Very few restaurants in Nairobi have managed the art of staying relevant for decades. Cedars is an – perhaps the – exception.

Back in the Moi era, this Lebanese restaurant was a hangout place for regime bigwigs, and generally for the then relatively small upmarket clientele living in the area around Kilimani, Kileleshwa and Lavington.

While the menu has changed substantially since then, the food was, and still is, world class. At the beginning of the century, Cedars was considered one of the pricier places in Kenya. With Nairobi raising to become something akin to the foodie capital of Africa, a significant number of far more expensive restaurants have opened. Cedars, however, has stayed true to its style, and retained the same quality and atmosphere it always had, while only hiking their prices moderately over the years.

Cedars was the first restaurant in Nairobi to offer shishas, more than a decade before that became the latest craze around the country. For the longest time, it was also the only Lebanese restaurant around.

Their mezze are always the “default option”, whether you are in a small or a big group, and you can never really go wrong with that. There are some great steak options too, though, and by far the best salmon in Nairobi. Obviously, considering one of the owners is Norwegian!

The only thing seemingly missing on the menu, is some selection of Lebanese wines!

Like most Kilimani classics, Cedars obviously also features a spacious, lush and green garden, with a fully featured playground as one of their more recent additions. Hence, also a very worthwhile option for the weekend family lunch!

Alas, like the rest of Kilimani, Cedars will soon be giving way to a luxury apartment tower. Legends don’t die, though, so it will reappear in a yet-to-be determined location. Whereever it goes, I will most likely follow, but that leafy garden on Lenana Road will forever remain my number 1 favorite in Nairobi.

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