Wendy Watta, author of The Best Digital Nomad Neighborhoods in Nairobi shares her favorite restaurants, bars, cafes, and coworking spaces when exploring the hip city of Nairobi and its surrounding nature.
The Best Restaurants for Digital Nomads in Nairobi
Unseen Nairobi, Kilimani: Rooftop bar and restaurant with an art-house cinema that showcases indie movies and documentaries largely from across Africa. There are regular events where you can meet other film buffs and foodies.
About Thyme, Westlands: Green leafy oasis that serves beautifully plated fusion cuisine with a variety of vegetarian options. It's perfect for dates, and don’t skip the desserts as that’s the best part. Remains closed on Mondays, and reservations are advised.
Mama Oliech, Kilimani: This is the spot for local food, with the signature dish being wet fry tilapia, sukuma wiki, and ugali. Forget the cutlery and dine like the locals do.
Peppertree, Westlands: Go for the cocktails; anything from basil and lime daiquiris to mango mojitos. The burgers and grilled meats are a draw, and the decor makes it a hotspot for influencers.
The View, Westlands: Sitting on the 24th floor of Movenpick Hotel, this revolving restaurant offers Mediterranean lunches and dinners, with sweeping views of the city.
Geco Cafe, Lavington: An artsy neighborhood gastro bar and cafe with live music most days of the week. It’s next to a car wash and looks unassuming from the exterior, but don’t hesitate to go in.
Ankole Grill, Kilimani & Kitisuru: Steaks, pizzas, burgers, and classic Kenyan cuisine are the name of the game at this beautiful African-style steakhouse with plenty of lush garden space, terraces, and a fireplace.
Chez Sonia, Westlands: Chic and upscale wine bar with an eclectic menu featuring regions like France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. There are live bands and pop-up markets in the garden every other weekend.
Red Ginger, Parklands: Go for Pan-Asian cuisine, or karoga, where an Indian restaurant supplies the ingredients and you cook your own food.
Inca Restaurant, Lavington: At the rooftop of the urban The Social House Nairobi hotel, find Peruvian cuisine at this intimate restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, beautiful art, and plenty of plants. The platters are great for sharing on a date night, as you listen to Latin American music.
Tokyo Restaurant, Lavington: Founder and Head Chef Phillip Shin has been serving Japanese cuisine in Nairobi for over two decades now. This is the place for sushi and live teppanyaki.
The River Cafe, Limuru Road: Nestled within Karura, an urban forest perfect for hikes and bike rides, with scenic waterfalls. This cafe sits on a wooden deck under an open canvas and is one you go to mostly for its enviable location rather than the food.
The Best Bars for Digital Nomads in Nairobi
The Alchemist Nairobi, Westlands: Nairobi's coolest spot, with regular music gigs by artists and DJs from around the world. There's also a Made in Kenya shop that stocks local artisans, a food truck with incredible burgers, and other restaurants on site.
Brew Bistro Bar and Lounge Westlands & Ngong Road: A gastropub with its own microbrewery that serves craft beers on tap, or a mixologist can whip up your favorite cocktail. Their second rooftop bar and grill, Brew Bistro Fortis, overlooks Westlands and is one of the best spots for dancing in town.
The Bar Next Door, Lavington: Laid-back neighborhood bar with live music and DJs that play everything from pop music to afrobeats. It's a popular spot to watch football and rugby sporting matches over a pint.
K1 Klubhouse, Parklands: With music performances, an excellent menu, and a flea market where you're bound to uncover treasure, and this is the go-to spot for Sunday brunch. You'll likely make new friends since the main sitting is on one long wooden table and benches, under the shade of colorful upturned umbrellas. The long-standing Thursday reggae night is legendary.
Milan Bar & Restaurant, Westlands: This is where the city's beautiful women pull out their best heels and bodycon dresses to go brunch on Sunday; you have to dress up. The restaurant turns into a club at night, with DJs playing R&B, Hip hop, reggaeton, and more. For the best table, make reservations.
Que Pasa Bar & Bistro, Karen: Opened by three Belgian friends, some dishes such as chicken vol au vent reflect their heritage. The space is stylish with high ceilings, huge chandeliers, and exposed wooden beams.
Deja Vu Lounge Westlands: This nightclub is the place to be if you're keen to dance until the early hours of the morning. It has Kenyan DJs who play everything from amapiano to afrobeats and hip hop, and it can get packed.
Two Grapes, Kilimani: An extensive wine list to browse through as you listen to a lively comedy show by the Punchline Comedy Club, while sipping after-work drinks with friends in a laid-back setting.
Sky Lounge, Mombasa Road: Classy rooftop bar at Emara Ole Sereni Hotel, not far from the airport. The infinity pool and bar overlook a waterhole at Nairobi National Park, where you might spot wildlife grazing as you sip your gin and tonic.
Blue Door, Westlands: Tapas, washed down with craft beers from the beer garden. There are screens to catch sporting matches, a sleek bar with a VIP lounge and a dance floor.
The Best Cafes for Digital Nomads in Nairobi
Java House: There are at least 60 Java cafes across Kenya including in airports, beaches, and small towns, all with standard menus and similar decor. They are comfortable with charging outlets, decent WiFi, friendly service, affordable prices, and delicious meals.
Artcaffe: Over 36 outlets in Nairobi, this upscale cafe has a French bakery, serves Kenyan coffee, and offers dishes ranging from pancakes and pizzas to sandwiches and salads catering for a range of diets. Stick around for happy hour, or salsa night every Friday.
Pallet Cafe: A green garden setting with rustic wooden furniture, this cafe trains and hires hearing-impaired staff at their two outlets in Nairobi's suburbs.
Wasp & Sprout: A hip handmade furniture showroom and local artisan shop meet a cozy cafe in the residential Loresho neighborhood. As you tuck into the chicken and waffles, if you like the art hanging across from you, you can purchase and take it home.
The Library: Book a private pod and get free WiFi, bottomless coffee, and your main meal at this cozy art-filled restaurant on the rooftop of Sarit Center Mall. There's even a library and reading pods, and a sensual kizomba dance night every Friday.
The Best Coworking Spaces for Digital Nomads in Nairobi
Nairobi Garage, Kilimani, Westlands, Karen & Spring Valley: Beautiful locations, great community building with events like office parties and fireside chats on rotation at the different offices. Open for 24 hours, and if you pay for one, you can work from any.
Ikigai ,Lavington, Westlands, Lower Kabete & Riverside: Each location is unique, but all share large serene gardens with lots of trees and nooks and crannies to hide away and work in, plus beautiful interiors that encourage member collaboration and networking at the social areas. Wellness is prioritized with complimentary yoga and meditation classes, and one even has a heated pool.
Kofisi, Westlands, Riverside, Upperhill & Karen: Expect chic, design-led offices with beautiful art-filled interiors that maximize the views, whether that’s the Ngong Hills or highrise buildings in the city.
Jenga Leo, Westlands: Here’s a coworking space with vibrant interiors, a restaurant that caters for various dietary requirements, and an affordable well-equipped gym and yoga studio.