21/02/2024

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15 Best Restaurants in Watamu in 2023 (Top Places to Eat)

14 min read
15 Best Restaurants in Watamu in 2023 (Top Places to Eat)

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While pristine white sand beaches, coral gardens, and luxury resorts are its main attractions, don’t miss the chance to explore restaurants in Watamu for a truly memorable culinary experience.

The small town on the northern coast of Kenya is home to various communities, primarily locals and Italian expatriates and residents. It’s also a famous place to visit in Kenya among tourists, making its cuisine diverse and catering to everyone who stops by.

As a result, you’ll discover various dining options, from local eateries and beach bars to seafood spots and numerous pizzerias.

With its stunning beaches perfect for relaxation, a Marine Park for watersports, great accommodation options, and welcoming locals, Watamu is one of my favorite holiday destinations in Kenya. I recently returned for a week and discovered more things to do and places to eat in this coastal paradise.

So, if you’re planning a visit and wondering what food to try or where to eat in Watamu, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll introduce you to some of the finest restaurants in Watamu; detailing what they offer and their locations.

15 Best Restaurants in Watamu

Here are some of the best places to eat in Watamu. You’ll find a variety of cuisines at these restaurants, including Swahili dishes, Italian meals, and fresh seafood.

The list is based on my personal experiences and reviews shared by other travelers on platforms such as Trip Advisor and Google Business.

1. Crab Shack Dabaso (Best Restaurant in Watamu Overall)

A group of people enjoying a meal in the middle of mangrove and seawater, and surrounded by yellow lights.

Crab Shack Dabaso is a unique seafood restaurant set amongst thick mangroves, offering a memorable dining experience. This restaurant is community-run and was established by a local conservation group to offer scrumptious meals and promote eco-activities in the Mida Creek ecosystem.

It’s one of the best local restaurants in Watamu, thanks to its friendly staff and great location overlooking the beautiful creek. You can expect a menu that features an array of options, including fish, octopus, oysters, lobster, crabs, and prawns, along with an assortment of fresh juices, bottled beers, cocktails, and wines.

I highly recommend trying the giant Mida crab, the mixed seafood grill, and the crab samosa. Additionally, Crab Shack is an ideal spot for birdwatching, taking strolls along a mangrove boardwalk, and catching breathtaking sunsets. You can also rent a canoe or join a tour to explore the creek and nearby islands.

Crab Shack Dabaso Information

Address: MX3Q+VH Crab Shack, Dabaso, Watamu
Phone: +254 725 315 562
Operating Hours: Daily from 8 am to 9 pm
Must-Try Meals: Grilled seafood, Jumbo prawns, crab samosa – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $2-$5 per starter, $11-$44 per main, $2-$4 for desserts
Website: dabasocreek.wixsite.com

2. Amandina (Best for Fine Dining in Watamu)

A plate of salad with one glass of juice on the outdoor table.

Located at the Median Palms Hotel along the alluring Turtle Bay Beach, Amandina Restaurant offers affordable dining matched with exceptional service and a lovely ambiance. Their menu includes African, European, and Mediterranean cuisines as well as vegan options.

If you’re looking for a cozy spot perfect for romantic, fine dining in Watamu, I recommend Amandina. The restaurant provides a relaxed atmosphere with outdoor seating offering breathtaking ocean views. Here, you can enjoy various food and beverage options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

My favorite dishes at Amandina include the mixed grilled seafood platter and chicken biryani. They also offer a delicious selection of main courses including pizzas, steaks, and pasta, and inviting desserts such as ice creams and cheesecakes – make sure you leave room for these!

Their wine list features impressive choices, including Pecan Stream Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa and La Bollina Gavi from Italy.

Amandina Restaurant Information

Address: Medina Palms Hotel, off Turtle Bay Road, Watamu
Phone: +254 114 128 477
Operating Hours: Daily from 7 am to 9 pm
Must-Try Meals: Beef tenderloin, mixed grill seafood platter, Swahili chicken biryani
Average Cost: $3-$7 per starter, $11-$19 per main, $3-$5 for desserts
Website: medinapalms.com

3. Sunset Beach (Best for Pizza and Cocktails in Watamu)

watamu pizza and cocktails

Sunset Beach stands out as one of the finest places for pizzas and cocktails in Watamu. Situated alongside Watamu Beach, it boasts a slightly elevated deck, providing the perfect setting to enjoy occasional live music, spectacular sunsets, and evening beach activities.

