I’ve been to Zanzibar quite a few times now, and everytime I get off the ferry or get off the plan, I head straight to Lukmaan restaurant for lunch. In my opinion, they serve some of the best local Zanzibar food available. The restaurant has changed a number of times, as in, before they had a menu where you sat down, ordered, and then your food was delivered to your table. But this latest time when I went to Lukmaan, they had arranged the restaurant more of a buffet style, but where you pointed to the dishes you want and the server will dish it. You then pay for your meal and then find a seat. There’s both indoor and a few tables outdoors as well along the street.
Lukmaan restaurant serves excellent local Zanzibari food. There’s always a mouthwatering selection of curries available, many of them being seafood and coconut milk based. Zanzibari food is an amazing blend of local African, Indian, and Arab flavors all combined into tasty flavorsome cuisine. My eyes fell directly onto the orange octopus curry. I also ordered a bowl of African style beans, and a plate of both pilau rice and biryani rice with fish.
Pilau rice is a spiced rice that’s very common to eat in Zanzibar. Biryani is also a spiced rice, but it’s more of a sweet spice and it’s paired with a separately cooked sauce that’s packed with spices and oil. Both are good, but biryani is really a meal in and of itself, while pilau tastes good with curries, such as the octopus curry that I ordered.
Just as I had remembered from my previous visit to Stone Town, Zanzibar, Lukmaan restaurant delivered some seriously tasty local food. Both the pilau and the fish biryani were excellent, but the true winner of this meal was the octopus curry. First of all, the octopus was wonderfully tender. I almost couldn’t believe how tender it was, it almost had the consistency of a chicken breast, but a bit more chewy as octopus should be. The curry sauce was a blend of coconut milk, spices, and a squeeze of lime juice to sour things up. Bites of the octopus curry along with the spice riddled pilau rice was marvelous. Lukmaan restaurant, in my opinion, is one of the best restaurants in Zanzibar!
Open hours: about 7 am – 9 pm daily, lunch is a great time to go
Prices: Most meals cost around 5,000 TZS ($3) per person, but we ate a lot and had a bottle of water as well and our bill came to 12,000 TZS ($7.26).
How to get there: Just like in all of Stone Town, getting there is the confusing part. Sometimes you’ve got to walk around in circles, asking locals along the way, until you get there. The restaurant is located along New Mkunazini Road, just outside of the Stone Town lanes, and right behind the Anglican Cathedral and former slave chamber.
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