Nyama Choma in Nairobi – Where to Eat the Best Meat!

By Mark Wiens 66 Comments

It’s the type of meat you can remember for a lifetime, the type of meat that builds memories and creates lasting impressions. Naturally grazed, grass fed, freshly butchered, and supremely roasted.

It’s meat that you feel good about devouring, it consists of grains you can feel and an Africa you can taste! Nyama Choma is truly at the top of Kenyan food.

Kenyatta Market Nyama Choma Nairobi
Kenyatta Market Nyama Choma Nairobi

Nairobi style nyama choma is a dream come true for any carnivore.

What is Nyama Choma?

Nyama choma literally means “roasted meat.” Most of the time goat is the default genre, but beef (ng’ombe) and chicken (kuku) are also quite common and can be very delicious too.

Nyama Choma in Nairobi is usually eaten off a communal cutting board, as the main dish, with others dishes on the side.

Kenyatta Market

What do you eat with Nyama Choma?

Some prefer just straight meat and salt. Others like a bit of kachumbari (combination of chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro, sometimes avocado) or pili pili (chili). For starch, ugali (cornmeal starch) or greasy chips (French fries) are common.

Salt with Nyama Choma
Cutting Board with a Pile of Salt!
Nyama Choma Grill
Nyama Choma Grill

Nairobi has no shortage of Nyama Choma joints, some are clean meat roasting restaurants while others range from slightly dirty to grungy.  I myself am a huge connoisseur of all things roasted meat in Nairobi and don’t mind venturing to unsanitary conditions to locate the tastiest bites of protein.

Where to Eat Nyama Choma in Nairobi?

Kenyatta Market Nyama Choma

Head to Kenyatta Market during lunchtime hours. There is a strip of clean stalls set up at the entrance of the market, all serving the same basic menu.  Don’t struggle or get haggled by too many aggressive touts, just choose 1 stall, have a seat, and then order from “1” guy.

The goat and chicken are the two meats of choice at Kenyatta Market.  Some of the stalls serve kachumbari with an added touch of avocado, enriching the mixture and complementing the meat.

I recommend Kenyatta Market as some of the best Nyama Choma in Nairobi!

Nairobi Butchery
Butchery at Kenyatta Market
Kuku Choma Roasted Chicken
Chopping Meat fresh in front of you!

City Park Hawkers

Towards the back of 1 of Nairobi’s largest fresh vegetable markets is a haven of nyama choma. The makeshift roofing consists of plastic pieces and tin sheeting, imprisoning the clouds of meaty smoke that pour from the grills. The meat is hot and fresh and the ambiance is truly a Nairobi experience. Butchers will slice steaming pieces of meat for you to sample!

Roasted Goat in Kenya
Goat Nyama Choma

Nairobi West Alley Streets

Neighborhood areas throughout Nairobi are hot spots for mystery cuts of roasted meat. Laced with fat and covered with flies that also want a taste, these types of eateries can turn into great adventures.

Hint: If you stumble into this sort of nyama choma, choose some freshly hot roasted cuts!

Note: Only for the adventurers with strong stomachs!

Nairobi Street Meat
Street Meat in Nairobi West
Nairobi Nyama Choma
Street Meat!

These are a mere few suggestions out of countless nyama choma restaurants throughout the entire city of Nairobi.  Whatever neighborhood you are in, there is an opportunity for Kenyan grilled meat right around the corner.

Don’t miss out on eating Nyama Choma.

66 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Kirsten Lykke

    5 months ago

    Hi Keith
    If you are then going to Dar Es Salaam and this is what we are looking for, then where to ..? Do you have any good recommendations as to which area is best to stay in .. we are a family of 5 grown-ups (parents and our 3 children in their 20’ies and all been travelling and living in Nepal for many years so know when local food is the best). We like to stay nice and clean but which area is the ONE ?

    • lawrence

      5 months ago

      try ole polos


    1 year ago

    I lived in Nairobi, Kenya for almost 14 years. Nyama Choma was off the hook. In other terms, it was absolutely delicious. I always took my fiends and family members who visited me from other parts of the world.

  • Jill

    2 years ago

    I didn’t know Kenyatta Market had such beautiful pictures. The meat though, there’s nothing better than Kenyatta Market. Just fantastic.