While they offer alternative dishes like roast chicken and chips, their specialty is the classic wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza. My favorite among their offerings is the Diavola pizza, comprising mozzarella, tomato sauce, spicy salami, fragrant basil, and oil.

Sunset Beach Restaurant Information

Address: J2VC+C3 Watamu
Phone: +254 793 858 165
Operating Hours: Wed-Mon (12:30 pm to 11 pm), Tue (closed)
Must-Try Meals: Pizzas – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $11-$14 per pizza, $5-$9 for cocktails
Website: sunsetbeachwatamu.com

4. Pilipan (Best for Seafood and Stunning Sunsets)

A plate of fish with rice.

Pilipan ranks among the top restaurants in Watamu providing scrumptious cuisine, a pleasant atmosphere, exceptional service, and a tempting selection of cocktails.

The menu features a variety of dishes including prawns, fish, and chicken in coconut curry, barbecue snapper, seafood skewers, chili paneer, and prawn cocktails.

Plan your visit around their Saturday happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy one of their cocktails while taking in the scenic view of the mangrove bushes and the enchanting sunset over Turtle Bay Creek.

Pilipan Restaurant Information

Address: JXHV+WW, Turtle Bay Road, Watamu
Phone: +254 713 993 776
Operating Hours: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm
Must-Try Meals: Chicken curry, barbecued snapper, tuna carpaccio
Average Cost: $2-$5 per starter, $8-$11 per main, $3-$5 for cocktails
Website: @pilipanwatamu

5. Lichthaus by Temple Point (Best for Pub Food in Watamu)

Three women on the bar beach holding a cocktail drink.

Lichthaus by Temple Point Resort is one of the best bars and restaurants in Watamu with a view. It features a raised terrace and comfortable hammocks where you can unwind with a cold beer or cocktail, all while enjoying beautiful views of Mida Creek.

The bar boasts welcoming staff, a cozy ambiance, and serves delicious food. Their main course dishes include options like pineapple octopus, garlic-grilled beef, succulent pork leg skewers, and a variety of fresh fish plates. Additionally, they offer refreshing salads prepared with tomatoes, cucumbers, guacamole, and fresh vegetables.

Lichthaus by Temple Point Information

Address: JX7C+X7, Mida Creek, Watamu
Phone: +254 740 768 412
Operating Hours: Daily from 12 pm to 10 pm
Must-Try Meals: Grilled garlic beef, pineapple octopus, house salad
Average Cost: $3-$5 per starter, $11-$18 per main
Website: templepointresort.com

6. Gede Coffee Gardens (Best for Lunch and Dinner in Watamu)

a plate of mixed grilled seafood and lemon juice on the side. other plate has a different variety of foods.

Gede Coffee Gardens at Hemingways Hotel is the ultimate outdoor dining experience in Watamu. I’ve had dinner there many times and it’s a magical spot with ocean views, a cool breeze, and starry skies. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, prepared using fresh produce from nearby markets and seafood sourced from local fishermen.

Their diverse menu features a variety of options including Italian pizzas, grilled seafood, Karoo lamb, beef steaks, sandwiches, wraps, and tasty pastries and gelatos. To cap off your evening, the Hemingways Bar awaits, offering a generous selection of wines, spirits, and tropical cocktails for a relaxing post-dinner experience.

Gede Coffee Gardens Information

Address: J2P3+G2Q Watamu
Phone: +254 709 188 000
Operating Hours: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm
Must-Try Meals: Jumbo prawns, beef fillet, pizza – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $3-$8 per starter, $11-$59 per main, $4-$6 for desserts
Website: hemingways-collection.com

7. Kokomo Beach Bar (Best for Lebanese Food in Watamu)

restaurants in watamu lebanese food

Kokomo Beach Bar and Restaurant, located at the edge of Mapango Bay (Watamu Beach), is my go-to choice for a memorable evening. Here, you can relish breathtaking ocean views as the sun sets while enjoying a refreshing tropical cocktail or a cold local beer.

Their diverse menu includes lamb kebabs, Lebanese mezze, gourmet and vegetarian burgers, grilled chicken, beef fillet, and fish. You can also indulge in delightful desserts like tarts and cheesecakes and explore a variety of salads, such as tabouleh and fattoush, along with appetizers including seared tuna and shrimp provençal.

