One of the things that impressed me the most at Zawadi Hotel was the food. While travelling through Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania, we’d enjoyed a fantastic variety of food – from Nyama Choma in Nairobi and farm-to-table cooking in Tanzania to luxury dining on safari. However we also found that a lot of East African cooking was quite heavy and if I’m honest, a bit too salty.
But the food and dining at Zawadi was indulgent and flavoursome without being too heavy. It was colourful and vibrant and uber stylish without being overly fussy.
We liked it so much, that when our taxi arrived to pick us up on our last day, we were still tucking into one of their delicious desserts. Yep, we quite liked this place…
Here’s what you can expect to fill your tummy with if you stay at this beautiful hotel.
Food & Drink at Zawadi Hotel, Zanzibar
Dining at Zawadi: The setting
The daytime dining at Zawadi takes place in their open-air dining room, which has fantastic ocean views. The wicker furnishings and Swahili style roof add to the laid-back but sophisticated setting. And the waiting staff here – including Vuai, the restaurant manager – were always really cheery, which really added to our experience. They have set times for breakfast and lunch, however guests can turn up at whatever time they like during these hours.
Our evening meals at Zawadi took part in the more formal dining area. I say more formal, but it was still super relaxed and open-air, allowing the sea breeze to gently float through.
Each night, a member of the team delivered a tray of canopés and cocktails to our ‘Papa’ room. It was such a lovely touch ahead of our evening meal, even if the cocktails were cheek-achingly strong!
After canopés, guests can pop over to the evening bar and lounge area – another open-air space with comfy chairs. But most nights, we made a beeline straight for dinner. With just five other couples staying here, it has such a relaxed and peaceful vibe and was all very personalised. Evelyne, the manager, and fellow restaurant staff always popped by to chat to guests and help them plan their next day’s activities.
One night we even dined with another couple who were on their honeymoon which was lovely.
We never managed to eat everything on the breakfast menu and we still ate like kings during our stay. Think freshly squeezed juices, cereals and yoghurts…
and baskets packed with a selection of bread, for just the two of us.
We could also order a selection of dishes from the menu including eggs, American style pancakes, French toast with cinnamon sugar or grated coconut (delicious)…
The English brekkie that BC had wasn’t bad…
but you don’t come to Zanzibar for eggs and bacon.
You come to Zanzibar for (my favourite bit) the plates of delicious ripe tropical fruits…
Add a squeeze of lime and it tastes like heaven.
Lunches at Zawadi were perfectly balanced between indulgent and light and I really couldn’t fault the variety and choice of dishes. Each day they offered a different menu of two or three starters, mains and desserts, The salads were the perfect portion size…
…the tempura prawns were crunchy and appetising.
The steaks were very nicely cooked…
And the fish curry with chapatis was out of this world. Don’t tell anyone but a guest we met – who was Malaysian – said it was better than his own mum’s home-cooked curries. And apparently, that’s saying something!
Evening dining at Zawadi took on a slightly more elaborate, fine-dining approach. The evening meals were indulgent, but not too rich. And we enjoyed a series of delicious palate cleansers and soups in between courses.
The presentation on the whole, was pretty good and the wine selection was very good.
I particularly enjoyed their fish dishes, such as lobster three ways…
….and their very elegant desserts.
The tone is quite hushed but not uncomfortably so. As I explained in my last post on Zawadi, the hotel is in its infancy. And as it’s so bespoke, I guess the experience you have here depends on what you make of it, as well as the interaction you have with other guests.
We found that most couples retreated to their rooms after dinner. But you could easily sit and enjoy a couple of post-dinner cocktails or night caps in one of the lounge areas if you wished.
Food is such an important part of a hotel experience for me. Especially when it’s all-inclusive and you are eating all of your meals onsite. And the dining at Zawadi was genuinely some of the most delicious we’d tasted on our trip so far. We ended our days sated on sunshine, wine and top notch food. Good job our room was in plodding distance from the restaurant then.
I told you this place was like paradise.