  • Jo

    2 years ago

    We took your recommendation to go to Kenyatta Market and IT WAS HORRIBLE. Dirty, with flies, and generally unsavory. We were badgered by the vendors who followed us out in to the parking lot yelling at us to buy from them. It was really awful. We hopped on a bus and got out of there. I DO NOT recommend this market under any circumstances.

    • keith

      1 year ago

      Well that’s your take but that place has amazing nyama choma

  • David Wanjala

    2 years ago

    You should all try Roadhouse Grill in Caledonia, Kilimani. Ask for ”Maji Maji” which is tender roast beef served medium rare with sliced tomato and green chilli. To die for! The place is a a local pub for people who live in the neighbourhood, but is quickly becoming a tourist attraction site ( Not for game viewing though) :-))

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey David, wow that sounds amazing, thanks for the tip and recommendation!

      • Mohamed Duran

        4 months ago

        Right time thanks Mark… going to nairobi my way to puntland somalià can’t wait to have Nuala choma last time I had was 2010 my brief visit fron edmonton AB canada

  • Lordmwesh

    3 years ago

    Bavaria gardens in Westlands, behind Lions place has such good nyam chom. And Mlolongo township.

  • miriam mwende

    3 years ago

    Yeah kenyatta market is the best place ever for nyama choma. Im there always

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Ah good to hear that Miriam, such good nyama choma!

  • Caren

    4 years ago

    Those photos are really good they make me miss eating nyama choma
    Best place is Ole Polos and Masaai Lodge

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Caren, thank you for checking this article out. I hope to try Ole Polos in the future!

  • parrotalk

    7 years ago

    that nyamchom made me wonna cry so hot sizzling and yummy. I can even smell it.. the meat, the smoke!!!I could catch a flight right now…can’t wait to get back to Nairobi and go to my favourite nyama choma joint it’s called ‘ Studio’ and it’s in DagorrettiCorner centre. just on the outskirts.clean, grt friendly atmosphere too..
    There is a cluster of nyama choma joints here, so plenty of choice.
    for tourists always ask the locals.. and they will tell yu where the best is..remember for novices,it’s a social merry thing so go with a group if
    possible.. but even if alone this places are very sociable..there’s alway great local music as well…

  • The Dropout

    8 years ago

    Warm beer? Yuk!

  • bonnie

    8 years ago

    very interesting! Reminds me of the BBQ porks found in wet markets in hong kong, but the ones in africa seems more “wild”.

  • Mark Wiens

    8 years ago

    @Wandering Trader: Not better, but quite a bit different..and usually goat! To me the meat in Africa just tastes more natural and real…but the tender quality of the beef in Argentina is unbelievable!

    @Rebecca: Yah, just eat with your right hand…and that’s about it!

    @The Drpout: No problem! Thanks for checking it out. Yes for the not such big eaters of meat, the chicken is also amazing! A warm beer does go well with nyama choma!

    • Sarah

      6 years ago

      Well…..I’m Kenyan, left-handed and I honestly think its ok to use whichever hand you like to eat. Never had any problem.

      I’m also a huge nyam chom fan and while I agree that the choma is great at Kenyatta Market, until you taste the nyama choma in a place called Loitokitok which is roasted inside a pot, you ain’t never had good meat. It is the best i have ever tasted in kenya, hands down. I can take you there!!! 🙂

      • Mark Wiens

        6 years ago

        Ok, cool, thanks for your input Sarah. Wow, nyama choma roasted in a pot? That does sound good and if I’m in Nairobi next time I’ll be sure to contact you for more details on that! Thanks Sarah!

      • Juelz

        6 years ago

        Ole polos also has very good nyamchom…and Kikopey too but thats out of town.

        • Mark Wiens

          6 years ago

          Cool, thank you for sharing these other places Juelz! I hope to check them out next time I’m in Nairobi!

  • The Dropout

    8 years ago

    That looks like real man food. The only thing missing is beer!
    I’d love to try something as local as nyama choma, even though I’m not such a big meat eater. The chicken look tasty.
    Thanks for the interesting insight into African food.

    • Sarah

      6 years ago

      Have a Tusker Larger….they complement each other very very well.

  • Rebecca

    8 years ago

    Yuuuum! Any etiquette tips for eating? Such as sharing food, or a particular hand you should eat with? I know it’s not cool to eat with your left hand in some countries.

  • WanderingTrader

    8 years ago

    Bookmarked and on the list! kenyan steak any better than Argentine steak?