Kokomo Beach Bar & Restaurant Information

Address: J2VC+37 Mapango Beach, Watamu
Phone: +254 759 954 462
Operating Hours: Daily from noon to midnight
Must-Try Meals: Lebanese mezze, vegetarian burgers, grilled beef fillet
Average Cost: $13-$25 per main, $7-$14 for cocktails, $6-$11 for desserts
Website: @kokomobeachbarandrestaurant

8. Hosteria Romana (Best for Italian Food in Watamu)

restaurant italian food

Hosteria Romana is a modest and charming restaurant in Watamu village, just a stone’s throw from the beach. The restaurant is famous for its authentic Italian dishes, which include pizza, pasta, spaghetti, and gnocchi.

While their specialty is Italian cuisine, their menu also caters to other tastes including seafood and vegetarian-friendly international options, featuring fresh fish catches, crabs, lobsters, and prawns.

If you are visiting or staying near Watamu Beach, don’t miss the opportunity to dine at this restaurant. Try out their fresh salmon carpaccio or carbonara (spaghetti, eggs, bacon, pecorino cheese, olive oil), and savor it with a glass of house wine.

Hosteria Romana Information

Address: J2VC+G9, Watamu Beach Road
Phone: +254 711 867 275
Operating Hours: Daily from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm
Must-Try Meals: Pizza Margherita, pasta, spaghetti with tuna
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $7-$13 per main, $2-$5 for desserts
Website: @hosteriaromanawatamu

9. Tamu (One of the Most Romantic Restaurants in Watamu)

A table set with empty plate and glass, ashtray, and a battle of black pepper.

Tamu Beach Bar and Restaurant, conveniently located near Papa Remo Beach, offers excellent service, friendly staff, and delicious food. Whether you’re seeking a cozy indoor dining experience surrounded by rustic white interiors, ideal for a romantic dinner, or a beachfront setting for family outings, Tamu has you covered.

Their main menu features a variety of delectable options such as carpaccios, salads, queen prawns, vegetable fajitas, lobster medallion, and sushi sashimi. Meanwhile, the kids’ menu includes favorites like tomato spaghetti, fried fish fingers, and fried chicken with spiral chips. Save space to indulge in delightful desserts, wines, fruit juices, and smoothies.

Tamu Beach Bar & Restaurant Information

Address: M22G+48 Watamu Beach Road
Phone: +254 703 707 038
Operating Hours: Tue-Sun (10 am to 10 pm), Mon (closed)
Must-Try Meals: Octopus carpaccio, prawns salad – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $3-$5 per starter, $9-$16 per main, $2-$4 for desserts
Website: tamurestaurant.com

10. Willy Beach (Best for Seafood and Cheap Eats in Watamu)

a long plate of seafood and two glass of wine on the sea shore.

If you’re looking for an affordable beachfront spot to dine and relax in Watamu, head to Willy Beach Restaurant. Located on the southern end of Papa Remo Beach (Love Bay), this eatery serves grilled seafood such as lobsters, shrimp, crab, and octopus. It also offers local dishes such as pilau, chicken, and beef stew with ugali and kachumbari.

In addition to the food, Willy Beach Restaurant has a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. These include juices, tea, coffee, beers, wines, shots, and cocktails. Try out the prickly pineapple or the vodka lemon cocktails.

Willy Beach Watamu Information

Address: J2XF+8P Watamu
Phone: +254 705 959 994
Operating Hours: Daily from 8:30 am to 10 pm
Must-Try Meals: Seafood platter, linguini with mixed vegetables, calamari salad
Average Cost: $4-$7 per starter, $10-$15 per main, $2-$3 for desserts
Website: @willybeachwatamu

11. Papa Remo (Best for Lunch and Partying in Watamu)

restaurant beach party

Papa Remo is one of my favorite beach restaurants in Watamu for relaxation, great food, and a lively atmosphere. It provides indoor and outdoor dining options with a multi-cuisine menu including Italian pizzas, grilled beef and chicken, seafood, and various refreshing beverages.

The restaurant is situated along Love Bay, a stunning beach in Watamu with sun loungers offering fantastic views of the Indian Ocean and nearby islets (seven islands). Every Saturday from 11 pm, they host a beach party featuring fantastic music by local DJs – an experience I cherish and eagerly await on my next Watamu visit.

Papa Remo Beach Restaurant Information

Address: M23J+9X Jacaranda Road, Watamu
Phone: +254 707 010 527
Operating Hours: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm
Must-Try Meals: Fresh seafood, pizza, grilled chicken with chips
Average Cost: $2-$5 per starter, $9-$16 per main, $3-$9 for drinks
Website: paparemobeach.com

12. Marafiki (One of the Best Beach Restaurants in Watamu)

A plate of grilled fish and a plate of salad, a bucket of beer and some condiments and a glass of water on the table with sea beach in the background.

