and comfortable seating – making it an excellent choice for getting some work done after a day of beach strolling and fun activities. So, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, brunch, or late-night dining, Cafesserie has all your dining needs covered in a welcoming space.
Cafesserie Mombasa Information
Address: City Mall Nyali along Mombasa-Malindi Road
Phone: +254 712 011 011
Operating Hours: Daily from 7 am to midnight
Must-Try Meals: Burgers, grilled salmon, Italian coffee – click here to view the full menu
Average Cost: $2-$5 for coffee, $7-$16 per main, $3-$7 for desserts
11. Floating Island (Best for Fine Dining in Mombasa)
The Floating Island Restaurant, one of the top restaurants in Mombasa, offers a diverse menu that caters to various tastes. Whether you’re a seafood lover, a pizza or sushi fan, or you’re after some coffee and pastries, they’ve got you covered.
Inspired by local culture and traditional dhows, the restaurant’s beautiful design and decor create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
In addition to its delicious food, this restaurant has exceptional customer service. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating, and they even have a swimming pool for the kids. With ample parking and free WiFi, Floating Island offers an excellent fine dining experience in Mombasa for families, groups of friends, and couples.
The Floating Island Restaurant Information
Address: New Nyali Bridge, Mombasa
Phone: +254 100 466 060
Operating Hours: Daily from 11 am to 11 pm
Must-Try Meals: Seafood platter, pizza, grilled steak
Average Cost: $4-$7 per starter, $22-$49 per main, $3-$8 for desserts
12. Yul’s (Best for Seafood and Watersports)
Situated close to Bamburi Beach, Yul’s is undoubtedly one of the top beach restaurants in Mombasa, offering good food and entertainment. Their menu is known for seafood such as lobster, prawns, fish, burgers, pizza, and tropical cocktails. One standout dish (my go-to) is their deep-fried calamari rings in batter served with curry rice.
Aside from delectable food, Yul’s offers various activities. You can enjoy watersports like banana boat riding and jet skiing, and can additionally shop for clothes, souvenirs, swimwear, and handmade leather goods at Heike’s Escape Boutique. For the more adventurous, you can even ride ATV motorbikes at their racecourse.
Yul’s Restaurant Information
Address: Mkomani, along Nyali Road, Mombasa
Phone: +254 715 012 311
Operating Hours: Daily from 12 pm to 11 pm
Must-Try Meals: Seafood platter, pizza, tropical cocktails – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $3-$5 per starter, $10-$29 per main, $3-$9 for desserts
13. Maasai Beach Bar (Best for Food and Sea Views)
Situated along Mombasa Beach in Nyali neighborhood, Maasai Beach Bar and Restaurant offers quality food and live entertainment. Their menu includes nyama choma, pizza, seafood, and other delicious dishes accompanied by an extensive selection of wines, beers, and cocktails.
My favorite features about this restaurant are its ample parking (for convenience) and stunning sea views. It provides a great chill spot to watch the sunset, enjoy the sound of breaking waves, and watch sea activities. If you’re looking for a restaurant in Mombasa with a sea view that caters to every traveler, head to Maasai.
Maasai Beach Bar and Restaurant Information
Address: Along Mount Kenya Road, next to Reef Hotel
Phone: +254 717 310 902
Operating Hours: Daily from 11 am to 11 pm
Must-Try Meals: Pizza, nyama choma, local beer (like Tusker)
Average Cost: $2-$5 per starter, $9-$16 per main, $4 for beers
14. Safari Inn (One of the Most Affordable Restaurants in Mombasa)
If you plan to explore Shanzu, one of the best neighborhoods in Mombasa, stop at Safari Inn Bar & Restaurant. This beautiful restaurant is set in a calm environment near Shanzu Beach and has an unmatched ambiance. It offers good food and drinks paired with excellent music and games (cards, billiards, and darts).
Here, you can expect local and European cuisine with favorite dishes such as fillet steak skewers, roast chicken, and Swiss rosti. For drinks, they serve local beers (like Tusker and White Cap), whiskeys (Safari whiskey and Glenfiddich), and various wine options. They also have live music by local bands every Tuesday and Friday from 7:30 pm.
Safari Inn Bar & Restaurant Information
Address: Off Serena, opposite Mombasa Continental Resort
Phone: +254 722 671 475
Operating Hours: Daily 10 am to 1 am
Must-Try Meals: Swiss rosti, shrimp cocktail, seafood platter – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $6-$13 per main
15. La Casa Di Nico (Best for Sushi and Pizza in Mombasa)
If you’re wondering where to eat Italian food in Mombasa, visit La Casa Di Nico. This beachfront restaurant in the Bamburi neighborhood offers indoor and al fresco dining with beautiful ocean views. It also has parking spaces, a stunning seating area, and a welcoming staff.