  • Mark Wiens

    8 years ago

    @Christy: Definitely is the best!

    @Kat: Yes, eaten in a similar fashion to lechon!

    Thanks for this comment Kat! I’m extremely happy to know that my posts on Africa can show a view of Africa that is not displayed in the normal media and news. Africa, just like many places in the world, has so so many unique and wonderful things to do, see, and explore.

    @Renee: Spot on! This is what I live for!

    @Laurel: Yah, French fries are very common in Kenya, usually just homemade rough cut potatoes!

    @Cathy: Thanks for the comment! The meat is rarely cooked with salt, but salt is just offered on the side, so it would work out wonderfully!

  • Cathy Sweeney

    8 years ago

    This carnivore loved the post and photos! You said it right at the top – “Naturally grazed, grass fed, freshly butchered, and supremely roasted.” — the best! I’m not a salt person though, so could probably do without a lot of that.

  • Laurel

    8 years ago

    The meat looks really tasty but I’m most surprised at eating it with french fries. Would never have thought it in Nairobi.

  • Renee

    8 years ago

    I would rather be drawn and quartered before giving up delicacies like this….Yum!

  • Kat

    8 years ago

    Reminds me of lechon hehe.

    Mark, your posts about Africa are truly eye-openers. I guess media has painted such a different view of the various countries there, it’s making most travelers hesitant to go. Sharing these things makes us realize that there’s so much more to it. Cheers!

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    8 years ago

    Isn’t street food the best?! I love all the photos! It’s making me hungry. 🙂

  • Mark Wiens

    8 years ago

    @Christy: Cool, Yes, the chicken is not so gamey tasting and quite tender!

    @John: Great, I bet there is some wonderful meat in Mongolia too!

    @Zablon: Yes, I agree. Where do you usually get your meat from in Nairobi West?

    @Inka: Haha, for sure! The meat here is immediate, unlike some restaurants in Kenya where you have to wait a few hours, the meat at these places is ready to be eaten!

    @Lorna: Awesome, thanks for the comment! You will like the naturally grazed meat in Africa. Hope you get a chance to travel there sometime!

    @Matt: Yes, with a bit of chili, amazing!

  • Matt Hope

    8 years ago

    mmm, straight meat and salt! I like it!

  • Lorna – the roamantics

    8 years ago

    omg mark i am so hungry now! i’m a total meat lover, but really do my best to know where my food is coming from and how responsibly and ethically it’s produced, so i LOVE how you start this post. and your photos as usual are completely tantalizing! you repeatedly reinforce my desire to travel all over africa and add to my wishlist- thanks 🙂

  • inka

    8 years ago

    I am one of those who can’t cook to save their life. Thankfully, all this delicious meat is already cooked by some one else and I would only have to eat it. My kind of place. Thanks for your comment on the Bursa silk and I’m glad to hear that you wear silk undies, so do I.

  • Zablon Mukuba

    8 years ago

    Nairobi west is the best place to eat meat seconded by Kenyatta Market

  • John in France

    8 years ago

    Finger looking good! I saw a program on Mongolian food yesterday and it wasn’t too disimilar. Mouth wateringly divine!

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    8 years ago

    I’m also a little squeamish about meat (I was a vegetarian for years), but the picture with the salt in it looks good! Great pictures. 🙂

  • Mark Wiens

    8 years ago

    @Linuist in Waiting:
    Yes, you do have to be a meat lover! Haha, come to think of it, I’m so used to eating Nyama Choma that I somewhat overlook the fact they are even wearing lab coats…so interested in the meat when I’m there.

    Full chickens are about $4, 1 KG of meat is about $5.

    • narges

      5 years ago

      thanks for really good website
      its very usefull for me
      i want to go to kenya in next month
      i am from iran and i am muslem and its important for me to know is their meat helal?or not?do you know about this?
      help me to enjoy this food in kenya
      best regards

    • Nancy

      2 years ago

      thank you for this post.i am a Kenyan and i agree nyamchom is very tasty and addictive

  • Linguist-in-Waiting

    8 years ago

    Honestly, too much meat makes me sick (it’s the smell of meat and internal organs; I almost puked when my family went to a Brazilian churrascaria) but that looks like one I’d like to try for the heck of it. Besides, where else could you get people in lab coats serving you? How much do you pay for a lunch in one of these stalls?