Marafiki, which means “friends” in Swahili, is a charming beach bar and restaurant on Watamu’s northern side along Jacaranda Bay Beach. You can relish delectable food and beverages here while enjoying spectacular ocean views.

Their diverse menu boasts a variety of options including seafood, Swahili, and Italian dishes such as grilled calamari, pizzas, nyama choma (grilled or roast meat), samaki wa nazi (traditional fish curry with coconut cream), and gelatos.

Marafiki Beach Bar & Restaurant Information

Address: M3MP+Q2V Jacaranda Road, Watamu
Phone: +254 711 738 524
Operating Hours: Daily from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm
Must-Try Meals: Beef fillet, squid fish, samosa – click to see the full menu
Average Cost: $3-$5 per starter, $9-$14 per main
Website: marafikibeachrestaurant.com

13. Safina Beach Bar (Restaurant in Watamu with a Sea View)

A glass of alcoholic drink and a summer cup. with sand in the background.

This beach bar and restaurant is situated along the magnificent Jacaranda Bay Beach. Besides offering delicious meals, it provides a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and provides amazing views of the Indian Ocean.

Like many beach bars in Watamu, Safina’s menu features local dishes, pizzas, panini, grilled meats, seafood, beers, and cocktails. Following your meal, you can unwind on sun loungers and swing beds under gazebos, take a beach stroll, or go kitesurfing.

For those seeking aquatic adventures, the clear waters offer opportunities for swimming and snorkeling, where you can observe colorful fish and other marine species below the surface.

Safina Beach Bar & Restaurant Information

Address: M3MP+V5, Spiaggia Jacaranda, Kanani Road, Watamu
Phone: +254 719 214 521
Operating Hours: Daily from 8 am to 9 am
Must-Try Meals: Grilled chicken with ugali – click to see the full menu
Average Cost: $3-$5 per starter, $7-$13 per main
Website: safinabeachrestaurant.com

14. Mamiy’s Pizza (Best for Pizza and Piadina in Watamu)

A table with full of different kinds of pizza.

Whenever I visit Watamu, Mamiy’s is my top choice for pizza. This charming pizzeria, situated on Watamu-Gede Road, offers a warm atmosphere and quick service.

Their pizza selection is diverse, featuring various styles and toppings including options like Mamiy’s special, Margherita, Napoli, Hawaii, Vegetariana, and my personal favorite, Italia (topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, onion, olives, and oregano).

Besides the pizzas, Mamiy’s also serves some of the finest piadinas (flatbread) in Watamu. You can indulge in their piadina romagnola, which can be filled with a variety of delicious ingredients such as mozzarella, ham, tomato, chicken cubes, and grilled zucchini. Alongside these offerings, you can order a range of beverages, desserts, and snacks.

Mamiy’s Pizza Information

Address: J2X7+R8C, Gede Watamu Rd, Watamu
Phone: +254 795 214 014
Operating Hours: Wed-Sat (12 to 2 pm), Mon-Tue (closed), Sun (5 pm to 10:30 pm)
Must-Try Meals: Pizzas – click here to see the full menu
Average Cost: $6-$10 per pizza, $2-$5 for desserts
Website: @mamiyspizza

15. Non Solo Gelato (Best for Gelatos and Desserts)

A man preparing a ice cream in a cone.

If you have a sweet tooth, your culinary adventure in Watamu would only be complete by exploring its gelatos, ice cream parlors, and pastry shops.

To check off all of the above, I highly recommend a visit to Non Solo Gelato, an Italian restaurant popular for its variety of sweet treats, coffee, and sandwiches. Here, you can enjoy fresh juices, croissants, gelatos, cakes, and various dessert options.

Non Solo Gelato is an excellent choice for breakfast, brunch, or lunch in Watamu. Apart from their sweet offerings, they also serve authentic Italian cuisine, featuring dishes like lasagna, pasta, and panini. Personally, I can’t get enough of their cannoli filled with almonds and Nutella.

