4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Kenya for Carnivores

An African dining experience.

The (in)famous Carnivore restaurant in Kenya's capital... a vegetarian's nightmare.
The (in)famous Carnivore restaurant in Kenya's capital... a vegetarian's nightmare.

Although a bit out of your way for nightly dinner reservations, if you happen to be in Nairobi, Kenya, this restaurant is not to be missed.

In fact, it’s hard to avoid, as it seems the first question every cab driver in the city asks is, “Have you been to the Carnivore?”

Sponsored
Sponsored

The eating establishment is really more a tourist trap than anything else, with food as the central attraction. It’s about 15 minutes from midtown or 20 minutes from the international airport.

Should you choose to go by taxi, the real challenge may be maintaining an appetite after the harrowing ride. I've ridden in taxis in New York, Europe and throughout Latin America and have never seen such a blatant disregard for traffic lights, road signs or pedestrians.

Once off the main road, you negotiate a few turns through an industrial park before being stopped at the Carnivore gate. There was a certain similarity to pulling up to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park – the exterior displays lots of thatch, with tribal shields a-plenty.

The structure is mostly open-air, with art galleries and curio shops on each side. A long entrance lined with tropical plants ends at the hostess stand, which is placed right in front of a grandiose circular fire pit.

For us meat eaters, the aroma is second to none. Sweating chefs endlessly braise and turn the cooking meat. The flames jump and lick at their target as the juices drip into the pit.

To best describe the Carnivore restaurant, think Brazilian BBQ on steroids. Its motto, “Beast of a Feast,” may be the best definition. The menu boasts exotic choices like crocodile, ostrich and camel. For the less adventurous diner, it offers the standard red and white meat dishes – leg of lamb, beef ribs, chicken, etc. (My own favorite was oxen testes.)

In spite of the fact that the Kenya Wildlife Service animal orphanage sits just five minutes down the road, an apology is prominently placed at the bottom of the menu. It laments the fact that the Kenyan government has outlawed real game meet. A fact that the eatery is strongly in disfavor of, and one it is hopeful will soon be overturned.

Once seated, roaming waiters circle the restaurant carrying huge spits of sizzling meat. All are outfitted with a smile and a carving knife so large and sharp it could easily be mistaken for a machete. A Lazy Susan of sauces sits in the middle of the table, and each server instructs which flavor goes best with their particular offering. For drinks, the attached Simba Salon offers a full bar menu. To not have a Tusker beer in Kenya is like visiting Mexico and not having a Corona.

The place is cheesy, politically incorrect and a very bad caricature of what Kenya really is. That being said, it is extremely entertaining, has excellent food and makes for a great memory.

If you do get a chance to visit, remember to bring a sense of adventure and an appetite before bucking up to the table.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

UCSD hands slapped for not returning Indian relics

Juan Vargas staffers, Darrell Issa treated by Middle East lobbyists
Next Article

San Diegans who stay on the I-5

Stories Tim Brookes wrote for the Reader
The (in)famous Carnivore restaurant in Kenya's capital... a vegetarian's nightmare.
The (in)famous Carnivore restaurant in Kenya's capital... a vegetarian's nightmare.

Although a bit out of your way for nightly dinner reservations, if you happen to be in Nairobi, Kenya, this restaurant is not to be missed.

In fact, it’s hard to avoid, as it seems the first question every cab driver in the city asks is, “Have you been to the Carnivore?”

Sponsored
Sponsored

The eating establishment is really more a tourist trap than anything else, with food as the central attraction. It’s about 15 minutes from midtown or 20 minutes from the international airport.

Should you choose to go by taxi, the real challenge may be maintaining an appetite after the harrowing ride. I've ridden in taxis in New York, Europe and throughout Latin America and have never seen such a blatant disregard for traffic lights, road signs or pedestrians.

Once off the main road, you negotiate a few turns through an industrial park before being stopped at the Carnivore gate. There was a certain similarity to pulling up to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park – the exterior displays lots of thatch, with tribal shields a-plenty.

The structure is mostly open-air, with art galleries and curio shops on each side. A long entrance lined with tropical plants ends at the hostess stand, which is placed right in front of a grandiose circular fire pit.

For us meat eaters, the aroma is second to none. Sweating chefs endlessly braise and turn the cooking meat. The flames jump and lick at their target as the juices drip into the pit.

To best describe the Carnivore restaurant, think Brazilian BBQ on steroids. Its motto, “Beast of a Feast,” may be the best definition. The menu boasts exotic choices like crocodile, ostrich and camel. For the less adventurous diner, it offers the standard red and white meat dishes – leg of lamb, beef ribs, chicken, etc. (My own favorite was oxen testes.)

In spite of the fact that the Kenya Wildlife Service animal orphanage sits just five minutes down the road, an apology is prominently placed at the bottom of the menu. It laments the fact that the Kenyan government has outlawed real game meet. A fact that the eatery is strongly in disfavor of, and one it is hopeful will soon be overturned.

Once seated, roaming waiters circle the restaurant carrying huge spits of sizzling meat. All are outfitted with a smile and a carving knife so large and sharp it could easily be mistaken for a machete. A Lazy Susan of sauces sits in the middle of the table, and each server instructs which flavor goes best with their particular offering. For drinks, the attached Simba Salon offers a full bar menu. To not have a Tusker beer in Kenya is like visiting Mexico and not having a Corona.

The place is cheesy, politically incorrect and a very bad caricature of what Kenya really is. That being said, it is extremely entertaining, has excellent food and makes for a great memory.

If you do get a chance to visit, remember to bring a sense of adventure and an appetite before bucking up to the table.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The wildest things on the Funky Fries & Burgers menu

Freak shakes are what might result if an ice cream truck crashed into a candy store
Next Article

Brenda Spencer used a .22

If Encinitas won't protect trees, who will?
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close