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.
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.
The Zanzibar Coffee Shop is worth a stop for quality espresso.
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!
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.
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:
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.
The beef pizza was the find of the day.
The schwarma, which I bargained down to $2.20 for two, was a good sandwich but not really shwarma.
The famous sugar cane drink was organic Sprite.
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.
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.
One day or night in Stone Town is enough. Eat, drink, buy the tee shirt, then move on.