market lamu

Feast on traditional Swahili cuisine, settle down for some spicy masala chai or satisfy your sweet tooth with some ruby-red halwa at the best restaurants in Lamu.

Baitil Aman

Built in the 18th century as royal dowry for a noblewoman, Baitil Aman is a traditional palace built out of whitewashed coral stone, boasting some of the most enchanting examples of Swahili wall architecture and carved doorways in town. Climb four flights of stairs to sit cross-legged against the cool palace walls at this charming rooftop restaurant run by owner Sidiki, where you’ll dine by lantern light on a traditional four-course feast to the echoes of prayer calls from a nearby mosque. Their tamarind red snapper fish and coconut rice (infused with cinnamon, cloves and cumin seeds) is heavenly, while you can’t beat the signature dessert of cardamom-infused creme caramel to finish.

Whispers Café

The palm-fringed courtyard of this café provides welcome respite from the midday heat in the centre of Lamu Old Town. The stone-clad walls of the outside seating area are covered in tropical creepers, making for a pleasant recuperation point with an ice-cold watermelon and mint juice. Alternatively, choose lunch from a small, vegetarian-friendly menu and wash down with some outstanding masala chai.

  • +254 424 632 024
  • Whispers Coffee House
    Kenyatta Road
    Lamu

Diamond Beach Village

This family-run bar and restaurant with an eco-inclination is the spot to enjoy a good pizza (the seafood one is superb) and chilled local beer in a relaxed setting. Diamond Beach overlooks the channel and Shela dunes, their traditionally thatched communal area primely positioned to watch the sunset. Come the weekend, jump on a boat taxi in the late afternoon for sundowners as DJs lay down the tunes. Visit for Friday film night when you can sit with sandy feet enjoying anything from conservation documentaries to old classics on a big screen.

Abuhakar’s Halva Centre

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Abuhakar Shariff’s legendary halwa shop. A hole in the wall on Kenyatta street, frequented by locals and the odd tourist that happens to pop their head inside, watch as the master carefully weighs, distributes and churns ingredients in a waltz-like fashion to create this local specialty. Flavours include honey, ghee, cardamom and rose water which gives the dessert its distinct floral note, while raw saffron strands are added to develop its ruby colouring. The gelatinous pudding is then cut into generous portions, wrapped in watertight packaging, slipped into a hand-woven palm frond casing and purled tight. Parcelling this Lamu delicacy in such a way allows it to be kept outside a fridge for up to two months. Enjoy with tar-black Arabic coffee (ask for kahawa).

  • Haluwa Centre
    Kenyatta Road
    Lamu

Abuhakar’s Halva Centre

Whispers Coffee House

Diamond Beach Village

Baitil Aman

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