As a ‘photographer’ per se, I didn’t do my profession much justice on the photographing food front. You would believe that snapping pics of your food would be on the agenda when experience a new cuisine in a foreign country. Once Devoid of iPhones and Instagram, you soon realise that photographing your meal before consumption is actually rather lame. However, I now regret having suppressed my inner tourist and laid my camera to rest at the dinner table as I appear to lack an abundance of photographic evidence of the wonderful meals I dined upon (minus one photograph shown above!). In that case, words and a dash of imagination will have to suffice in recreating the culinary experiences of dining in Moshi as well as the odd peek at the reviews on TripAdvisor.
1. El Rancho
As my ultimate favourite, El Rancho ranked highest as my top restaurant. With a name like El Rancho, you may be expecting men in sombreros, nachos and opening and closing times revolving around the afternoon siesta. However, El Rancho in in fact an all Indian restaurant, with a large menu, large outdoor seating area and positioned in a secluded area on the outskirts of KCMC and Shanty Town.
When craving familiar hearty food, El Rancho’s menu ticked my desire for Chana Masala. As a much loved vegan Indian dish back home, I was ecstatic to find it on the menu and knew that it had to live up to my expectations. The large menu had meat, fish, paneer and purely vegetable dishes as well as a selection of Naan’s, Roti’s and rice sides. The vegetable samosas were a must-try served with a dessicated coconut creamy sauce and of course the all famous pili pili hot sauce. The coconut corn was another vegetarian dish that appeared to be a popular choice amongst my fellow Rafiki’s. Like the name, it’s a creamy, sweetcorn packed, densely coconut-ed dish that leaves bowls empty. To top the main dishes off, they were served in copper bowls kept warm by the traditional candle lit angeethi’s (food warmer). The plain Naan bread was a safe option as the Garlic Naan soon packed a kick. (Not a great choice on a Friday night before venturing to Glaciers nightclub!)
Favourite dishes: Chana Masala, Coconut Corn, Plain Naan, Veggie samosas
Average Wait Time: 45mins – 1 Hour
Prices: 10,000 – 13,000TSH per meal (main, side, drink)
2. Sikh Club
Following closely behind El Rancho, another restaurant with a spectacular take on Vegetarian Indian food was Sikh Club. It is situated in the southern end of Moshi town, close to the old Railway Station, perched next to a Hockey pitch. Sikh club is well known by expats for its delicious and cheap food however more so for its average wait of 2 hours and swarms of mosquitos. Luckily for them, the food is worth the wait and with large portions, you can take home your leftovers for another meal or share a dish to cut on costs. Sikh Club’s menu was very similiar to El Rancho’s and offered another successful Chana Masala and Coconut Corn. The mixed vegetable red gravy based curries were delicious along with crispy and doughy Naan Bread.
Favourite Dishes: Chana Masala, Vegetables in a red gravy sauce and Naan Bread
Average wait time: 1hour 30 – 2 hours
Prices: 7,000 – 10,000TSH per meal (main, side, drink)
3. Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge
Located across from Nakumat Supermarket, this hidden gem is a great place to re-energise with a coffee, refresh with a juice or have a spot of lunch. Enclosed in a secluded walled garden, the Kili Coffee Lounge is a haven for expats and offers a friendly and quick service. The menu offers THE best espresso milkshake according to my Rafiki’s, THE best watermelon juice in the whole of Moshi in my opinion and great coffee too. Serving a range of breakfast options, Mexican and Italian food, re-energizing juices, sandwiches and a large variety of of salads. Cashew Nuts seem to be sprinkled in abundance on most of their dishes (minus the pizzas of course), the Italian vegetable pasta was served as a double portion (tasty however) and the Quesadillas’ and guacamole used to go down a treat.
Favourite Dishes: Avocado and Cashew based salads, Watermelon Juice, Espresso milkshake and Mexican dishes
Average wait time: 25 – 45 minutes
Prices: 3,000 – 10,000TSH (drinks and snacks or lunch)
4. Fifi’s Restaurant
Fifi’s offers free Wifi, great background music and the best breakfasts in Moshi. From pancakes and french toast to fruit platters and Avo on toast, Fifi’s does Breakfast in style. The outdoor seating area is wonderful and is situated in a shady spot out of the Tanzanian mid-morning heat. The fruit platter, at a cheap 5,000TSH, (£1.74) offered large a variety of fresh fruits to share. The avocado and tomato on toast was a must-have alongside their selection of freshly made fruit juices. Pancakes and french toast with REAL maple syrup is for the more indulgent of palettes and the milkshakes were also a top hit.
Favourite Dishes: Avocado on toast, pancakes, french toast and anything fresh and fruity!
