What’s the big deal in Samaki Samaki Nairobi?

Red snapper with a side of exotic potatoes. Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

Opened this past December, the eatery is still riding the novelty wave and reservations are highly advised

When I first heard of the name Samaki Samaki, I thought it was a restaurant that served Luo-style tilapia and Kenyan food in an upmarket setting. I was wrong. Opened this past December, on Othaya road, Lavington, the eatery is still riding the novelty wave and reservations are highly advised as it can be hard to get a table if you just show up.  

Prawns pili pili pizza. Photo | Pool

I went with a friend and they had booked our table in the garden, which was perfect given the lovely weather that Saturday afternoon. There’s a very pretty host at the entrance who will show you to your table, which is very welcome so you’re not wandering around aimlessly trying to find a seat. They have live jazz music every Saturday from 2 pm, and the band played an array of international songs, as well as Kenyan classics by artists like Kidum. Speaking of Kidum, can someone please tell him that he is missed and we need more music? Thanks. 

I found the menu to be quite pricey. The catch of the day, and an array of fresh seafood, are written on a small chalkboard. Options include lobster Sh2,900, tilapia Sh1200, king prawns Sh2900, tuna Sh1,850, and more. And these don’t even come with sides, which are charged separately. Chips, grilled corn, and mchicha will for instance cost a further Sh290 each, while the house salad or rice will be Sh390. My friend had the red snapper, which was decent, while I got a pili prawn pizza for around Sh1500, and it was nothing to write home about. Local beers and ciders go for Sh500, and cocktails range from Sh700 to Sh1200. They also have a nice selection of house wines, at Sh600 a glass. 

The service is great, and the space is really beautiful. It's very cozy indoors, and if dining al fresco, the bar area is the centerpiece, decked in a series of lampshades that look like small upside-down bamboo fishing nets, and when these are lit in the evening, you won’t help but stare. The core crowd is generally mature, ranging anywhere from 27 to 50. Their first restaurant which is already popular in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has a very different vibe.

Pop in on Saturday or Sunday…they have a different band every so often, and Asta Ina & the Rouge Band alway


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