How to make your days in South Coast a culinary delight

After some lovely days of relaxing and culinary exploration in Malindi, we were heading southwards, to Diani.

Until the upcoming Southern and Northern bypasses are complete, that journey inevitably passes through Mombasa town, and includes the Likoni ferry. While the Southern Bypass is nearing completion, the Northern one is still on the drawing table. Hence, what should be a two-hour journey, takes 4-5 hours instead.

Diani is a far calmer, more pleasant alternative to the bustling beaches right north of Mombasa. Still, the place is far more energetic than pristine, quiet beaches of neighboring Tiwi.

In addition to numerous beach resorts, Diani is also home to a great number of excellent restaurants. We only got to explore two new ones this time, so watch this space for more updates later this year!

Salty Squid

Surfer’s paradise: The beach next to Salty Squid

This place is a surfer’s paradise, right on a beach teeming with kitesurfers. Dozens of kites in the air right outside makes Salty Squid a sight to behold.

The menu goes beyond most of the beach restaurants in the area, with some quite exciting and distinct features, such as their seared tuna with mango chutney. An obvious choice for me. Mango seems to be a prominent ingredient in their quite successful fusion cuisine.

Seared tuna with mango chutney

These guys are also far more innovative with their cocktails than most of the competitors. If you like watermelon, then I can recommend the one called What a Melon!

The variety is pretty good, so brace yourself for a long, enjoyable lunch here! Others have discovered the Salty Quid too, so booking in advance is recommended!

Next door to the left, is the Blue Marlin Hotel. This budget hotel also has a beach restaurant, where the grilled octopus is well worth the visit.

Nomad

This beach restaurant at the Sands at Nomad Hotel has achieved quite a legendary status in the South Coast, and is a default option for many visitors to Diani.

The presence of Dom Perignon and Cristal on the menu is a clear statement that this restaurant targets an upscale clientele. The wine selection is quite elaborate, although not everything on the menu is available. The place generally looks great. If only the service was up to the same standards..

I went for the surf and turf – their steak and prawns combo – which was just ok. The beef was nice, and skillfully done, while the prawns were so-so. The prawn sauce had a somewhat strange taste, which din’t do much for the overall impression.

My wife had the seafood pizza, which was very nice, albeit nothing exciting. I also had a taste of the prawn sashimi, which wasn’t all that fresh.

The overall experience was good, but with a price level above the other restaurants in the area, one would expect better food than this!

Sails at Almanara

The Sails at Almanara
The Sails at Almanara

The Sails at Almanara leads the top league of beach restaurants in Diani!

The setting is as great as it gets for this category, with a big, open tent and comfy, cushioned seats right on the beach.

The place has become so popular, though, that getting one of the few tables on a short notice may be difficult. Hence, we haven’t been back there for a while. I still cannot forget their ginger crab from the last time, though. The next time we travel to Diani, we will definitely call to book long in advance!

Ali Barbours Cave Restaurant

Ali Barbour's Cave Restaurant in Diani
Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant in Diani

Ali Barbours used to be the most remarkable restaurant in Diani, set in a natural cave, this was the perfect place for romantic dinners in South Coast.

Since the owner passed away last year, his family has apparently been locked in an inheritance dispute, causing the restaurant to close down, at least for now.

We just hope to find them open the next time we visit Diani.

My Pictures from the Kenya Coast

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