Non Solo Gelato Restaurant Information

Address: J2V6+F9 Watamu
Phone: +254 794 600 128
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat (7 am to 8 pm), Sun (closed)
Must-Try Meals: Roche ice cream, black cherry, piadina sandwich
Average Cost: $3-$9 for ice creams/gelatos, $3-$6 for desserts
Website: @nonsologelatobyanna

Must-Try Meals in Watamu

When you’re in Watamu, you can’t miss the chance to indulge in its culinary delights. To give you some ideas, here are my favorite must-try foods in Watamu, including fresh grilled seafood, tasty Italian dishes, and delicious Swahili food:

Swahili Rice Dishes

A Swahili rice dish.

Rice dishes are common in Watamu and other towns along the Swahili coast. These dishes typically include aromatic rice cooked with spices, vegetables, and meat (beef, chicken, or mutton). My favorites are biryani chicken and beef pilau.

Local Breakfast

Traditional Indian masala chai tea with spices-cinnamon, cardamon, anise, white background.

Before you start your day’s adventures in Watamu, make sure you enjoy the Swahili breakfast. It usually comprises Kenyan chai or coffee, along with samosas, boiled or fried eggs, and pastries like mahamri (a dough flavored with coconut milk and deep-fried into a triangular, golden-brown pastry).

Wood-Fired Pizza

Italian pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven.

Watamu’s Italian influence shines through in its wood-fired pizzas. There are several beach restaurants and pizzerias to enjoy a crispy, thin-crust pizza topped with fresh ingredients and local flavors. I recommend trying Mamiy’s Marinara, Margherita, or Napoli pizzas.

Fresh Seafood Platter

Seafood platter

Being a coastal town, Watamu is one of the best places for fresh seafood. While here, try a seafood platter with grilled prawns, lobster, crabs, and octopus, all expertly prepared and seasoned. Fried fish with ugali is also a must-try.

Samaki wa Nazi

COCONUT FISH CURRY

Fish in Swahili is samaki, while nazi means coconut. Samaki wa nazi translates to “fish in a coconut curry,” a popular Swahili dish along the East African coast. This flavorful dish is usually created with fresh fish cooked in a creamy coconut sauce, seasoned with spices like garlic, turmeric, ginger, and chili, and is frequently served with ugali or rice (wali).

☞ SEE ALSO: Food in Kenya – 15 Must-Try Dishes in Kenya

Watamu Restaurants: FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the best places to eat in Watamu:

What are the best restaurants in Watamu?

Watamu restaurants are unique, and each offers something for different tastes and preferences. My favorites include Mamiy’s for pizza, Crab Shack for seafood and sunsets, Amandina for an ocean view, Tamu for local dishes, Kokomo for a beach experience, and Non Solo Gelato for ice creams.

What time is dinner in Watamu?

Dinner hours in Watamu are typically observed between 7 pm and 9 pm. However, some places may have extended lunch hours, so you should confirm with the restaurant of your choice before visiting.

What time is lunch in Watamu?

Lunchtime in Watamu usually starts around noon and lasts until 2 pm or later. Again, checking with individual restaurants for their specific lunch hours is advised.

What time is breakfast in Watamu?

As in most of Kenya, breakfast in Watamu is typically served from 7 am to 10 am, although this can vary depending on each eatery, hotel, or resort.

Do you tip in Watamu?

Tipping in Watamu is not a must, but is certainly appreciated. Tipping around 10-15% of the bill is generally recommended if you’re satisfied with the restaurant’s service, food quality, and overall ambiance.

Where is the best pub food in Watamu?

Although Watamu isn’t famous for traditional pub food, you can find casual pub-style dishes at many beachfront bars and restaurants. These may include options like nyama choma, burgers, beef fry, and seafood. To experience such dishes, consider visiting restaurants such as Tamu, Papa Remo, Kokomo, Sunset, Safina, and Marafiki.

What’s the best restaurant in Watamu with a sea view?

Restaurants with the best views in Watamu include Lichthaus by Temple Point, Kokomo Beach Restaurant, Crab Shack Dabaso, and the Amandina Restaurant.

In Conclusion

There are many restaurants in Watamu, but the above are just a handful to help you decide where to eat. This coastal haven’s diverse dining choices and offerings cater to the tastes of locals and visitors alike.

So, whether you crave the rich aroma of Swahili biryani, some mouthwatering seafood options like grilled octopus, or the familiarity of Italian pizzas and global cuisine, Watamu has the perfect dining spot to please your preferences.

As you explore this coastal paradise, I recommend looking for additional places to eat. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of classy cafes, tempting gelaterias, charming restaurants, and breezy beach bars that grace Watamu – my favorite travel destination along Kenya’s stunning coastline.

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