If you've grown tired of the buffet spreads or simply want a change of scenery, head for Savannah (tel. 072/628-7637 or 072/184-5446; main courses Ksh500-Ksh1,000; Tues-Sat 4pm-midnight and Sun noon-midnight), where Mike Carr and Jackie Couch operate the best-loved restaurant in Watamu. It's geared toward families, with a games area, pool table, and dartboard, so you can spend a long, unhurried afternoon or evening here. The setting is very inviting, with sumptuous gardens and a laid-back, pub-style vibe. Start with the smoked sailfish, and follow with king prawns in brandy and chili sauce. There's also an excellent crab salad and plenty of comfort food -- burgers, fish and chips, pasta, steak, and chicken.
Perhaps it's the abundance of Italians supposedly obsessed with excellent food, but Malindi has a disproportionate number of worthy places to eat. Top of everybody's list is The Old Man and the Sea (tel. 042/31-106), which is, in Malindi at least, almost as much of a classic as Hemingway's novel. Moorish arches and kikoi tablecloths set the scene, but it's the seafood, as you might suspect from the waterfront location -- it's right near the fishing boat dock and is where freshly caught game fish is weighed -- that'll make you a fan. Incidentally, it was this place that sparked Malindi's love affair with smoked sailfish, now a local specialty. Another decent choice (from the same owners) near the jetty is I Love Pizza (tel. 042/212-0672 or -0879), which is a lot better than it sounds and serves a lot more than just pasta and pizza. It's also right next door to another, even better, choice, Tangeri, Sea Front Road (tel. 042/212-0414), a Moroccan-theme restaurant with an Italian menu, hookah, and cappuccino-flavored shisha.
Baby Marrow, Silversands Road (tel. 073/380-1238), is widely exalted as the finest eatery in town, with a stunning lounge/bar in the garden adjacent the partially-open-to-the-elements restaurant. The atmosphere and cuisine are top-notch, even if the hostess is totally offputting. Try one of the seafood pasta dishes, served in the pan.
Driftwood Beach Club has a friendly, highly sociable vibe and a very eclectic menu -- it's also a great venue from which to watch the moon rising over the ocean. Start the evening at the bar, which feels like the beachside version of a bush pub, decorated with sturdy lengths of driftwood and spirit bottles arranged around the branches of a tree. They serve just about everything, from pizzas and pasta to quality seafood, including piripiri crab claws and the catch of the day, prepared to your taste.
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.