Tanzania Restaurants and Dining

(Tanzania, TZ, East Africa)

Photo of al fresco tables in Stone RownMost Tanzanians don't regularly eat out in restaurants. For that reason, you won't find vast numbers of restaurants, as in some other African countries. However, in popular tourist towns and in the larger cities, there are a number of very good dining establishments and eateries offering a reasonable variety of cuisine, including traditional and more Western-style dishes.

Most local dining venues serve lunch between 12:00 and 14:00, while the best time to head out for dinner is 20:00. It is worth noting that many choose to close on Sundays. Restaurants based within hotels and those aimed more at tourists than locals generally stay open throughout the day.

Cafe tables in Zanzibar

What to Eat

Traditional Tanzanian food tends to be simple and filling. You may well find yourself starting the day with deep-fried dough cakes known as 'andazi', or 'uji' - a type of porridge made from millet. Main dishes at lunch and dinner often include grilled meat, known as 'nyama choma', a firm favourite with many Tanzanians. This is usually served with a spicy chilli sauce. Nearer Tanzania's coast, dishes tend to include a wide variety of seafood, such as prawns and lobsters. Tropical fruit dishes include pineapples, bananas and coconuts.

Tanzanian cuisine also features a fair few snack dishes, such as grilled meat, corn on the cob, chapatis and samosas. In recent years, chips and omelettes have become more and more popular as snack foods.

Picture of restaurant within the Tarangire National Park

Where to Eat

In the main tourist areas, larger restaurants and those run by hotel chains boast a good selection of international dishes on the menu. In Dar es Salaam, for example, there are several Japanese, Italian, Continental and Indian eateries, the latter of which are clustered around Jamhuri Street and Zanaki Street. Many larger hotel restaurants also offer buffet lunches. In Arusha, choice is more limited, but it's still possible to dine out on reasonably good Western-style food, if that is what you're looking for.

Outside of the leading tourist destinations, you are more likely to find yourself dining out at smaller private hotel restaurants. Here, menus tend to be restricted to a smaller selection of traditional dishes.

Image showing cafe in Moshi, a Tanzanian municipalityMost safari companies come with full-board dining options, with breakfast, lunch and dinner all included. Lunch may be served 'al fresco' as a picnic whilst you're out game spotting.

For many Tanzanians, eating out usually means grabbing a quick snack from a roadside stall. Such stalls can be found pretty much all over the country and mean that you're never too far from something to eat, so long as you're not too fussy about facilities and standards.