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    Jul 2013 · Susan McKee

    Yes, it's touristy. Yes, it's kitschy. Yes, it's cliché. But, yes, if you're going to Nairobi you absolutely must plan...

    Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s kitschy. Yes, it’s cliché. But, yes, if you’re going to Nairobi you absolutely must plan for a meal at Carnivore.

    This is the restaurant you’ve heard about for decades — since 1980, in fact, when it first opened its doors about 4 km from the center of Nairobi. Because of the climate, Carnivore has few walls and many views of its tropical gardens.

    Tagged a ‘Beast of a Feast’, this is where you get to try just a taste (or as much as you’d like) of a variety of meat. Originally there were delicacies such as zebra and lion among the selections, but changing tastes (on many levels) have reduced the options. Still, you can try ostrich, crocodile, duck, ox and camel as well as the more common-place choices of chicken, lamb and mutton, pork and beef. Think: roasts, sausages, livers, ribs, wings. The day’s offerings are listed on a chalkboard out front.

    Everything is roasted on traditional Maasai swords over a huge charcoal pit that dominates the entrance of the restaurant.

    If the meat choices weren’t enough, there’s soup, house-made bread, salad and side dishes, along with an array of special sauces on a double-decker tray. The staff will explain which house-made condiment is especially delicious with which meat selection. (There are vegetarian options, but, really, vegetarians should steer clear of Carnivore.)

    Staff, attired in zebra-striped aprons and jaunty straw hats, move from table to table, carrying the swords holding the cooked offerings and carving whatever you’d like onto your cast iron plate. The choices arrive at your table, one after the other, until you declare “defeat” by lowering the white paper flag on top of the tray. After that, there’s dessert and Kenyan coffee to come (the feast is a fixed price, so it’s all included).

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