15 Places to Eat (Really) Well in Tanzania

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In addition to game reserves, beaches, and national parks, Tanzania boasts a robust dining scene, with everything from swank seaside eateries to hole-in-the-wall samosa stalls. The cuisine is ethnically diverse and heavy on meat, with restaurants featuring a lot of fresh seafood, Indian spices, and barbecue. So if you're looking for places to eat in Tanzania after a long day on safari or snorkeling, kick back at one of these cafes and restaurants.


Archipelago, Zanzibar: Archipelago is reputedly the busiest restaurant in Stone Town. Chef Masoud Salim, who was born and raised on the island, knows just what to do with local ingredients, presenting them in simple but creative dishes like the spiced tea, or the swordfish and curry. The restaurant also offers gorgeous views of the beach and harbor.


Radha Food House, Zanzibar: This unassuming spot in Stone Town has an all-vegetarian menu that is mostly Indian inspired, featuring authentic meals like thalis -- a style of eating in which small, round bowls are placed around the table and shared, usually filled with rice, dal, vegetables, yogurt, chutney, roti, and more.


Sambusa Two Tables, Zanzibar: If you're looking for authentic Zanzibari food and experience, look no further than this family-run establishment set in an actual home in Stone Town. The name says it all: this is literally two tables in the back of a house. Bring your appetite and sense of adventure because this will be a multi-course meal that you don't have much say in. The family just cooks up the best dishes possible with the freshest, seasonal ingredients.

Kebab roasting

Monsoon, Zanzibar: Stone Town's Monsoon offers the true Swahili experience with floor-cushion dining, stunning décor, and live Taraab music. Its cocktails are not to be missed, with fresh juice squeezed upon request. The dishes are vibrant and generously sized. Its known for its seafood, such as octopus cooked in fresh coconut sauce or tuna vegetable kebabs with mango-papaya salsa.


Mercury's, Zanzibar: This oceanfront restaurant and grill in Stone Town is named after native son and Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury. It's a favorite among those looking for a cocktail at sunset. The restaurant puts on a beach bonfire every night and features live music Wednesday through Sunday evenings. The chef serves up super-fresh seafood in simple ways that highlight the ingredients. Most dishes are a variation of grilled or steamed seafood accompanied by fresh vegetables.


Chef's Pride, Dar es Salaam: This is a well-trafficked local favorite in Dar es Salaam with a very unique setup: there are two counters, one for grilling, and one on which you'll find trays of various curries and other dishes. You can pick and choose items and make your own combinations. The restaurant is known for its well-marinated kebabs.

Serengeti Restaurant, Dar es Salaam: This hotel restaurant is convenient for Serena guests, and a treat for those diners coming from outside, with sumptuous breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets daily. Though they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, dinnertime is the real highlight, with a different themed buffet each evening, ranging from Indian to seafood to Italian to Asian, and many more, even Tanzanian. There is always a good range of selections for all tastes and the ambience lends itself equally well to a business lunch or a dinner with friends.


Khan's Barbecue, Arusha: This quirky little spot in Arusha is an auto parts store by day and a laid-back, busy barbecue restaurant by night. And it really is serve-yourself, back-yard barbecue style, with plates piled high with grilled and skewered meats, salads, and more. The menu changes nightly.

The Blue Heron, Arusha: The Blue Heron is very popular with Arusha's expat crowd. The menu features appetizing fare showcasing a mix of cuisines, and including delicacies such as zucchini or mozzarella focaccia, wild rice salad, lamb or vegetarian schwarmas and a variety of thin-crust pizzas. Quality is uniformly high, and waiting times are not overly long.

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The Bay Leaf, Arusha: The Bay Leaf, on a quiet, green side street at Arusha's eastern edge, is considered to be one of the city's best restaurants. There are two menus - one featuring northern Indian cuisine, and the other continental, with items such as Slow-Cooked West Kilimanjaro Lamb Shanks with Chive Mash and Braised Red Cabbage, Spring Chicken Ballotine, Barbecued Citrus Garlic Prawns and Asparagus Primavera.

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Bigg Bites, Arusha: An Arusha institution, with a loyal base of fans ranging from budget backpackers to well-heeled locals, Bigg Bites' main drawing point is its well-prepared northern Indian cuisine. Featured items include tandoori dishes, a wide range of vegetarian choices, and refreshing lassis (a yoghurt-based drink that comes in sweet and salty variants).


Coffee Shop, Moshi: You'll feel good after eating here not only because the fare is light, but also because proceeds from the restaurant go to a church project. Coffee Shop in Moshi has a charming garden seating, great coffee, and delicious homemade treats such as cakes and yogurt.


Green Bamboo Barbecue, Moshi: If you are a meat-lover, you will likely enjoy the Green Bamboo Barbecue. Every day between noon and 9pm, it serves up huge skewers (reminiscent of Maasai spears) of barbecued chicken, beef, mutton and pork. In addition to the barbecue, it is possible to order from a modest selection of Tanzanian and continental dishes prepared in the adjoining main restaurant.


Hasty Tasty Too, Iringa: This is the perfect place in Iringa to stop off for picnic supplies before a safari. This restaurant offers sandwiches to go, along with a variety of Indian and British snacks such as sausages with chips, beans on toast, cheese chapati (an Indian flatbread), and doughnuts. If you decide to dine in, space is tight and you dine on plastic tables, but the hot food is delicious and generously portioned.

(Amy / Wikimedia Commons)

Patwas Restaurant, Tanga: The owners of Patwas are extremely helpful to ex-pats and visitors, and offer up refreshing snacks and treats like kebabs, samosas, egg-chop, and curries, plus delicious lassi drinks in flavors including lemon, mango, papaya, and pineapple.

By Julia Austin

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