Aiming to revive the coffee house tradition, Jahazi, Ndia Kuu, Old Town (tel. 072/383-5492; www.jahazicoffeehouse.com), is a cozy space in Old Town. Stylishly furnished, with low seating and elegant decor that celebrates the local history, it's a great place to stop off for delicious homemade Swahili snacks or to try a cup of invigorating ginger-infused Swahili coffee. Also served are set lunch and dinner menus (Ksh800-Ksh1,500) with typical Swahili dishes and snacks, freshly squeezed juices, coconut milk, samosas, kebabs, Swahili-style prawns, biriyani, tandoori-baked bread, chapatis, and traditional puddings. Less intimate and without Jahazi's good looks is Swahililand, Ndia Kuu Road (tel. 072/344-0666; email@example.com; daily 8am-5:30pm), a restaurant that opened on the ground floor of Leven House, one of the most important historic buildings in Old Town. Although I don't think it's quite matured into the full-fledged restaurant it wants to be, it does benefit from a pleasant location next to the water. Like Jahazi, it's open for all-day dining and snacking, but if you want dinner, you need to order in advance. Swahili cuisine is also the specialty at Island Dishes, Kibikoni Street (tel. 072/088-7311 or 041/231-7019; daily 7am-midnight), an Old Town institution that is especially good for just sitting and watching as the neighborhood breezes by. Sip your way through a large mug of tamarind juice while local people stop off to say their "salaams" to the proprietors. For views, besides the obvious (and expensive) choice -- Tamarind (reviewed below) -- you might want to head over to the sociable after-work mainland drinks venue, jd's (also known as Just Drinks; tel. 072/137-2456), which also has a reasonably priced restaurant that's much loved by residents. Located at The Creek Marina, it's owned by a pleasant guy named Sonny, opens at 5pm, and stays open till very late.
Avocado with a Straw -- Swaleh Abdallah Altamimi's sweet and simple Equatorial Fruit Parlour (tel. 073/655-5568) is my favorite stop in the city's atmospheric Old Town and just 200m (656 ft.) from Fort Jesus. Swaleh -- one of Old Town's true characters -- prepares masterful juices, whipped up while you wait, from fruit procured daily at the market. His flavors range from passion fruit, orange, mango, and watermelon to the more unusual tamarind, tangerine, masterfelly (custard apple), and bungo (a Kenyan coastal fruit). Don't leave Mombasa without sampling the delicious avocado shake, blended with sugar and milk (and ice cream, if you want); kids go bonkers for his "Scud," a combination of mixed fruit and ice cream. Swaleh will mix up just about any combination you desire, as long as what you're after is in season and freshly available; there's even cucumber juice for the ultra health conscious. As it's situated in a residential neighborhood, this is a great place to rub shoulders with locals. The shop is on Nyeri Street, just off Kibokoni Road (there isn't a soul in Old Town who doesn't know where it is, so just ask), opens at 4pm (once people have started returning from work and school), and stays open till midnight.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.