It will take more than a hop, skip and a jump to reach this fantasy restaurant off the coast of East Africa, but the obscure location is part of what makes it so bucket-list worthy. Appropriately named, The Rock Zanzibar sits on top of a massive boulder in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
The 12-table restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining, but there’s not a bad seat in the house—everywhere you look, you’ll be surrounded by jaw-dropping turquoise water.
Seafood doesn’t get fresher than this. Many of the menu items come straight from the surrounding ocean, including starters like fish carpaccio with fresh chili pepper and coconut sauce, and “very tender” octopus salad.
Homemade pastas also feature fresh seafood, including Swahili signature spaghetti made with stir-fry fish. The Rock Special serves up a grilled collection of the area’s best ocean delights: lobster, Cigals, prawns, calamari and more.
The wine list predominately features—what else?—wineries from South Africa, while the fruity cocktail list embraces the tropical surroundings. (Try The Rock, with white rum, pineapple juice and blue curacao.) Non-drinkers, good news: There’s a solid virgin cocktail list with fresh juice concoctions.
Worth Traveling Halfway Around the World
Zanzibar is an island chain 23 miles off the coast of Tanzania, and you can reach it by plane (90 minutes) or boat (a smooth, view-filled two hours) from Dar Es Salaam.
Sometimes an island, sometimes not, you can wade to The Rock at low tide, and at high tide, you’ll have to take a short boat ride to reach the restaurant’s wooden stair entrance.
Photography: The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar
Definitely Not On Safari
Although nearby East African countries are known for their elephants and giraffes, Zanzibar’s wildlife is best viewed through snorkeling mask. On the white-sand coast five minutes from The Rock are two peaceful oceanfront resorts owned by the restaurant— Dongwe Ocean View Hotel and Kichanga Lodge.
Inside Tip: The Rock does weddings and group events, but if you’re just going for dinner, definitely make a reservation before you go.