Average wait time: 25 – 40 mins
Prices: 5,000 – 9,000TSH (breakfast and a drink)
5. Milan’s Restaurant
The third and final Indian contender in my top places to eat, Milan’s is an all vegetarian place. Situated on a tiny side street off of the main double road running through Moshi Town, it is a hidden gem tucked away. Equipped with tacky decor, plastic chairs and out-dated menus, the place is more suited to locals than travelers. However, welcomed with open arms, the food was cheap, quick and unfortunately a little on the cold side when we went. Temperature aside, the food was full of flavour and a great place for sharing many dishes.
Favourite dishes: Palak Chana Masala, Coconut Corn, Coconut Pineapple rice, Veggie samosas and all Naan breads!
Average wait time: 35 – 50 mins
Prices: 5,000 – 7,000TSH per dish
6. Pamoja Cafe
Ran by a truly wonderful group of people close to my heart, all profits made went back into the running of the Pamoja Tunaweza Boys and Girls club (where I spent my two months volunteering) and the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre. A friendly atmosphere, lovely staff and great music, the Pamoja Cafe is a hot spot for volunteers and expats. Situated in the back streets of central Moshi, the Cafe offers a menu inspired by national favourites from Canada, England and other European countries. If you’re craving real home comfort food, Fish and Chips will fix it for the Brits, Poutine for the Canadians, Falafel and Hummus wraps for us Veggies and Vegans as well as huge fresh salads. They also offer PB and Jelly sandwiches in lunchboxes to take on safari which is a wonderful idea! They also make great cocktails, have drink offers too and serve biridi sana beers and cokes!
In addition, they do a great range of Tanzanian local dishes, the coconut lentil stew being THE best dish on the menu. At around 3,000 TSH (£1) a dish, throw in a chapati or some traditional Tanzanian rice and you’re onto a winner.
Favourite Dishes: Mixed Salads, Falafel Wrap, Guacamole Dips, Homemade Pili Pili (for the spicier ones amongst us) Veggie Burger and Sweet Potato Fries & Coconut Lentil Stew
Average wait time: 25 – 50 mins
Prices: 3,000 – 10,000 TSH
7. Indoitaliano & Ten 2 Ten
Both restaurants we believe are ran by the same team and serve Indian and Italian food side by side. Ten 2 Ten served cheese-less veggie pizza for the vegans among us, which was a must try from their wood fire pizza oven. From their Indian selection a tomato based okra dish was beautifully made and served also on traditional candle lit angeethi’s. Their Indian selection as a whole was scrumptious and they offered a range of 10 different pizzas to choose from with take away as an option for no extra charge.
Favourite dishes: Takeaway Cheese-less Veggie Pizza, Okra Curry
Average wait time: 45 – 1hr 10 mins
Prices: 8,000 – 14,000 TSH
8. Union Cafe
If you want that Starbucks feel in a foreign country then Union was the place. Another cafe full of Muzungu’s, Union did provide the best coffee by far. Union is well – known for it’s selection of fresh cakes and tarts and large bags of fresh coffee to buy to take back home. On the vegan and vegetarian front they weren’t too generous, as their menu mainly consisted of sandwiches and pizzas. However, they offered a hummus platter with an array of warm pittas, baba ganoush and garlic mayo to dip in. The pizzas did look tasty for cheese nibblers and they did offer avocado on toast also. Their espresso milkshakes were also legendary along with any coffee on the menu.
Favourite dishes: Hummus platter, Americano coffee
Average wait time: 25 – 50 mins
Prices: 5,000 – 12,000 TSH
Saving the most peculiar to last, with an accompanying visual documentation, Melinda’s was a restaurant at a lady’s house quite far out of Moshi Town itself. As I am writing, I believe Melinda herself has stopped on the restaurant side of things and moved overseas however a write up is a must. Melinda’s was situated about a 25 minute drive outside of Moshi and was a culture shock in itself. It felt as if you were in Florida at a fancy resort, swimming pool and sunbathers all around, alcohol and conversations flowing and the glorious sun shining from above. You could call it a pop up restaurant, only open fortnightly on a saturday and for the more western and wealthy expats in the area. Homegrown vegetables, freshly prepared salads and exquisite desserts, the food was worth the price tag. The raspberry juice was sweet and fruity and the raspberry seeded salad (minus the feta and goat’s cheese) was scrummy. The desserts were created to perfection; rich chocolate cakes, gooey brownies and cream filled sponges. The atmosphere combined with food made the whole day enjoyable with a dip in the pool and a mingle with friends to top it off.
Favourite dishes: The fruity salads, Mac’n’Cheese was popular as well as Antipasti Platters
Average wait time: 1 hour – 1hour 30
Prices: 15,000 – 25,000TSH (main and desert)
As you can tell, Moshi has mastered Indian food down to a T and any long waiting time is usually worth it. Eating out is affordable if you’re not a tight budget and even so the local food dishes are always incredible low in price. As it is clear to see, we spent more nights eating out than we did staying in, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. Live a little and try a bite of everything I’d say!