If you’re avidly meal planning your vegan plates (and how many animal-friendly snacks to cram into your case) before hopping on a plane to Zanzibar, you’re not wrong to do so. Known as the Spice Island, the African country is brimming with flavor packed dishes and locally sourced ingredients. But like many islands and beach destinations, not all of them are vegan friendly. And the fresh seafood lined up along the shores remains one of the best attractions in Zanzibar.
That’s all very well for your carnivorous crew. But where does that leave you as the animal loving eater? We’re all for the country’s hakuna matata mantra (it means no worries). But if you’re asked to compromise your animal-loving morals or choose between a different variation of fries, it’s bound to take its toll. Fortunately for you, we’ve dug up all the best vegan-friendly menus on the island. And whilst some of them aren’t strictly vegan, we can testify that the vegan options are just as good (and if not better) than the hearty meat dishes.
Give it a day or two and your meat-eating companions may even be tempted to sub out fresh crayfish for soy zen noodles or superfood yogi platters. Even if they don’t, they certainly won’t pity your plant-powered plate. And that’s saying a lot for many obdurate omnivores—no Dad, veggies aren’t just a side.
The 10 best vegan-friendly restaurants in Zanzibar
- Badolina Secret Garden
- Mr Kahawa
- Sativa Cafe
- The Plants
- Ulu Dos Tres Taco
- Jambiani Street Food
- Heart and Soul Cafe
- Passion and Thyme
- Harbour Kitchen
Badolina Secret Garden
Tucked away behind the most picturesque beach on the island, this yogi haven is a secret worth sharing. As one of the best places to eat in Zanzibar, the clean, earthy interior brings Balinese zen to the middle of Africa. While the superfood plates are inspired by vegan cuisine around the world.
You’ll find Badolina Secret Garden packed with man buns, yoga mats and water bottles after the daily crew’s morning sun salutations. The breakfast buffet nourishes with fruit platters and avo toasts. While the Greek inspired salad bowl, Yalla Yalla tahini falafels and the Yogi platter replenish the body and soul at any time of the day. Make sure to get there for the live music. It’s the perfect end to an activity-filled day.
Best for: Discovering hidden gems.
Address: Nungwi, 09255, Tanzania Opening hours and days:Mon-Sun: 11am-10:30pm Price range: $$ Website: www.badolinazanzibar.com/
The only problem with this one is that once you go there, it’s difficult to try anywhere else. Named after the Swahili translation for coffee, the vegan-friendly cafe serves the best cuppa on the island. And yes, you won’t have a problem acquiring plant-based milk alternatives.
But don’t let the name fool you, Mr Kahawa is much more than just a coffee shop. The cutting edge eatery is just as good for lunch or dinner. We highly recommend any of their salads, served with toasted homemade bread, as well as their vegan pastas or curries. Washed down with a fresh juice or a glass of wine, there’s no better way to enjoy the panoramic ocean view.
Best for: Come for lunch, stay for dinner.
Address: Paje Beach, Paje, Tanzania Opening hours and days:Mon-Sun: 8am-9pm Price range: $$ Website: www.mrkahawa.com/restaurant-coffee/
If Bob Marley was in Zanzibar, this is where you’d find him. The chilled out eatery manifests that one love mood. And with a yoga studio just above the cafe, you’ll meet plenty of like-minded animal lovers with an appreciation for good food.
Sativa Cafe knows that vegans prefer their food in bowl format so they’ve engineered their menu accordingly. The breakfast bowls are served in a coconut shell and are packed with fruit, homemade granola and chia seeds. For lunch, you can expect to see things like sweet potato salad with hummus, cashews, lime and herbs. And their signature guacamole nachos are always a popular choice.
Best for: Three loves—food, animals and others.
Address: Unnamed Road, Paje, Tanzania Opening hours and days:Mon-Sun: 7:30am-10:30pm Price range: $ Website: www.instagram.com/sativacafezanzibar/
Renowned for its kitesurfing schools and yoga programmes, Paje attracts a certain type of person—one that rarely (or never) eats meat. Fortunately, the vegan-village accommodates in abundance with many of the best vegan restaurants in Zanzibar.
The Plants is amongst them and is one of our personal favorites. Featuring Asian or Indian-inspired plates, the plant-powered menu defies an expectation for lackluster vegan cuisine. From carrot ginger and pho soups to egg fried rice and a less-conventional mango fried rice, to coconut chana daal and chili sin carne. Whatever you choose, you’ll be coming back for more. That’s a promise.
Best for: Feeding hungry kitesurfers with plant-powered plates.
Address: Paje Zanzibar TZ, 0000, Tanzania Opening hours and days:Mon-Sun: 7:30am-10pm Price range: $ Website: www.facebook.com/theplantspaje
Ulu Dos Tres Taco
If you thought vegan tacos were off the card for your trip to Zanzibar, we’re about to make your day. Not only does this Mexican hotspot in the middle of Africa serve vegan tacos, it serves some of the best we’ve tasted.
Located in Paje, Ulo Dos Tres Taco is an eco chic vibrant pink hub for vegan wanderlusters in search of a reprieve from salads and smoothie bowls. With a range of tacos, burritos and burrito bowls on the menu, they serve all our favorite Mexican fillings and salsas but without the meat. We especially love the smoked vegan meat pico de gallo and vegan sour cream packed into a hearty burrito. It’s the epitome of soul-food.
Best for: Taco Tuesdays—everyday.
