Food just unites all of us regardless of our tribes, race, sex, age etc. If you want to attract Nairobians to your place, just have amazing food, make it affordable and offer great services and a picturesque ambiance.
Below is a quick review of my top 10 most affordable restaurants in Nairobi. These places are quite affordable, family friendly, have a great ambience and are accessible to all.
1. CJ’s Restaurant
Considering it’s name and it’s location at Koinange street, CJ’s restaurant has stood the test of time. The well lit interior, the spacious sitting area and their prompt service is an added advantage. It is among the must-try joints in the Nairobi CBD. Their menu ranges from very awesome freshly made juice, sundaes, salads, burgers, chicken, fish etc. They have a variety to offer and their portions are large. I would recommend anyone who goes there to try their chicken breast and fries with a salad for 990ksh. It was my favourite.
Another point to note is that they don’t serve any alcohol so for those who like down their meals with a glass of wine or cocktails you will have to settle with a mocktail or lemonade which I would also highly recommend. Their menu ranges from around Kshs. 600 to about Kshs.1100. Their drinks and shakes menu range from Kshs. 350 to Kshs.450.
Also read: My top 5 restaurants for a cozy date
2. Charlie’s Bistro
Following the demolitions that happened at South End mall a few months ago, Charlie’s changed its location to the Nairobi town at Wabera street just where Nakumatt city hall used to be. The owner really knows what his customers want as the new place is more stunning that the previous one. Their menu offers a variety to choose from. The prices range from around 800 to 1500 for meals, and their drinks are 350 local beers, coffee and tea around 200 and the cocktails range from 500 to 750 . Their menu is really big like 4 pages each, the food menu and the drinks menu. I had their burger and fries and the portions were really big as the burger comes with a side salad, fries and I think guacamole. They have happy hour i think everyday from 4- 7 pm you buy one cocktail get one free.
Kindly note that this branch has also closed down recently following the Covid-19 Pandemic and their only remaining branch is at Kasuku Centre in Kileleshwa.
3. Urban Burger
This is my all time burger restaurant in Nairobi. It has the best burgers in town and very huge ones. My favourite location is the one at Prestige Plaza because it is near my work place. They also have branches at Galleria mall, Village Market and West gate mall.
As the name suggests they specialize mainly with burgers. But they also sell milkshakes, coffee , their own brewed beer and some local beers too. Their burger meal prices range from 790 to 1,290 bob. The drinks are around 400 and most cocktails cost 790 bob. They have happy hour everyday from 4-7pm .Buy one jug/glass of brewed beer get one free. They also have the crazy Monday offer just to help with your Monday blues whereby you buy two burger meals at 990 only. The meal comes from a great with fries or onion rings and a salad!!! It is worth it. Also their take away packaging is just superb. My favourite burger is “Texas” and “Big Hulk”.
N/B: They have a new branch in Nairobi CBD on Koinange Street.
4. Mama rocks burger
This restaurant also specializes in burgers and fries. They have two locations. One at Kilimani and one at West lands (the Alchemist). What I loved about them is the ambiance and their set up which is really nice and old school. My opinion about their burgers is that they were just regular burgers but my friends seemed to like them. Their sweet potatoes fries were awesome even though they were like 20 pieces or less. Their plantain was a bit dry and too small of a portion. Their normal fries were really nice too.
Their prices range from 950 to 1,100 for burger meals. Another downside to this is that they charge you for sauces. Who does that! Ketchup is 50 bob and any other sauce you want you have to pay extra. They have happy hour from 4-7 pm everyday.
5. Fogo Gaucho
This is for the meat lovers. This place got you covered. They have two locations one at Kilimani and another one at West lands Vikings House. It offers a variety of meat from crocodile meat, pork ribs, lamb chops, fish fillet, chicken and even turkey. It offers 16 types of meat and almost 20 salads.
At a price of Kshs. 2,200 you get to eat as much meat as you can see what a great time for as long as you want so long as you do not carry any. The waiters pass through each table asking if you can sample their meat. Then you choose your accompaniments from the buffet. I was there for my pre-birthday dinner and it was so nice i was so full!! It is worth it.
This is for the anjera/injera lovers. It is an Eritrean or Ethiopian restaurant with 3 branches one at pangani another one in westlands and one in Karen. The one in Pangani is the most affordable as the price for a whole plate of injera with accompaniments is around 700 while Karen and West lands is about 1,200 to 1,400 . You see lanes!! The meals are so worth it because they serve a really generous amount. You can also choose between brown and white injera. Drinks are pretty affordable too as they go for 200-250 bob the local beers and cocktails around 600 bob. They also have happy hour everyday from 4-7 pm for all wines and mojitos.
