Swahili Lunch Places in Zanzibar

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Swahili food is the perfect balance of herbs and spices combined with the freshest ingredients, straight out of the fields, that displays a unique cultural blend of the Arab, Indian, Portuguese and British cuisines. This blog lists six restaurants in Zanzibar that serve the most authentic Swahili food.


Tea House Restaurant

Located in Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel, this restaurant is the highest rooftop in Zanzibar, offering a 360-degree view of the stunning Stone town and the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean. The golden hour at sunset is the perfect time to indulge in the delicious Swahili food while enjoying traditional live music under the vibrant orange or calming lavender coloured skies.

Cost: $$ - $$$

Other cuisine offered: Oriental Persian, Omani


Monsoon Restaurant

This restaurant offers traditional style low seating. The guests relax and lounge freely on the floor with large cushions; the shoes are left off at the door. The Monsoon restaurant hosts its guests in true Swahili tradition, whereas its traditional food has a little modern spin to it. So, if you love fusion foods, then the classic combination of live Taarab music and the tasty food will leave you longing for more!

Cost: $$ - $$$

Other cuisine offered: None



One of the top choices of tourists, Lukmaan's is a buffet-style restaurant that serves the best Swahili food! Majority of the tourists rave about their biryani and pilau. The next most hyped dish is the Octopus curry, a typical Zanzibarian food made with coconut milk and loads of spices. This place is Swahili food heaven!

Cost: $ - $$

Other cuisine offered: Nil


Mistress of Spices Restaurant

This restaurant is a warm and inviting place for tourists looking to unwind and have wholesome and authentic Swahili food. The chefs prepare the curry and rice dishes from locally harvested vegetables, spices and fresh seafood. The infused coffees and teas served here are enjoyed most by the customers. There is also a coffee shop that has freshly baked cakes and pastries that pair exceptionally well the hot drinks.

Cost: $ - $$

Other cuisine offered: International


House of Spices

Experience Swahili food in the open-air setting overlooking the waters with beautiful décor and light music which sets your mood just right. The restaurant is true to its name, as it was once the home of a spice trader – the terraces were used for drying spices. The seafood and especially the fish dishes are served with a distinguished five-spiced sauce, known for its authentic Swahili taste.

Cost: $ - $$

Other cuisine offered: Italian. Also has a bar.


Ma Shaa Allah Café

This small and cute little café with wooden furniture is packed with tourists at peak lunch and dinner hours. This place ticks all the right boxes as the meals are hearty, quick and easy on your pockets! Its divine curries are served with either rice or piping hot naans cooked right before your eyes in an oven on the terrace overlooking the street. Make sure to be here on time to avoid waiting as large tourist crowds start lining up at lunch and dinner time.

Cost: $ - $$

Other cuisine offered: Nil.


Forodhani Gardens

Zanzibar's street food is to die for! They're the ultimate deep-fried Swahili food that you have been dreaming of. Visit the Forodhani Gardens to experience the delicious street food that Zanzibar offers. The must-tries are Kachori, Mkate Mayai, Zanzibar pizza, Mishkaki, and Vitumbua. Apart from the meaty seafood goodness, the street food of Zanzibar has plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans.


So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Zanzibar and enjoy authentic Swahili food! Don’t forget to check out the Arusha Food Guide while you’re in Tanzania.

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