Address: PGPM+7P, Paje, Tanzania Opening hours and days: Thurs-Sat: 11:30am-6pm Fri: closed Price range: $$ Website: www.facebook.com/uludostrespaje
Jambiani Street Food
Jambiani Street Food is a true passion project. And one that we’re already rejoicing over. Located in the heart of Jambiani, not far from Paje, the inspired vegan menu brings to life East-African cuisine whilst protecting the planet.
Straight from the garden to the plate, Jambiani Street Food uses locally grown ingredients. It’s an opportunity for vegans to try the local food without compromising their morals. You’ll be amazed how much flavor can be packed into a slow-cooked stew or curry without the added meat. And while the food is unfussy, the plates are presented beautifully. This experience alone is worth the trip to Jambiani. Trust us.
Best for: When vegan food becomes a planet-saving passion project.
Address: Jambiani Kibigija Jambiani, Zanzibar, Jambiani, Tanzania Opening hours and days: Tues-Sat: 7am-11pm Sun: 9am-10pm Mon: closed Price range: $ Website: www.jambianistreetfood.com/
Heart and Soul Cafe
This cafe puts their heart and soul into serving you mouthwatering, plant-powered plates. And they deliver on every front. From the rustic interior to the streetside setting, the unpretentious restaurant provides a refreshingly simple take on grabbing a bite to eat. But don’t be deceived by the minimalist decor; every dish packs a punch with distinctive flavors, spiced to perfection.
Heart and Soul Cafe serves up a variety of vegan favorites. Amongst our top picks are the falafel salad and vegetable noodles. The buddha bowls and burritos are equally delicious. And there’s nothing better than a fresh juice to tackle the sweltering heat. In fact, you can’t go wrong with any order. And chances are you’ll be back to sample the ones you missed anyway.
Best for: Putting your heart and soul into it.
Address: 778X+M7, Nungwi, Tanzania Opening hours and days: Mon-Sun: 7am-10:30pm Price range: $ Website: www.happycow.net/reviews/heart-soul-cafe-zanzibar
Passion and Thyme
We’re passionate about finding the best places to eat on our eco vacations. Just as we’re sure you are about protecting your furry friends. This French eatery hits the sweet spot—emphasis on sweet. You can’t pop in without leaving with one of their delectable pastries.
While Passion and Thyme isn’t strictly vegan, the low key cafe caters for vegans with some of the most scrumptious veggie-packed sandwiches. Think of Tahina based roast vegetables, onion spread and fresh crudites crammed into homemade ciabatta. Nothing goes down better after endless hours in the heat on foot. Except if you add a green juice to that order.
Best for: Making time to feed your passion (for food).
Address: Nungwi TZ, 1788, Tanzania Opening hours and days: Mon-Sun: 9am-9pm Price range: $$ Website: www.instagram.com/passionandthyme/
As one of the best Indian restaurants on the island, Harbour Kitchen is a must-visit for all curry enthusiasts, whether you’re vegan or not. The vibrant, Eastern-inspired decor creates a welcoming, homely atmosphere; making it the perfect space to debrief on your day in Stone Town.
And whilst you reprieve from an action packed day, the Harbour Kitchen menu takes you on a journey. Expect all the traditional Indian dishes like samosas, daal, sambar and briyani. While hot naans and pappadums are ready to soak up the perfectly balanced sauces. Don’t forget the sambal and chutneys; this local hotspot is turning up the heat.
Best for: It’s about to get hot in here.
Address: Soko Muhogo St, Zanzibar, Tanzania Opening hours and days: Mon-Sun: 9am-10pm Price range: $$ Website: www.harbourkitchen.co.tz
For the days where you just feel like a takeaway on the beach, Yeoyum’s boxes are out of this world. Located in Paje, the Hawaian inspired boxes are packed with fresh ingredients like coconut rice, mango, avo, slaw, radish and a ginger and lime salsa. From there, you can choose your special ingredient. And whilst the halloumi nuggets, Korean fried chicken and shrimp are great options for non-vegans, the sesame sticky cauliflower is a favorite amongst vegans and non-vegans alike.
Yeoyum also has some of the best snacks such as their signature sesame sticky cauliflower with peanuts and a vegan sauce of choice. Whilst the loaded fries promise to be a crowd pleaser when hunger levels run high.
Best for: Taking out your hunger on a big box of Hawaiian goodness.
Address: Paje, Zanzibar, Tanzania Opening hours and days: Mon-Sun: 11am-8pm Price range: $$ Website: www.instagram.com/yeoyum
Frequently asked questions about the best vegan restaurants in Zanzibar
Known as Spice Island, Zanzibar’s dishes are packed with flavor. And whilst fine dining restaurants in Zanzibar are less common, you can expect hearty plates loaded with some of the freshest seafood and local ingredients. If you’re a vegan traveling the island, we’ve also got you covered with our list of the best vegan-friendly restaurants in Zanzibar—Bodalina Secret Garden is top of the list.
Locals eat a lot of ugali, rice, chapati and beans. But the best seafood restaurants in Zanzibar are what really attract the tourists. You can expect to dine on freshly caught tuna, prawns and crayfish wherever you are. And if you’re a vegan traveling the island, you’ll be pleased to know that many of our favorite restaurants serve standout vegan options too.
Although you should respect the Muslim culture and drink discreetly (especcially during Ramadan), Zanzibar is not alcohol free. Most popular restaurants and resorts serve alcohol on the menu. But you would come across a few that don’t. There are also alcohol stores in the main villages like Nungwi, Paje and Kendwa.
Zanzibar is known for its powder white sands and turquoise water. It also has some of the best snorkeling and diving spots, with turtles and dolphins being a highlight. Windier areas such as Paje are renowned for their kitesurfing schools. And when it comes to food, Zanzibar is known for its fresh seafood and island spices.