Thursday, September 22, 2011


(includes Gigiri, Hurlingham, Karen, Langata, Lavington, Mbagathi, Ngara & Westlands)


Art Caffe – local coffee shop chain.
Dormans – local coffee shop chain.
Java House – local coffee shop chain.

Casablanca – Nyangumi Road (Hurlingham, off Lenana Road); 011-254-20-272-3173; popular nightspot for cocktails; Moroccan themed.
Exchange Bar – corner of Kenyatta and Kimathi Streets; 011-254-20-275-7000;; in former Nairobi Stock Exchange site.
Gypsy – Woodvale Grove (Westlands); 011-254-20-444-0836; bar that serves surprisingly good food; try fish piri-piri (grilled fish in hot sauce); as close to gay-friendly venue as you’re going to get.
Lord Delamere Terrace – Harry Thuku Road (city center, at Norfolk Hotel); 011-254-20-250-900; hearkens back to White Mischief era; jacket required.
Mercury Lounge – Mombasa-Malaba Road (Lavington, at ABC Plaza); 011-254-20-445-1875;; Nairobi’s best cocktail bar; serves excellent tapas style small plates.
Outside Inn – Karen Road (Karen, at Plains House); 011-254-20-882-110; pub; great place for Sunday brunch; rugby-soccer games shown on TV; semi-open barn; great place for drinking; popular for rugby-soccer game viewing; try toffee vodka.
Rusty Nail – Dagoretti Road (Karen); 011-254-20-882-461; great bar.

Giraffe Manor – Koitobos Road (Karen); 011-254-732-812-896;; giraffes pop heads through windows at this stately old gabled Scottish hunting lodge, built of honey-color sandstone and set in forest; try to get honeymoon master bedroom with art deco bathroom or Karen Blixen annex decorated with author’s original furniture and paintings.
Hogmead – Kikenni Road (Langata, Mukoma Estate, just past Mukoma Road); 011-254-71-257-9999;; once owned by Peter Beard; restored 6-room manor; patios have sweeping giraffe sanctuary views.
Ngong House – 60 Ndovu Road (Karen); 011-254-20-891-856;; “barefoot luxury” boutique; elegant cabin and treehouse compound on 10 acres.
Tribe Hotel – 418 Limuru Road (Gigiri, at Village Market); 011-254-20-720-0000;; unexpectedly clean and modern; unexpectedly modern and sleek; spa.

Akasaka – Standard Street (downtown, next to SixEighty Hotel); 011-254-20-220-299; sushi; bento box is pretty good value; clean and stylish.
Alan Bobbe’s Bistro – Rhapta Road (Westlands); 011-254-20-2260027; among Nairobi’s best, oldest, and well-known restuarants.
Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant – Argwings Kodhek Road (Hurlingham); 011-254-722-898-138; character all its own; quirky lounge painted with stories from Ethiopian mythology; if order goat dish, best not to read panels about poison until finish meal; for full communal African eating experience, order 7-person doro wat (spicy traditional chicken stew) with few glasses of tej (honey wine).
Café des Arts – UN Avenue (Gigiri); 011-254-20-712-3000;; Nairobi’s best organic food.
Carnivore – Langata Road; 011-254-20-605-933; Kenya’s most famous restaurant; African take on Brazilian churascaria, complete with local cocktail based on caiphirinia, Dawa (“medicine”).
China Jiangsu – Westlands Road (Westlands, at Soin Arcade); 011-254-20-444-6700; Nairobi’s most authentic Chinese restaurant; stylish rooftop restaurant.
Furusato – Karuna Road (Westlands, behind Sarit Centre); 011-254-722-488-706; sushi in stylish setting.
Habesha – Argwings Kodhek Road (Hurlingham, just after Elgeyo-Marakwet junction); 011-254-20-386-7035; outstanding Ethiopian food in converted house.
Haandi – Ring Road (Westlands, at Mall Shopping Centre); 011-254-20-444-8294; Indian food.
Hong Kong – Koinange Street (downtown, at College House, near Nairobi Safari Club-Lillian Towers); 011-254-20-228-612; Nairobi’s oldest Chinese restaurant.
Ibis Grill – Harry Thuku Road (city center, at Norfolk Hotel); 011-254-20-250-900; excellent reputation; French-Kenyan; great breakfast buffet, too; jacket required.
Jiko – 418 Limuru Road (Gigiri, at Tribe Hotel); 011-254-20-720-0000;; focuses on fruit, game, organic meat, and vegetables.
Karen Blixen Coffee Garden – 336 Karen Road (Karen); 011-254-20-882-138;; named after late author also known as Isak Dinesen; lovely little place to grab afternoon tea or simple lunch.
Muhibbah – Woodvale Grove (Westlands); 011-254-204-208-000;; Thai-Vietnamese fusion.
Onami – Mwanzi Road (Westlands, at Westgate Mall); 011-254-713-328-688;; high-end Japanese-Thai fusion; black stone and glass environment; good sushi.
Open House – Centro House (Westlands, Ground Floor); 011-254-20-444-5903; Indian food.
River Cafe – Limuru Road (Gigiri, at Rosslyn River Garden Centre, just beyond Village Market); 011-254-722-706-272; brunch.
Le Rustique – General Mathenge Drive; 011-254-20-375-3081;; Italian food restaurant that offers alfresco meals.
Siam Thai – Muthithi Road (Westlands, Unga House); 011-254-20-375-1728; Nairobi’s best Thai restaurant; try date pancake with vanilla ice cream for desert.
Tamarind – National Bank Building (City Square, off Harambee Avenue); 011-254-20-225-1811;
Tamambo Bar & Grill – Mall (Westlands); 011-254-20-444-8064;
Tokyo – Rhapta Road (Westlands, after New Rehema House); 011-254-20-444-4651; sushi.
Wasanii – Harry Thuku Road; 011-254-20-210-3656;; restaurant popular with actors; set in beautifully landscaped gardens on Kenya National Theatre grounds.

