This Is A Guide For Planning Your Visit to the Rock Restaurant Zanzibar
While planning our trip to Zanzibar we kept coming upon this unusual restaurant called The Rock. In looking at the pictures from home we could see why it would be a popular place.
A small restaurant, perched on the top of a rock, surrounded by water looked pretty special. Since we really enjoy experiencing unique dining experiences, we made sure to add this location to our plans.
Highlights of the Rock Restaurant Zanzibar
✅ Looking for other experiences in Zanzibar? Be sure to read our blog about the top things to see while visiting the island.
How To Get To The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar?
The Rock Restaurant is located on the beach in Michamvi Pingwe. We were staying in Dongwe so our hotel arranged a taxi for us and it was less than 10 minutes each way. Our taxi driver was willing to come back to pick us up, so we established a return pick-up time, and he was kindly waiting for us as agreed.
We paid $14 for the round trip and found this to be a fair price for the convenience of knowing that we wouldn’t have to worry about finding a ride back after our dinner.
The restaurant is very well known on the island so taking a taxi from other popular areas on the east coast is the best way to get there.
Making A Rock Restaurant Zanzibar Booking
This is a popular spot and the restaurant isn’t very large so be sure to make your reservation online in advance. We were there at the beginning of the off-season and still found it to be quite full. So we imagine in the busy season it will be impossible to just walk in.
It was a quick and easy process to make the reservation online so don’t skip this step to ensure you aren’t disappointed on the day you plan to visit.
If you are a group of 6 or more people, they do ask for a non-refundable deposit to hold your table and that collected amount is deducted from your bill.
It is important to note that there are select seating times. For lunch, they offer times of 12:00pm and 2:00pm. And for dinner, the times are 4:00pm and 6:00pm. Your reservation includes a two-hour timeslot. This is plenty of time to take pictures, relax on the patio and enjoy your meal.
Check the Time of the Tides
If you would like to capture the iconic pictures of The Rock looking like it is floating in the ocean, it is very important to check the tide times for the day of your visit. Zanzibar has very large tidal fluctuations and depending on the time of day, the tide goes out leaving the beach with almost no water.
We planned our reservation for the 4:00pm timeslot knowing that the tide would be coming in when we arrived. This allowed us to walk to the restaurant. When we left, the tide was in completely and we needed to take the boat back to the shore. This was perfect for us so we could have both experiences. Not every day is the same so be sure to check this tidal timetable to verify for your specific day.
History of The Rock Restaurant
There is some interesting history to The Rock Restaurant that lends to its unique character. The original structure on the Rock was a fisherman’s house. In 2009, when the current owners of the restaurant (3 entrepreneurs from Italy) started creating the restaurant, they did so with the full blessing of the local community.
That is because when the owners came to Zanzibar, they took an interest in and invested in the local Masai community by building a school, equipping it with computers, creating a swimming project, buying an ambulance for the community, and setting up a foundation for the local residents.
We had an opportunity to chat with the manager of The Rock Restaurant who proudly gave us some of the history and showed us pictures of the evolution of the restaurant from its beginnings to the present day. He and the owners live full-time in the community that they have supported.
We were impressed with these initiatives and were pleased to see that these entrepreneurs care about the area and continue to make investments to benefit the community.
What To Expect At The Rock Restaurant
They have made it easy for drop off and pick up with a large parking lot available. There is a Masai market set up in this area so if you are looking for some souvenirs this is a convenient spot for some shopping.
From there we walked through a lovely garden area to reach the beach.
Here there are Masai men with small stands also selling items.
Hanging from a frame is a cute swing set up at the edge of the beach that provides a nice backdrop with The Rock Restaurant behind it. Be sure to check it out for a fun experience before heading over to the restaurant.
When you come down onto the beach it is quite the sight to take in the restaurant nestled on top of the rock – it looks like something from a movie set. From here is a great spot where you can get those perfect Rock Restaurant photos that everyone is looking for.
Once we had walked through the shallow water to the restaurant, some steps led us up to the platform that was built around the rock. You can see the construction of the building and how it seems to be built into the rock structure around it. Pretty fascinating!
On the entrance porch of the restaurant, there is also a gift shop where you can purchase memorabilia. And yes, The Rock Restaurant has complimentary Wi-Fi.
Dining at The Rock Restaurant
Upon our arrival, we were seated at a nice table inside by the window. It can be quite breezy so be prepared for that. There is also seating on the side patios. We had a look at the menus and were asked to place our full order at that time. There are a variety of menu items available including quite a few pastas, seafood dishes, chicken, and beef.
Additionally, they offer several different cocktails – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Once we had ordered, we made our way out to the patio and enjoyed our drinks while taking in the view. From here the scenery is truly spectacular. We were fortunate to be there on a bright, sunny day and you could see along the coast for a long distance.
You are surrounded by varying shades of clear blue and green water. This is what makes this location so special.
Pretty soon after we were summoned back to our table for our appetizer of fish carpaccio. The fish used was local tuna and while not sliced as thinly as other carpaccio we have had; it was still tasty. At this point, we asked that we have a little more time before the main course was served so we could enjoy the patio to the fullest. They were happy to oblige.
We moved out to the patio again where we had the choice of comfortable sofas, or they also had individual chairs as well. Some of the patio is covered and other parts are not so you do have some choice in this regard. As we were there later in the day, sitting in the sun was alright as it wasn’t quite as strong at that point.
We watched as people came to take pictures and another couple enjoyed a cake for a special occasion. It is a really lovely spot to relax.
Our dinner was then served, and we went back to our table for the main course. We had ordered the Steak on a Stick and the Grilled South African Rib Eye. The meals were fine but to be honest nothing over the top. In hindsight, we probably should have ordered the seafood since that is what is best on the island. We had already had a lot of seafood so we were looking for something different, but we enjoyed the meal.
However, the dessert called Chocococco was absolutely amazing! This was a coconut mousse inside a chocolate shell, and it was great! That we can highly recommend.
Wondering about The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar prices? Since this is a very unique place you can expect that you will pay a premium for the food and drinks. It is certainly more expensive than other places we ate on the island. But we thought it was worth it for the experience. Below are the menus at the time of our visit to give a better idea of what to expect.
Once we had finished dinner, it was time to head back to the mainland. By this time the tide had come in much higher, so we took the little boat back. It was only a couple of minutes before they had us back on the shore.
Final Word…About The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar
In our travels around the world, we have eaten at some exceptional places. For us, The Rock Restaurant is worth visiting due to its very unique location, incredible views and friendly staff. The meal was good (not gourmet) and we would recommend visiting this great spot.