Tip: Service is notoriously slow. Pack a deck of cards or a book and just enjoy!

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Looking for the best restaurants on Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar? Let’s dive in!

From fresh-caught fish to juicy local fruit juices. Fresh salads and seafood curries. Jambiani Beach offers access to some of the most delicious food on the island.

This guide is all about where to eat in Zanzibar at the best restaurants on the beach, because food is always my favorite topic for any destination. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect for the cuisine in Zanzibar. I was truly really blown away by all of the delicious, fresh seafood. 

There are a few staples that you should expect to eat in Zanzibar: fresh fruits, fresh fish, and lots of curries. You can expect a lot of delicious, fresh fruit smoothies (mango is always my favorite). We ordered either a fresh juice or smoothie with just about every meal. 

Gerezani in Jambiani Beach town
Gerezani in Jambiani Beach town

Prepare for your trip to Zanzibar

Best restaurants in Zanzibar 

There are a lot of influences in the food from India, Turkey, and a number of other Arabic countries. This means that not only will you find lots of curries, but also chapati, samosas, and spiced rice dishes. If you like your food to be spicy, ask for some fresh ‘pili pili’ on the side, local hot chili peppers.

But let’s dive into my favorite restaurants in Zanzibar, and what to order at each. 

Panyopa Restaurant 

Panyopa was a quick favorite for us, partially because it was directly next to our house. But also because the food is absolutely delicious. The restaurant is super simple, serving local seafood dishes with an oceanfront view. 

The chef and staff are super lovely, but service is very slow. It is not unusual to wait up to an hour for your meal, so I recommend bringing a book or deck of cards while you wait. 

What to order: mango juice, fish samosas, Swahili style fish curry

Fried fish samosas at Panyopa Restaurant 
Fried fish samosas at Panyopa Restaurant 
Swahili style fish curry and fresh chapati at Panyopa
Swahili style fish curry and fresh chapati at Panyopa

Chez Hassan

Our first meal at Chez Hassan is one that I think I’ll be talking about for the next five years, literally. To be specific it was the Poisson Cru with a side of fresh, hot chapati and olive oil. All I can say is go to Zanzibar, go to Chez Hassan, and order just that. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

They also do a number of seafood curries. They technically sell wine and beer, but they were sold out everytime we went, so maybe bring your own or enjoy a fresh smoothie instead.

In true Zanzibar style, expect the wait for your food to be long.

What to order: you already know, Poisson Cru with a side of fresh, hot chapati and olive oil

Gerezani 

Right along the main road of Jambiani Beach “town” you’ll find this gem. We visited a few times during our stay in Zanzibar for our favorites, specifically their avocado mango tuna salad. Yum! It’s technically considered a starter but it’s packed with grilled tuna so it is definitely enough for a light meal in my opinion.

You can’t really go wrong with anything on their menu though! Service also tends to be a bit faster than other local spots. 

What to order: avocado mango tuna salad and maharage (typical dish with coconut sauce, rice, spinach, and beans)

Avocado mango tuna salad at Gerezani 
Avocado mango tuna salad at Gerezani 
Poisson Cru at Chez Hazzan
Poisson Cru at Chez Hazzan

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Kupaga 

It’s rare that I recommend a restaurant at a boutique hotel but I still dream about ceviche from their lovely restaurant. The hotel is centrally located in Jambiani, located on the beach right next to Lucky Kite. 

Prices are a bit high by local standards, but well worth it for the standard of quality. They have a beautiful area to hang out and chill for a few hours. When we were taking daily kitesurfing lessons at Lucky Kite, we treated ourselves to a delicious late lunch of ceviche each day. 

What to order: fresh fish ceviche or tuna carpaccio, both served with toasted bread and fresh ‘pilipili’ (local hot chili peppers)

Fresh fish ceviche from Kupaga
Fresh fish ceviche from Kupaga
Chill out area at Kupaga's restaurant
Chill out area at Kupaga’s restaurant

Jiwe’s Swahili Kitchen 

If you’re looking for typical Swahili dishes in a super cozy and welcoming atmosphere then Jiwe’s Swahili Kitchen is for you. Traditional dishes include Mchuzi wa Nazi, Ndizi tamu and and traditional Zanzibar Pulao (rice with spices).

This is the type of spot you’ll want to keep coming back to during your time on Zanzibar.

Kimte Beach Guesthouse & Restaurant 

Kimte is a great spot right on the beach for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks – you name it! Kimte was our go-to spot during our stay on Jambiani Beach for pre-dinner apps and drinks. The food here is also really good, with a large variety of options available. 

I recommend the tuna tartare and guacamole toast, but really everything is delicious.

