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Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeTravel GuideFood & DrinkStone Town, Zanzibar: Eat, Drink, Then Get Out

Stone Town, Zanzibar: Eat, Drink, Then Get Out

The Stone Town Zanzibar Food Drink Guide is part of the South America & Africa Points Heist Trip Report.

There will not be a Guns & Butter Travel Guide‎ for Stone Town, Zanzibar because I do not recommend staying there for long. I originally booked five nights at the Park Hyatt Zanzibar assuming that Hyatt wouldn’t build a PH in a less than perfect location. Still, there’s enough to do in Stone Town that justifies staying for one night.

The Old Town 
Recall the labyrinth of Marrakech? Stone Town is the same. Wandering around aimlessly is a nice way to spend the afternoon. I wanted to go inside the iconic House of Wonders, the first building to have electricity in Zanzibar, but it is closed because it is falling apart.

a building with a tunnel a narrow alley between buildings a narrow alley between buildings with clothes on the wall

a building with palm trees and cars parked in front of it
House of Wonders
a building with a clock tower
House of Wonders
a sign on a wall
Closed now.
signs on a wall with posters
I’m lost

a building with a roof a narrow street with buildings and people on the side a narrow alleyway between buildings a cannon on a staircase

Enter the walls of Stone Town and prepare for the onslaught of merchants trying to sell you tee shirts and trinkets. As a rite of passage, all tourists should purchase a ‘Why Climb Kilimanjaro When You Can Drink It?’ shirt. After going to Amboseli for safari, I approve of that message.

a group of people standing outside a store
Stay away from this guy in the white.

The Zanzibar Coffee Shop is worth a stop for quality espresso. a cup of coffee next to a wooden board a cup of coffee on a plate a two tiered trays with coffee beans

I came to Zanzibar for the beach and for the spices. I wanted the best biryani and a local suggested Lakman. The main restaurant was out of biryani for that day, but an employee took us through the back streets to the other Lakman. For $5, I had biryani, beef, octopus soup, okra, chickpeas, and bread. All good baby!

a building with a awning and a sign
Lukmaan #1

a pan of shrimp and octopus on a table

a man walking down a street
Our guide
a tree with pumpkins in front of a building
Courtyard of Lukmaan #2

a trays of food in a buffet a plate of food on a table a bowl of food on a table a bowl of soup with vegetables a table with plates of food

No trip to Stone Town would be complete without a visit to a rooftop bar. The Swahili House provided great views of the sunset and of the city.a sign next to a gate a building with many balconies a sunset over a city a group of buildings with a body of water in the background a city with many buildings and a sunset a city with buildings and a sunset a rooftops of a town a potted plant on a roof a man sitting on a chair with a cup of coffee

Night Market
Hold onto your wits as you enter the night market. The cooks are very aggressive and too hands on for my taste and certainly for Ms. TPOL’s taste. What started off as – let’s take one pic – turned into a photo shoot and some creepy incidents. Here are the happy memories:

a man in a chef's hat preparing food a man and woman holding food a group of people holding food a group of people standing around a table with food a man serving food to a woman

As far as the food goes, everything is a negotiation. It’s also a risk to your belly to try everything indiscriminately. Not caring about my past bout with malaria/food poisoning in Mara, I ordered the spicy octopus and whatever else he threw on my tray. It was decent but not remarkable.a table with food on it a group of skewers of meat

The beef pizza was the find of the day. a table with food on it a plate of food with sauce on it

The schwarma, which I bargained down to $2.20 for two, was a good sandwich but not really shwarma.

a sign with food on it a man pouring a bottle of sauce on a meat on a grill

The famous sugar cane drink was organic Sprite. a person pouring a drink into a cup a man in an apron pouring food into a tray

Beer on the Pier 
Looking to escape the touchy feely night market? Head to one the restaurants next to the night market and decompress with beer.

boats in the water at sunset
View of the PH

two bottles of beer on a table

Mercury Bar
Freddie Mercury of Queen was born in Zanzibar and there’s a bar there with his namesake. Curiously, they don’t play any of his music at the bar, and I didn’t hear any of it on the island. A local said that the Zanzibar people do not honor Freddie because of his lifestyle choices. I took it upon myself to do so with this fantastic tribute.

a sign on a pole a piece of paper with text on it a menu of drinks and drinks a restaurant with tables and chairs boats on a beach with boats a beer bottle on a table on a beach with boats in the background boats in the water with boats

One day or night in Stone Town is enough. Eat, drink, buy the tee shirt, then move on.

a person in a white robe walking down a street
Get Me…
a narrow alleyway with a light shining on the side
Out of here!


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