Jambiani is the perfect village in Zanzibar for a relaxed holiday. Away from the bustle and bustle of other more popular beaches in Zanzibar, Jambiani still maintains its rustic atmosphere, without any big resorts taking over the sea front. Located 5 kilometres South from the popular Paje, Jambiani is small and quiet, and not as windy.
I have spent three days in Jambiani at the New Teddy’s on the Beach, a chilled budget friendly hotel straight on the beach.
After almost three weeks spent in mainland Tanzania, I promised myself that Zanzibar will be relaxation only, which I accomplished successfully. However, as I am a foodie, I did venture outside the hotel to see what the restaurants in the village offered in terms of Tanzanian local cuisine. Not that the food at the hotel was not good, but because I wanted to try something else as well.
So, here is my list of Jambiani restaurants, tested during my trip to Zanzibar.
The Yellow Card Café
I loved the Yellow Card Café so much that I returned here twice for lunch. After such a delicious first meal I had to have their special seafood platter!
The Yellow Card Café Restaurant is a chilled small restaurant with a lovely terrace which is shaded. They claim they make the best coffee in the village and they are telling the truth, you must try their cappuccino!
One thing that it’s important to know about the Yellow Card Café is that they have WiFi and they take card payments. This is very valuable, as the nearest ATM from Jambiani is in Paje.
The service at the Yellow Card Café is very friendly, with staff that is very happy to chat with the customers. I got offered a free plate of homemade breadfruit chips as an appetizer. The menu at Yellow Card has predominantly fish dishes, with a few vegetarian options as well.
The first meal I ordered from the menu, which made me return the second day for lunch, was the grilled octopus in a coconut curry sauce with a side of spiced rice. As someone who had octopus before, I took a risk, as half of the times I order it in a restaurant it comes out rubbery and chewy. It is very easy to overcook octopus. However, the dish I received was absolutely perfect, the octopus was tender and flavoursome. The sauce was incredible as well, creamy and sweet, with a delicious coconut flavour. The price for this dish was 17,000 Tanzanian shillings (£6).
The follow day I returned for lunch, with a friend I’ve made at the hotel, to share the seafood platter. For 60,000 shillings (£21) the platter had everything: prawns, king prawns, calamari, tuna steaks, lobsters, octopus. It was served with a delicious garlic sauce on top, lime wedges, a plate of fries and a bowl of salad. Easy to say that none of us had dinner that night. Everything was perfectly cooked and tasted delicious.
I can’t recommend highly enough the Yellow Card Café, it is my number one choice of restaurants in Jambiani. If you are looking for the perfect place to eat in Jambiani specialised on seafood, for a decent price, then this is the winning restaurant.
Bahari Pizza Restaurant
After a fellow hotel guest recommended me Bahari Pizza, during my last day in Zanzibar I took a long walk on the beach and stopped there for lunch. The restaurant is big, but the tables have plenty of space between them, so it feels very airy. It is a covered restaurant, with air conditioned, which was a fantastic treat after walking through the 35 degrees heat in the direct sun. Even if there’s a roof above, the front of the restaurant is open, and you can have lovely views of the beach and the sea whilst you are enjoying the food.
They also have tables on the beach, which I can imagine are perfect for romantic dinners, but I chose to sit inside because… well, lunchtime and 35 degrees.
Bahari Pizza Restaurant is owned by Italians, but the staff is local, which is really nice. Whilst I was waiting for the food to arrive, I noticed one of the owners buying a fresh octopus directly from a fisherman, which again was another sign that this restaurant supports the locals. You can notice this practice more often if you take a day trip to Kizimkazi, the fishing village where most of the fish in Zanzibar comes from.
I ordered a cold Kilimanjaro beer and the seafood pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, fish, calamari and octopus. When it arrived, I noticed the authentic crust, which looked like it was baked in a proper pizza oven. Now, I haven’t been in the kitchen, so I don’t know if it was, but it did taste pretty good, crunchy on the edges and soft but not soggy in the middle. The topping was generous and delicious, with plenty of seafood in each mouthful. The pizza was quite big and I did struggle to finish it. I paid 19,000 Tanzanian shillings (£6.5) for the pizza and if I remember well, around 6,000 (£2) for the beer.
New Teddy’s on the Beach
New Teddy’s on the Beach has a lovely restaurant open to the guests outside of the hotel as well. The restaurant is outdoors but shaded, near the pool which all guests can use. On Sunday they even had a lovely live band event for which many locals joined as well.
I ate twice for dinner at New Teddy’s on the Beach, besides having breakfast every day which was included in my accommodation.
The first dish I ordered from the menu was the fish burger, which was just ok as the patty was on the dry side. However, they redeemed themselves with my second choice, the seafood pasta. I normally don’t order pasta when I travel, but being recommended by so many other guests, I went for it. And oh, it was not a disappointment. There was as much seafood as pasta on the plate, cooked in a delicious rich white sauce and topped with a generous amount of cheese. I savoured every single spoonful!
The portion size was just right, both for the pasta and the burger. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid for each dish, only that it was under 20,000 shillings (£7).
The bar at New Teddy’s on the beach also serves some pretty good cocktails, some of them being included in the daily happy hour. If you are sunbathing, you are allowed to take them with you to your beach chair.
Some Useful Information About Jambiani Restaurants:
How Much Does Food Cost in Zanzibar / Jambiani
If you have spent some time in mainland Tanzania, you will be shocked on how much the food costs in Zanzibar. If you could easily have a delicious meal for 10,000 shillings (£3.5) in Moshi for example, in Zanzibar for the same money you will maybe be able to order an appetizer.
What Food to Eat in Zanzibar:
Besides the traditional dishes from Tanzania about that I mentioned here, Zanzibar has a few of its own traditional dishes. Seafood dishes are a must when you visit Zanzibar, especially the grilled platters which contain a good selection of fish and shellfish.
When it comes to what other food to eat in Zanzibar, you must try the spiced rice. A lot of exotic spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric or pepper grow in Zanzibar. In fact, one of the most popular excursions in Zanzibar are to spice farms. You can find spiced rice on the menus of many local restaurants around the island. I highly recommend you trying it, as it is so fragrant and goes really well with dishes based on coconut.
Zanzibar pizza is another staple of the island, but you can only find it in the food street markets around Stone Town. It consists of a thin dough filled with veggies, meat, eggs and a cube of Happy Cow cheese, fried on a flat grill.
How Much Are Drinks in Zanzibar:
The same as the food, drinks in Zanzibar cost much more than in mainland Tanzania. For example, I used to buy Kilimanjaro beer for 3,000 (£1) shillings in Moshi. In Zanzibar, the same beer was sold for 8,000 (£3) shillings.
A cocktail in Zanzibar, at a cheap place, will start from 8,000 shillings during happy hour. Expect to pay between 12,000 (£4) – 15,000 (£5) shillings for a cocktail, in a beach bar.
Milkshakes and freshly squeezed fruit juices cost between 8,000 (£3) – 12,000 (£4) shillings.
Can You Drink Alcohol in Zanzibar:
Almost every restaurant and hotel in Zanzibar sells alcoholic drinks.
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