Their menu includes fresh foods, drinks, and desserts. You can expect fresh fish carpaccio, Italian wood oven pizza, pasta, and homemade gelato. They also have a selection of beers, cocktails, and fine wine.
La Casa Di Nico Information
Address: Next to Kenya Bay Hotel, Bamburi, Mombasa
Phone: +254 723 289 908
Operating Hours: Daily from 12 pm to 10 pm
Must-Try Meals: Caprese, pizza Napoli, vegetable lasagna – click here to view the full menu
Average Cost: $3-$7 per starter, $10-$23 per main, $3-$5 for desserts
Must-Try Meals in Mombasa
In addition to its tourist attractions, Mombasa is famous for its vibrant food culture, where various flavors (Swahili, Arab, Indian, and African) harmoniously blend. From aromatic biryanis to fresh seafood, here are some must-try meals in Mombasa:
Mombasa is known for its delicious Swahili dish, biryani. This fragrant rice meal is cooked with vegetables, spices, and meat (often chicken, beef, or seafood). You can find variations like mutton biryani, prawn biryani, and chicken biryani (my favorite).
Like biryani, pilau is a staple in Mombasa and towns along the Kenyan coast. The dish is usually spiced rice cooked with meat or seafood, often served with a side of kachumbari – a vegetable salad.
Samaki wa Nazi
Samaki wa nazi is a delightful dish among the coastal Swahili people. It’s usually a whole fish marinated in a rich, aromatic coconut sauce. The flavorful dish is popular in Mombasa and other places along the East African coast.
There is no better way to start your day in Mombasa than with a traditional Swahili breakfast. It consists of coffee or Kenyan chai (milk tea), served with mahamri (sweet, deep-fried bread), mandazi (deep-fried dough), and samosa (fried pastry with a savory filling).
Mombasa’s location along the shores of the Indian Ocean means you can enjoy fresh seafood to your heart’s content. You can try prawns, fried fish, crab, or lobsters here at local seafood restaurants such as Floating Island.
Ugali and Nyama Choma
When in Mombasa, make sure you try ugali and nyama choma. The soft, hearty ugali (a staple meal made from maize flour and water) paired with perfectly grilled meat (nyama choma) creates a flavor explosion that embodies the essence of Kenyan cuisine.
☞ SEE ALSO: Food in Kenya (15 Must-Try Dishes in Kenya)
Mombasa Restaurants: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the best restaurants in Mombasa, Kenya:
Mombasa has many places to eat, but some of the best restaurants to consider are Mombasa Tamarind, Char-Choma, and Jahazi Coffee House.
Dinner in Mombasa typically starts around 7 pm and can extend until 10 pm. This depends on the restaurant and personal preferences.
Lunchtime in Mombasa usually begins around noon and lasts until 2 pm, allowing you to savor delicious midday meals.
Like most places in Kenya, breakfast in Mombasa is usually served from early morning, around 6:30 am to 10 am, in various cafes and eateries.
Indeed. It’s a common practice in Mombasa to show appreciation for good food and service by leaving a tip, typically 10% to 15% of the total bill.
The Mombasa Island and Nyali areas are known for hosting some of the best restaurants in Mombasa, offering a blend of Swahili, Indian, and international cuisine.
For a picturesque view of the Indian Ocean, visit the Mombasa Tamarind, Floating Island, and Char-Choma.
The cost of dinner in Mombasa can vary widely, but on average, you can expect to spend from $8 to $25 per person at mid-range restaurants.
Mombasa is renowned for its diverse culinary heritage, with a fusion of Swahili, Indian, Arab, and British influences. Some of the most typical dishes include Swahili biriani, nyama choma (barbecued meat), and seafood like prawns and lobster.
Now You Know Where to Eat in Mombasa
Food delights and unites us, nourishes our souls, and offers life-enriching experiences. It exposes us to the history, culture, and traditions of the people and places we visit. In addition, it gives us memories of taste, smell, texture, and appearance, seldom gained from indulging in other tourist activities.
As you have seen, there are plenty of great places to eat in Mombasa. Whether you’re searching for romantic restaurants, the best lunch, fine dining, or cheap eats in Mombasa, the Kenyan port city has an eatery for every traveler and taste.
Hopefully, this list has given you ideas of where to eat the next time you visit Mombasa. If you’re staying in the old town neighborhood, make sure you try biryani chicken at Jahazi Coffee House. For those who fancy restaurants with good food and a sea view, Char-Choma is the perfect choice.
☞ SEE ALSO: Best Restaurants in Nairobi