I get multiple messages a day from people asking about Karen restaurants, from the group of girlfriends staging a bachelorette party, the couple needing a romantic night out away from their kids or a random family hosting a group of relative and friends form Cornwall. To keep up with this constant stream of inquiries I am always on the hunt for obscure but trendy restaurants, gastrolounges, cutting-edge bars, and superlative food venues around Karen. I can confidently say that the restaurant options here are top notch and just as good as they are in other parts of the world, which is certainly not a light statement..

" Due to it's strategic location in Kenya's tourist circuit, Karen attracts tourists from around the globe eager to eat and drink their way through a suburb that gets tastier with each tomorrow"

The Karen's culinary excellence didn't start today, but this foodie haven is ever more. fresh, local, accommodating and inspiring. Culinary creations using local ingredients often put new restaurants ahead of existing competition but environmental sustainability, design layouts, vegetarian and gluten-free options are emerging as the new battle fronts in the fight to win the hearts and minds of karenites.....below is a snapshot of my list of top trendy restaurants in Karen featured in this article. I’ll keep adding to this list as I find more favorites!

  • Cultiva Farm
  • Matteo's
  • Under The Swahili Tree
  • SAAB Cafe & Bakery
  • The Talisman
  • Tamarind Brasserie
  • The Courtyard Kitchen
  • Tin Roof Cafe
  • LaBodega
  • Opa's Delicacies
  • The Venue
  • Savoan Harvest

Cultiva Farm

Cultiva Farm started in 2017 as a miniature outdoor restaurant with a 6-item handwritten menu hanging precariously on top of the service kitchen, while serving food on haystacks in the middle of a farm. Today, it is undoubtedly one of Karen's most delectable restaurant experiences you could ever have, offering a wide-range of international cuisines prepared form fresh ingredients grown on site, organically prepared and diligently served.

Though their flavors are Ecuadorian-inspired, their ingredient-driven cuisine heirloom products cultivated throughout the ever-changing harvest seasons in Kenya: whether its Beef Tenderloin Wellington, Indonesian coconut crab soup or Nyanyuki trout served with a side of roasted sweetcorn salad and creamed spinach, the food will absolutely blow your mind! Cultiva Farm is so serious about environmental sustainability that they make their own naturally fermented and carbonated sodas using wild yeast captured from the environment, adding ginger, sugar and fruit pulp thus keeping off all kinds of industrial soda. The restaurant is a zero plastic environment and all drinks are served in glass.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd

Under The Swahili Tree

Set in a charming leafy garden on Marula Lane, Under the Swahili Tree is a family-friendly restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The eclectic menu is based on Swahili flavours and local produce with fresh and vibrant ingredients. The 5 feet long grill is lit daily, roasting locally reared meats in Swahili spices, alongside the large wood-fired pizza oven. Breakfast is served from 9am to 11am daily, including their inhouse specialities such as Home-smoked Red snapper Kedgeree with coconut rice and quail eggs and the Full Kenyan, which includes a goat croquette. Lunch service starts at 12pm with last dining orders taken at 9pm.

The restaurant deck seats 40, with additional tables in the lounge, bar and garden. Bookings are taken for private parties and events alongside outside catering and takeaways. Every Saturday and Sunday there is pizza making for children, pottery painting and free bouncy castle and face painting.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd

The Talisman

According to New York Times, The Talisman is one of the top restaurants in Kenya, and I couldn't agree more. The Talisman was once an old house originally occupied by a famous wildlife photographer but now is household name with one of the best cuisines in the Karen; an environmental friendly place with an organic garden and highly rated and awarded on International restaurant platforms. The interiors are decorated with Middle eastern drapers, artwork from local artists blended with Kitengela glass line the walls while the Pakistani carved wooden pillars and Afghan rugs complements a homely ambience.

The restaurant offers an eclectic menu with a choice of classic or seasonal dishes from around the globe, there’s option of more refined dishes as well as quick bites such as burgers, fish and chips or breaded chicken. The Talisman is well known for being eco-friendly restaurant complete with own garden which supplies their fresh produce including: carrots, beetroots as well as chicken and eggs.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd


Set in an old natural garden in the green heart of Karen, you will find Matteo's Restaurant and Pizzeria. The family’s homestead since 1975, the owners have repurposed this marvelous property; alongside the main building is a converted stable, with tables scattered on the lush green lawns studded with plants and bougainvillea while the courtyard hosts the ‘Pizza House’, containing a wood-fired pizza oven. The rustic feel of the bar and a patio combined with the elegance of the stylish furniture and a service with attention to detail makes this a bucket-list restaurant for many locals and tourists.