Kaya Spa – 418 Limuru Road (Gigiri, at Tribe Hotel); 011-254-20-720-0656;

Adele Dejak – 418 Limuru Road (Gigiri, at Village Market); 011-254-42-463-3228;; colorful bags, jewelry, and sandals; products made from bakuba (raffia palm leaf-based cloth), horn, or leather.
Kitengela Glass – Magadi Road (Mbagathi); 011-254-20-675-0602;; although Kitengela glass available all over city, best to take trip to suburbs to see artist Nani Croze’s tree-house studios and swimming pool, all decked out in Gaudi-esque mosaic glass.
One Off Gallery – Limuru Road (at Rosslyn Lone Tree Estate, #16); 011-254-722-521-870; Carol Lees’ gallery; on gorgeous 5-acre property; works by Timothy Brooke and Patrick Mukabi.
Penny Winter Boutique – 60 Ndovu Road (Karen, at Ngong House); 011-254-20-891-856;; former Royal Shakespeare Company costume maker now makes unique clothing; Princess Caroline of Monaco among her clients.
Marula Studios – Marula Lane (Karen); 011-254-726-248-774;; recycled flip-flops, etc., made into toys and other items.

GoDown Arts Centre – Dunga Road (industrial area south of Nairobi, off Lusaka Road); 011-254-20-555227;; former auto body shop houses more than dozen non-profit arts organizations.
Kariakor Market – Racecourse Road (Ngara); great place for nyama choma (“roast meat”) is Kenya’s answer to BBQ; served with numerous local side dishes, such as irio (mashed corn, potatoes, and pumpkins), and kachumbari (local chilli, lime, onions, and tomato salsa), sukuma wiki (sauteed greens), ugali (maize-flour cooked into stickey, stiff sticky porridge).
Kenya National Theatre – Harry Thuku Road (city center, across from Norfolk Hotel); 011-254-20-225-174.
Kuona Trust – Denis Pritt Road (Likoni Close, at Likoni Lane); 011-254-721-262-326;; arts collective run by Danda Jaroljmek; local artists display works.
Masai Market – held in different locations around city depending on day; Fridays, at Upper Car Park at Village Market (Gigiri), Saturdays and Sundays, at High Court Parking at City Square (downtown), Sundays, Car Park outside Yaya Shopping Centre, and Mondays, Upper Car Park at West Gate Shopping Centre.
Nairobi National Park – Giraffe Center; 011-254-20-500-622;
Village Market – 418 Limuru Road (Gigiri); East Africa’s largest shopping complex.

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