Kimte Beach restaurant
Kimte Beach restaurant
Beachfront drinks at Kimte Beach restaurant
Beachfront cocktails at Kimte Beach restaurant

Mr Kahawa Cafe

Located in the neighboring town to, Paje, Mr Kahawa Cafe is a great healthy cafe if you’re looking for something a bit less local. Think big hearty salads and bowls, baked goods, and non-dairy milk (the only place near Jambiani where I found it).

Mr Kahawa Cafe is also a great place to hang out and get some work done with strong wifi and a beachfront view (and a pool). 

Salads from Mr Kahawa Cafe
Salads from Mr Kahawa Cafe in Paje
Panyopa Restaurant - simple, delicious local dining
Panyopa Restaurant – simple, delicious local dining

Where to stay in Jambiani

The island of Zanzibar is actually quite large, so for the sake of this article we’ll only focus on places to stay in Jambiani Beach. Other areas you can check out include Paje, Stone Town, and Nungwi! Just keep in mind that the roads are particularly terrible in spots, so travel times between the different areas can be quite long.

When we arrived on Zanzibar we planned to only spend a few nights on Jambiani Beach, and then spend the next couple of weeks moving around the island. But we actually ended up spending 14 nights in Jambiani because we loved it (and it’s amazing food) so much!

Since we visited Zanzibar while traveling full-time, we did so on a pretty tight budget. For a basic, beachfront apartment we booked an Airbnb we payed around $25 a night. 

Kupaga Villas Boutique Hotel

A beautiful resort right on the water in Jambiani. There is a large pool and a shady restaurant. I recommend the ceviche. Make sure to head next door to Lucky Kite for a lesson.

Check rates and availability

Here are some other great options:

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Jambiani Beach Guide

How to get to Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar

Before visiting Zanzibar, I was pretty unsure on what exactly is the best way to reach the island.

There are two main ways that you can get from mainland Tanzania to Zanzibar: by flight or by ferry.

If you are not a local, the prices for both the ferry and the flight from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar island are actually just about the same, around $35 USD each way. So it really comes down to travel preference.

Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, is well connected to many other major cities in Africa including Nairobi, Johannesburg, and more.

Getting to Zanzibar by plane

We took a plane to Zanzibar and the ferry back. As someone who gets motion sickness, I personally think the flying is a much more comfortable and enjoyable way to make the journey between mainland and island.

There are a number of airlines that operate between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. These include Precision Air, AuricAir, and Coastal Aviation. If you typically book using Google Flights, just know that you will need to click into the airline websites for exact pricing details.

If you are flying into Tanzania from another country and will already be at the airport, then flying to Zanzibar is definitely the easiest, and most comfortable option. I think our flight took less than 30 minutes.

By ferry

Getting between mainland and Zanzibar is super easy and budget-friendly by ferry. You should buy your tickets at least 1-2 days in advance to guarantee a seat.

Note, if you typically get sick on boats then you’ll want to take something beforehand. The ferry terminal in Dar can also be super hectic, so I recommend coordinating your car pick up from the ferry port ahead of time. We did this and even still, it was super overwhelming.

Things to know before visiting Zanzibar

  • The island is predominantly Muslim. It’s important to be mindful and respectful of the local religion and customs. 
  • The local language in Zanzibar is Swahili, which is spoken across Tanzania, as well as in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Malawi. Locals will strongly encourage you to learn some Swahili, so I recommend learning a few basic words and phrases before you arrive.
  • Alcohol is not sold at regular markets, only at specific liquor stores.
  • There is no ATM in Jambiani beach. You will either need to go to Paje or visit the Masai shop where they can exchange your dollars or euros for a good rate.
  • The Masai Shop is the best place to go for anything you need – cold drinks, nacks, money exchange, taxis.

Things to do in Zanzibar 

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Zanzibar then I’d recommend checking out my full guide to Jambiani Beach. However, I’ve included a few must-do’s below:

  • Learn to kitesurf 
  • Take a boat trip on a local Dhow boat 
  • Visit the local caves like Kuza Cave and Maalum Cave
  • Enjoy the beaches – Jambiani beach and Paje beach
  • Try the local cuisine – seafood curries and fresh fish 
  • Spend a day in Stonetown 
  • Learn about the local spices with a spice tour 
  • Join a Safari Blue

Basic phrases in Zanzibar Swahili

  • Jambo! – Hello!
  • Mambo – What’s up?
  • Poa – Cool (response to ‘mambo’)
  • Hakuna matata – No problem
  • Karibu (sana) – You’re (very) welcome
  • Usiku mwema – Good night
  • Hakuna matata – No problem
  • Hapana – No

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