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  • Joanna

Chew on That

I have decided it is officially time to wean myself off of the fruits of the flour. I can already feel myself expanding in this heat, like a hearty biscuit in the oven. My knee limits my daily exercise and I've already done everything there is to do in this tiny town... so really, there is nothing left to do... but eat.

So, eating it shall be... and eating, it has been.


I had signed myself up to do another tour, through Guru Walk. It sounds really interesting, active and fun, all rolled into one pleasant afternoon. It was a bicycle ride through the Spice fields of Zanzibar.


Who wouldn't want to do that?


I signed up immediately... although I will admit, I wasn't too confident of my current cycling skills. Bring it on though! The guru and I made plans to meet at 9am the following day... at a bicycle rental shop.


Fair enough. Reasonable request... right?

Afterall, I needed a bike in order to do a bicycle tour.


Well, turns out, so did the guide!

He needed me to meet him at the bicycle rental shop to not only hire a bike for the day FOR ME, but also FOR HIM! It was too absurd for me to even attempt to comprehend. I was buying us both bikes for bike tour with a bicycling guide, without a bike.


What kind of a guide advertises a cycling excursion without any bicycles?

Zanzibar takes entrepreneurship to a whole new level. The sky's the limit.


I may start helicopter tours when I get home.


So eating my way through Stonetown continued...

You're probably wondering "How the hell did you manage to hit up so many food & beverage locations in one week?"


The answer is simple... I'm really good at eating... and sitting.


Shaba Boutique Hotel Breakfast

Green Garden Lounge

Zanzibar Coffee House

Café Africa

Mercury's Bar

Cape Town Fish Market

 

Shaba Boutique

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I will admit it... I truly loved my little boutique hotel, though it wasn't really all that boutique at all. The true character and colour of it made it boutique enough for me, and the staff were all smiles and friendliness.


Breakfast was enjoyable, but sadly, managed to set me off on the wrong foot every day, with its abundance of deep fried foods and flour products. Kachori became my new favourite and I could feast on these delightful, zesty little potato balls every day!

I'm ashamed to admit this, but I only found out that I could order a bowl of yoghurt from the kitchen on my VERY final morning. So here I was, stuffing myself with carbs, inching myself out of the rickety old chair more & more as the days passed, when I could have been a beacon of health... an absolute perfect picture of morning wellness.


Deeply disappointed.


Service: A1. Top notch. Best staff ever.

Food: Damn carbohydrates ruining my life.

Atmosphere: Boutique?

Advice: Ask for the yoghurt!

 

Green Garden Lounge

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Everything I read online kept telling me I MUST try Zanzibar pizza. The advice only served to confuse me. Are these pizza-eating connoisseurs referring to the regular, traditional Italian-style pizza with a certain Zanzibar twist I might have missed... OR are they referring to the concoction I experienced in Forodhani Park?


I have NO idea... but in my defence, I've officially tried them both.


A rain storm had rolled in as I walked into the Green Garden, so it was the perfect place and opportunity to take refuge. It was a courtyard enclosure, much like a lot of the other restaurants scattered around the town. I ordered the vegetarian (without mushrooms) and it was... meh.


It was pizza. Kinda boring, if I'm telling the truth.


For quite some time I was the only one there, enjoying the tranquility and my solitude... until the server & her boyfriend/husband decided to sit at the table directly beside me and chitter chatter the afternoon away.


Food: So-so... Nothing worth raving about and nothing worth sending back. Just regular pizza. I didn't particularly notice anything "Zanzibar twisty" about it.

Atmosphere: A very peaceful oasis with a garden or balcony dining option.

Advice: Maybe give the pizza a miss...

 

Zanzibar Coffee House

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This place was, by far, my FAVOURITE hangout in Stonetown.

I went twice.


This place is a magical boutique (there's that word again!) hotel with an antique-style, hip rooftop area, perfect for enjoying a delicious lunchtime snack and a freshly roasted Vanilla latte. It was definitely a bit of a slug to get to the top, especially with my knee coming down, but the Stonetown view from this 'rare jewel' rooftop was well worth it.

