Published on October 16th, 2020
One of the things I looked forward to doing during my last trip to the Kenyan Coast was a food exploration at the best restaurants in Watamu. Maybe being locked in at home and only eating home-cooked meals for months had something to do with it but I was ready to dine out almost exclusively during this trip.
I was also particularly looking forward to eating Italian food. It was all I could think about ever since I read that the town, along with Malindi, was nicknamed Kenya’s Little Italy. And let me tell you, Watamu did not disappoint! We spent 2 weeks there, had a mix of home-cooked meals but ate out for the most part. These were my favourite places and I dare say, some of the best restaurants in Watamu.
- Medina Palms
We visited Medina Palms twice during our stay and both times we had excellent food. Well, except that one burger Mark had for lunch while waiting for my spa session to be over. Ordinarily, eating at the Medina Palms Restaurant would have been a little pricier than what we paid in other places, however, during our visit, they ran a 30% discount promo on lunches and dinners.
This turned out to be great value for money as we had 3-course meals and drinks for the same price as a single meal in other restaurants. It is definitely worth checking out if you visit.
- Papa Remo Beach Restaurant
Of all the restaurants we visited, none had views that beat those at the Papa Remo Beach Restaurant. The restaurant – like the name implies, is located right on the white sand beach along the bay. This means low tide virtually all day and swims in the ocean or walks on the beach while you wait for your food.
The restaurant shares the same owner as of the Crystal Bay Resort (where we stayed at) and gives a discount if you’re a guest there. The food is tasty and the service is great. I highly recommend it.
- Crab Shack
When you google ‘Where to eat in Watamu’, chances are that Crab Shack will appear on every search result and this community-run restaurant is very deserving of its spot on each list. We ate out at Crab Shack twice during our stay. Our first visit was a hit! We tried the crab samosas, the grilled fish and chicken. Each item was absolutely delicious!
Our meals were so good that we went back for a second visit. Sadly, that didn’t live up to the first but I would still recommend this place if you visit Watamu and I would revisit it if I have the chance to.
- Hosteria Romana
The moment I walked into Hosteria Romana, I was transported to Italy. I don’t know what I enjoyed more, the atmosphere within the restaurant (especially during our first visit) or the food itself. The pizza at Hosteria Romana was the best we had in Watamu and the restaurant gave me my first introduction to Focaccia – an oven-baked Italian bread. Oh Focaccia, where have you been all my life?!
- Amici Mei (Visiwa)
Amici Mei is a restaurant located in Visiwa Lodge and my favourite thing about it is the pool that runs through the restaurant. The food was also good but just don’t order the jumbo prawns if you’re really hungry. Don’t get me wrong though, they were very tasty. However, they were expensive and really should not be a standalone dinner.
- Mbuyu Lodge
I liked the service and food at Mbuyu Lodge restaurant. I also liked the restaurant setting and the rustic feel but I can’t say that it is a place I’d return to as nothing really stood out for me. Nonetheless, I think it is deserving of a spot on this list and is worth checking out if you visit Watamu.
- Prawn Lake
We visited Prawn Lake on the first evening of our arrival in Watamu. Most places were already closed or closing due to the curfew, however the chef was able to whip up something for us. Personally, I wouldn’t go back to Prawn Lake restaurant for the food but I’d go for drinks and a beautiful sunset by the lake. That’s what most people were there for anyway.
PS: If you do plan to eat out at Prawn Lake, you would need to call in advance to have them prepare your meal.
Best Restaurants in Watamu for Desserts
There are two main places for desserts in Watamu – Non Solo Gelato and Bahati Gelateria Italiana (Andrea’s).
- Non Solo Gelato: When we visited Watamu, the main Non Solo Gelato store was closed but we were still able to get our hands on the famous frozen dessert at few restaurants (including Hosteria Romana and Papa Remo Beach).
- Bahati Gelateria Italiana (Andrea’s): Located right next to Hosteria Romana, the gelato here was delightful!
Some Restaurants I Wanted to Visit but Couldn’t Get to or Were not Opened:
- Naturalmente Pane (Bakery)
- Ocean Sports Restaurant
- Hemmings way
Many hotels in Watamu provide in house dining but I’d say skip the full board option and try to eat out sometimes. You don’t want to miss out on one of the main components of a perfect beach holiday, do you? 🙂