It's a common concurrence that Matteo's pizza is the best in town; a perfect balance between Neapolitan softness, with a slightly raised edge, and subtle Roman fragrance, but they don't stop at that; a wide selection of seafood dishes such as fritto misto, served with chips and vegetables, pasta, ravioli and other signature italian dishes dominate their menu. The marinated grilled lamb chops are some of the best you will have, offering an exquisite culinary confluence between Kenya and Italy.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd

SAAB Bakery & Cafe

Don't let the name fool you, Saab Bakery & Café is a fully-fledged halal restaurant offering an elegant space with a relaxing modern ambience. The kitchen serves produce in its optimal state, harnessing as much flavour as possible; the moment you place your order the chef will begin to prepare your meal from scratch. So, you can always be sure the food you order is served fresh.

Saab bakery & café offers a wide variety of food options from breakfast to pastas, pizzas to grilled steaks! Their menu is a blend of international cuisines with tonnes of surprises; their grilled Norwegian Salmon is a must try but so are the many other dishes whether Eastern, Asian or Western inspired. The Signature Saab pick and prepare breakfast enables the customer to create their own meal from a variety of choices of add on alongside a wide variety of preservatives-free freshly baked pastries. This is always a hit!

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd

The Courtyard Kitchen

You could easily pass by this the Utamaduni Artisans of Africa compound and have no idea of the delights that lay within, The Courtyard Kitchen is a quiet and calm restaurant surrounded by flourishing potted plants and simple, yet stylish furniture. The side of the restaurant opens up entirely so even inside you experience the open air with a heated pergola for warmth during the cold evenings, and serves thoughtful continental and seasonal dishes with heavily spotlighted brunch options such as the traditional shakshuka - a maghreb dish of poached eggs served with home baked naan bread and their signature Granola Parfait which entails layers of greek yoghurt, healthy granola, mixed berry toppings and wild natural honey.

Book the whole space for a special treat or grab one of the terrace tables for a memorable meal. Visit for a long lunch or an early supper but remember to leave time to browse the Utamaduni Crafts and take home some new decor to enhance your own space.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd

Tamarind Brasserie

Tamarind Brasserie Restaurant offers a garden set in the middle of a rare conservation forest in Karen. The restaurant features an outdoor garden perfect for eating out with family and friends. You can enjoy the extensive menu that has a taste of everything, from African to international cuisine. A gorgeous pond with splashing fountains and a little stream weaves its way through the terrace and seats down to the forest line. The restaurant has preserved a natural indigenous forest frequented by gazelles, impalas and birds like the peacocks, cranes among others.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd


Located at 1st of the Waterfront Mall, La Bodega is a restaurant like no other, offering panoramic views of the Waterfront canal which often hosts a beehive of activities during the weekends, the cozy authentic character of La Bodega makes an evening memorable. The menu is inspired by the founder's years of dining experience and culinary journeys throughout Spain, the interior is a restaurant+bar+lounge hybrid and the size is relatively small but intimate; so when you want to get decked up, wear your highest heels, listen to great music, and (most importantly) be treated to phenomenal people-watching then this is where you'd like to be. Might get a little loud later in the evenings, so if you’re with older people who complain about loud restaurants, go early.

The burgers are some of the best I have had and their curated of Spanish wine is superb.Because La Bodega also has a wide selection of children’s meals, it is a pleasure for families to eat together: order tapas, little gem salad, fillet pascado and more..

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd

Opa's Delicacies

One of Karen's best-kept-secret is Opa's Traditional Delicacies; an Idyllic outdoor restaurant stretched leisurely across a lawn behind the KSPCA and surrounded by trees and greenery which makes it a lovely dining spot for sunny days as well a great spot to socialize as it hosts the KSPCA Organic Farmers Market on Saturdays. Their German Traditional BBQ Cheese sausage is a huge hit, served with homemade chips or homemade bread! They do have a monthly special of whole Pig on the Spit served in homemade bread bun or with roast potato wedges and organic salads and that is always a sell out! Head over for a boozy lunch or dinner as you soak up the ever-buzzy atmosphere.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd

Tin Roof Cafe

Tin Roof Cafe's offer karenites a peaceful place to relax and refresh away from the humdrum of this fast expanding metropolis. They are open for breakfast and lunch and offer an impressive range of healthy salads, toasted sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and delicious sweets. They also have vegan and gluten-free options. If you are looking for a fresh, green enclave to sit, breathe and enjoy a hearty meal then its hard to beat. Their ingredients are locally-grown produce while their premises are decked out upcycled furniture. They have two locations: House of Treasures on Dagoretti Road and Lanag'ata Link Shops along Lang'ata South Road.

Location & Contacts: Ngong Rd. Opp Ngong Rd & Karen Rd