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The nomad's guide to Westlands, Nairobi

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Welcome to the center of it all in Nairobi - Westlands is definitely the most happening neighborhoods in town. The neighborhood functions as the city's trendier second downtown - a hub for offices, dining and nightlife. This post lists our favorite places to go while you're in "Westy".


Where to eat in Westlands: our restaurant picks

Westlands is home to some of the best restaurants in Nairobi; as an expat hub, it's packed with international restaurant choices. These are our picks for some of the best places to eat in Westlands - note that with a few noted exceptions, all should be vegetarian-friendly.

Beit e Selam's dining room and roast cauliflower.


Budget ($)

Bhajia Point: Enjoy bhajia - a local street snack made of battered and fried potatoes - as well as Indian snacks like dosas.

BigFish Westlands: A viral joint for coconut-smothered fried fish in a traditional Kenyan style (not vegetarian-friendly).

Diamond Plaza Food Court: Ground zero for Kenyan-style Indian curries alongside juice and smoothie stalls.

One of BigFish's signature fried tilapias, with typical Kenyan greens, ugali and kachumbari.


Mid-range ($$)

360 Degrees Pizza: Probably the best pizza in Nairobi - wood-fired with inspired topping combos.

Chowpaty: Extremely popular, extremely delicious vegetarian Indian food.

Mama Rocks: Nairobi's first and best food truck, with African-inspired burgers.

Mercado: The spot for really good Mexican food and late-night happy hour specials.

Piri Piri Barbeque: Successor to the legendary Hashmi, this is a local institution for Indian-style barbecue.

Meet Mama Rocks' "Desmond Flaming Tutu" cheeseburger.


Luxe ($$$)

Beit e Selam: Inventive pan-African fusion cuisine in a stylish environment.

Fogo Gaucho: All-you-can-eat Brazilian rodizio crossed with African game meats (not vegetarian-friendly).

Inti: A highly 'grammable, chic, rooftop restaurant serving Peruvian-Japanese fare.

A view of Inti's smart, airy dining room.


Where to hang out in Westlands: cafes, bars and nightlife

Westlands has no shortage of places to let loose - here are some of our favorite places to hang out,whether you want to chill out or turn up. Presenting the best cafes and bars in Westlands:


Cafes

Le Grenier à Pain - A smart French bakery with exceptional pastries.

Shokupan - Japanese-style bakery and definitely the only place you'll find a gold-crusted croissant.

Cafe Kaya - A quirky local cafe with fun twists on Kenyan snacks (like camembert samosas).

Cafe Kaya's funky, original interior.


Bars

Bila Shaka Tap Room: A rooftop craft brewery with fun Indian-fusion bar food.

Chez Sonia: A tucked-away garden wine bar with excellent cheese and charcuterie.

Nairobi Street Kitchen: A warehouse outfitted with several food vendors and a popular semi-open-air upstairs bar.

Nairobi Street Kitchen's outdoor patio area.


Clubs

The Alchemist: A mainstay of the nightlife scene in Nairobi, playing a mix of afrobeats and hip-hop and hosting several restaurants and a cocktail bar by day.

Muze: Named one of the best clubs in the world, Muze is the place to be for house and electronic music.

Shelter: A dark, industrial space accessible through a hidden staircase that supports Nairobi's alternative techno and metal scenes.

The calm before the storm: happy hour at Alchemist.


Where to get your errands done: services and shopping in Westlands

Supermarkets

Carrefour: Massive international chain with a variety of imported items.

Quickmart: Popular local supermarket with deals on bulk items and a big prepared food section.

Zucchini Greengrocers: Specialty grocer of fresh produce and organic/vegan foods.


Gyms

Smart Gyms: Clean, reasonably priced gym with usual cardio and weights.

Climb Blue Sky: Nairobi's home for rock climbing and bouldering.


Other essentials

Get a SIM card: Safaricom shop, Sarit Centre or Westgate Mall

Go the hospital/doctor: Aga Khan Hospital

Go the mall: Sarit Centre is Westlands' largest mall and a central landmark in Westlands

Order food delivery: Use Bolt Food or Uber Eats

Safety tips: Be careful with valuables like your phone or wallet. Avoid walking around after dark. Beware of pickpockets at nightclubs.

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