Arusha is the third biggest city in Tanzania and is a popular destination for volunteers and tourists planning on going on safari or hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. But despite the population and influx of visitors, I was quite surprised at the lack of restaurants.
I had been living in Dar es Salaam for eight months, were there is an abundance of delicious dining choices.
After asking around and spending two weeks exploring, I made this list of the best places to eat in Arusha. Bon appetite!
This restaurant is currently the newest and most popular restaurant in town. It has a lovely garden and fountain in the center of the property. Making an L shape around the garden is the outdoor bar, dining room, and kitchen. It’s great for intimate dates or group gatherings. Many residents say this is home to the best hamburger in Tanzania. Other food options include creative pizzas and other sandwiches. The wine and liquor selection is extensive, making this a great choice for dinner before going to some of the late night bars in Arusha.
The Blue Heron
Located just across the street (Haillie Sellassie Road) from Le Patio, this outdoor restaurant is quaint and comfortable. It’s only open in the morning and afternoon, and as a wide selection of omelets and sandwiches. There is also a great bakery with a wide selection of sweets. It’s an incredible place to hang out for lunch or to do some work, with it’s flowery surroundings and inviting couches. If you are looking to do some souvenir shopping, you can also take advantage of their gift shop.
The Fig and Olive
This Mediterranean restaurant is further up the road from the previous two places. Also like the first two, half the tables are outside in a beautiful garden setting with soft lights and music at night. The bar is also outside. However, if it starts to rain like it did when I was there, there is also seating inside. The food is ok; various kebab entrees are most common.
Although difficult to find, this is definitely a fun place to come to with a group of friends, and one of the best places to eat in Arusha. Just like other traditional Ethiopian restaurants, you order several different dishes to share and everything is eaten by using your hands and a flat bread to scoop up the meat and vegetable dishes. Here they have combo platters to share between small groups.
Have you been to Arusha? Where did you eat?