Service: ADORED this enchanting little place. The staff were friendly and abnormally quick! You didn't wait long for anything.

Food: Terrific. I had the Hummus & Falafel pita AND the Chicken pesto sandwich. Both thumbs up... but the hummus is definitely worth the bigger thumb.

Atmosphere: Their website claims "our antique rooftop is like a crown on top of the building." True. Very true. Comfy chairs... free WIFI... it's got the right stuff, baby.

Advice: Keep going... ALL the way to the top!

 

Café Africa

🌟🌟🌟🌟

When I reached Café Africa, it didn't seem like much to me. It was a very tiny coffee shop/gift shop with not a whole lot to offer on their food menu. I couldn't really understand WHY it would be recommended.

It took me quite awhile to figure out that most places end up on some sort of recommended list, depending on where you look, becuase there are only so many places in Stonetown. Every tourist tends to fancy one over the other!


A lot of the menu offerings are quite similar too, yet some of the dining establishments really manage to step up their game when it comes to unique and tantalizing cuisine.


I sat here, in this chic little emporium, enjoying my big iced tea with lemon, gazing around at all the handmade little artisan gifts... and then it dawned on me...


This wasn't just a shop!


It was a non-profit, self-sufficient organization that raises money for various African projects. Education activities, vocational training, humanitarian aid, youth challenges and social entrepreneurship!


Pretty cool, eh? Go, Café Africa, go!


Advice: Go support them!

 

Mercury's Bar

🌟🌟

Even though I only stopped in for a very quick glass of wine and a late afternoon seascape, I had to make mention of Mercury's Bar.

Obviously a tribute to the late Freddy Mercury, who was born in Zanzibar... this was the ONLY real Bar & Grill I have come across so far. Seriously. With Stonetown being predominantly Muslim, there are no bars, which is why this place was very unique. Not only are there no bars, there is absolutely no alcohol for sale.


As soon as you get off the ferry and walk a few feet, there it is! Perfect place to enjoy a cold one, while you're awaiting transportation. Just a simple hangout.


The guy at the front entrance was a little bit rude to me when I first made the inquiry about having a tasty beverage. He was obviously the guard of the gate, allowing entrance to only those who showed promise of menu purchase, and not afternoon lushes such as myself. But regardless, he had a bit of an obligation to allow me in. He even went so far as to lead me up to the bar, show me to the bar stool he had assigned me and introduce me to the bartender, who was all smiles and friendliness.


Service: Get past the front door and everything is fabulous.

Atmosphere: Very Freddy Mercury, minus the wild, outrageous and flamboyant,

Advice: Pretend you're interested in dining.

 

Cape Town Fish Market

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Definitely my kind of fish market.

No putrid odor.

No dead fish.

No blood & guts.

No gag reflexes.

In case anyone didn't know, I am a sucker for seafood, seascapes... and sushi! True story.


Daily, I kick myself for having such exquisite taste... and it's definitely a hurdle I am trying to conquer. The Cape Town Fish Market restaurant was exactly what I was looking for in a chic culinary tour. This place was vibrant and pure posh... bringing a feast of flavours alongside spectacular seascapes. It was much too extravagent for my current financial state, so I settled on a very small sushi appetizer and a bottle of local cider, which tasted a little bit more like sparkling apple juice than cider!



Service: A little overbearing, actually. At one point, I had 3 staff members flocked around me, as if they were either confused as to who's table I was... or upset that someone had swooped in and grabbed me up.

Atmosphere: Beautiful!

Advice: Bring money. Lots of it.

 

There were a few other rooftop restaurants & garden courtyards I managed to find refunge to sit and enjoy a lovely coffee or a glass of wine... mentions...

Honourable mentions - Café Africano, Beach House, Jaws Restaurant, The Swahili House


OH MY GOD... I AM FINALLY LEAVING STONETOWN TODAY AND I MAY NEVER EAT AGAIN...


Let the cleansing begin...




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