7. Big square
This is for the junk food lovers. Big square is like a high-end fast food restaurant. It also has a lot of branches ranging from Mombasa road, Ad life plaza, the junction mall, Karen shopping center etc. My favourite meal is their honey glazed pork-ribs though they always serve like only 3 of them. They have platters at 1500 where you can choose from or you can also order each item separately. They have rice, beef stew and even chicken strips and also burgers. Their milkshakes are to die for especially when they don’t put too much milk instead of ice cream at 500bob. They also do cocktails and pizza for the pizza lovers. It is generally a nice place though the portions are not that large. Cocktails go for 500 but you can get 3 at 1100 bob.
8. Steers/Debonair’s Pizza
For the pizza and burger lovers this is your go to place for affordable pizzas and burgers. They have branches in Nairobi CBD, South B , Donholm and Ngong road. They always have amazing offers.On Friday they have an offer for 2 large pizzas at 1,100 and also an everyday offer 2 large pizzas at 1,400. The famous whacky Wednesday is still there. Two burgers for 300. They are pretty affordable and their burgers are actually really nice.
9. Pizza Inn/Chicken Inn/Creamy Inn/Galitos
I think every Nairobian knows this restaurant.They are almost everywhere. Nairobi CBD, Westlands, Ngong road, Langata road, South B, Embakasi, the list is endless. They are famous for their ”Terrific Tuesday” offer where you buy one pizza get one free and the large pizza goes for 1,000 bob. Pretty economical right? Yeah. This offer day everybody wants to buy pizza in town so I would advice you to buy from the other less crowded places because the service will be much better than in town. Chicken inn is pretty affordable as compared to Galitos.
At Chicken inn, you get a piece of chicken for 100 while at Galitos, a quarter chicken goes for 500 bob with fries. But their chicken is better than Chicken Inn because it is well marinated unlike Chicken Inn where they just coat the chicken with breadcrumbs and deep-fry it. Creamy inn has pretty nice ice cream though their milkshakes are not the best especially take away I think they either put too much milk than ice cream or they whisk it too much. Having worked for this place i ate all their foods adi zikanichosha but i really like their pizza and the Galitos chicken. I would not recommend their burger. They should just stick with making chicken and pizza.
10. Kilimanjaro and Pronto
The Somali/Muslim community is taking over the Nairobi food scene. They are taking over even clubs and turning them into restaurants. Remember club Zodiak at Imenti house? It is no longer a club but a restaurant serving you Swahili dishes. I am not complaining at all actually I am happy because this places have really nice food at very affordable prices. With around 400 you will have a “home cooked” meal in a generous amount. Legit coastal Pilau or Biryiani is like 300 bob. This restaurants are super generous with the food portions and I think that why people are choosing them. Their food is also really fresh because I doubt if they really have left overs.
Pronto is also the restaurant that took over the place where Charlie’s Bistro was.
Those are my top 10 affordable restaurants in Nairobi though I did not exhaust the list. I have others like;
- Mama Oliech. Fish and brown ugali lovers this place got you covered. There is a branch at Hurling ham and another one at corner near Nakumatt junction. Fish goes for less around 1000 at Hurlingham and around 450 at corner. Lanes again.
- Hunters in Karen. Pork lovers I got you covered. My friends discovered this place and their pork is really amazing. It is also honey glazed and well cooked. It is only 800 per kg. The place also has clubs you can drink after the meal.
- Oletepes. For those who need a quiet place away from Nairobi, oletepes got you covered. It is less than an hours drive from Nairobi town and they have amazing meat. Choma, wet-fry, dry-fry, tumbukiza, mtura they got you covered.
- Base three. How can I not mention this place! Our go to place on Sunday midday waking up from hangovers za sato. This place is located in Ngong-Matasia area. All you have to do is call Karanja to place an order like an hour earlier for the meat to be well done. It is a legit local place.
- Baobox in westlands. I have actually not been in this place but it is on my to do list before the year ends. The place looks really nice from the photos and I hear they have unlimited games you can play. So it needs you and your squad. I will come with a review as soon as I visit there.
- Altona, son ford, Nevada, Memphis and the likes. This restaurants are your quick fish places to go to in town. Their food is always fresh as they have a lot of customers and chances of their food to be recooked are minimal. They are strategically located near pass ways and clubs for you to buy because you know you will not go home to cook with hangovers from hell. They got you covered for kuku porno and fries and they are pretty affordable coz fries go for 80 bob and kuku quarter is around 130.