Kenyan Food Goat Curry

Kosewe / Ranalo Foods

Kosewe/Ranalo Foods
1st Floor, Balfour Hse.
Kimathi St., Nairobi
Tel: +254-(20)-2249728
www.ranalofoods.com

When I am in Nairobi, I often get requests from friends that are visiting from outside the country to take them to a restaurant where they can taste authentic Kenyan food.

Of course, I could take them to a place like Blanco’s, which is upscale and serves Kenyan-inspired cuisine, but for real, everyday Kenyan food, the perfect place, in my opinion, is Kosewe (also known as Ranalo Foods), on Kimathi Street in downtown Nairobi.

READ ALSO: Thorn Tree Cafe, Nairobi

Discovering Kosewe/Ranalo Foods

The first time I went to Kosewe, it was still located in the Cameo Cinema complex on Kenyatta Avenue.

That was many, many years ago.

Immediately, I became enamored with the wonderful local Kenyan food served there.

It was then that I fell in love with the food combination that I still eat today whenever I visit Kosewe, namely Beef Fry with chapati and kunde (bean leaves).

What I didn’t like so much at Kosewe, at the time, was the dingy environment.

I visited the restaurant a couple of times after I first discovered it but quickly stopped frequenting the establishment for that reason.

About a decade ago, I was reintroduced to Kosewe by some Kenyan friends who were back in Nairobi after a long stay in the US.

They would visit Kosewe as often as possible, because they couldn’t get enough of the chapatis there.

Luckily, by then, Kosewe had moved to their current location near Nation Center.

This new location was pleasant, spacious, and obviously hygienic.

I quickly became a regular visitor again.

The Food at Kosewe

I’ve tried a number of items on the menu, but for me, I always go back to my trusty Beef Fry, chapati, and kunde.

Others swear by the Fish in Coconut Stew and the Fried Tilapia.

Whatever your choice of Kenyan food, the food at Kosewe is outstanding!

To boot, most dishes cost only a couple or so hundred Kenyan shillings.

Also, the service is extremely fast since the food is prepared in advance.

Kenyan Food - Fried Tilapia at Kosewe Ranalo Foods

But, Kosewe is not simply a restaurant that serves everyday Kenyan food.

With an outdoor space and distinct separate bar area (complete with a well-stocked bar), in the evening, Kosewe becomes a lively place to socialize.

On several occasions, I have found myself dancing late into the night to the sounds of the live band that plays there.

It’s quite a lot of fun!

If you live in Nairobi and haven’t yet discovered Kosewe, then you are in for a real treat.

For those who work downtown, I recommend that you try it out for lunch. Don’t shy away due to the large crowd though.

That’s just a testament to how good the food at Kosewe is.

If you are not one for crowds, then maybe try it in the evening when the crowds in the restaurant area have thinned a bit.

You can then follow your meal with a drink and some dancing if you are interested in more exciting entertainment.

Warning: I did say that a meal at Kosewe costs a couple or so hundred Kenyan shillings, so peg your expectations accordingly.

Kosewe is not upscale, though it is neat and clean.

With the right attitude, it can be a very fun, authentically Kenyan experience.

What’s Your Favorite Dish at Kosewe/Ranalo Foods?

If you do try it out, let me know what you think.

For those of you, who are already avid clients of Kosewe, what is your favorite meal there?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Biche

P.S. Click here and here to see videos of some VIPs having lunch at Kosewe! (I found these very amusing. :-))

Photo Credits: pikachakula.com; nairobizblogazine.blogspot.com; foodspotting.com

21 thoughts on “Kosewe / Ranalo Foods”

I love having the Coconut Fish with Brown Ugali and Kunde.Also, Kosewe is the best place in town to have a meal, period. I must confess to going many times when I have travelled to KE. I was first taken there when it was at Cameo, the ambience there was quite off putting – but the Nation Center location is ideal. Cannot see it from the road? Look at the sheer numbers of people with toothpicks outside the restaurant (How else will people know you ate lunch?!) To avoid the massive crowd go a little before one o’clock for lunch. Thanks for this review Biche!

Hi SunnyKay9,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

So you are one of those people who swear by the Coconut Fish? Yep, many people have told me it’s good though I don’t think I’ve tried it myself (I am not a great fan of fish in stew). Maybe I should give it a try the next time I am at Kosewe! 🙂

Nice one about how to recognize the restaurant! Hehehe…And thanks for the tip on how to beat the massive crowd. It was my pleasure to write this review. 🙂

Biche

Kosewe is the best! Food is not too spicy, made just like home! And the price is okay coz the food is a lot.

The coconut fish uuuuuuuuuuuuwi!! I like eating that bitter vegetable, I love that place..I am now feeling hungry.

Hi Mama,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

I notice that you posted around lunch time. If you are in Nairobi, did you head over to Kosewe and do justice?! 😉

Welcome,
Biche

My Friend and i are traveling from the uk later this year, and are curious how many shillings a meal is? we have seen reports of 200 – 800? could you please advise if you have time. Thank you – love your site, its very very interesting.

Hi SmurfUK76,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! I am glad you enjoy my site.

The range you’ve seen reported seems quite right to me. Basically, it depends on where you intend to have a meal. At a place like Kosewe I am sure you can eat for 200-400 KSh, but at a place like Nairobi Java House spending 800 KSh is more likely.

Essentially, if you eat local food, in places targeting locals, then you’ll spend a lot less on food than in places where more Western style food is served and which targets expatriates. What kind of food are you more interested in? And do you know yet what area you will be staying in? (Because that makes a difference too.)

I hope I have given you a little more insight on the meal situation in Nairobi.

Biche

Great blog, I just did a review of Kosewe on my blog too. Love the place, i’ve been eating there since they were at cameo. The picture above is from when I was at Kosewe in 2006, you can actually see my finger next to the fried beef lol!

Hi Kip,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

Yikes, I am so embarrassed about having “stolen” your pic off the Net. I was having computer trouble and couldn’t get my pictures of Kosewe off my laptop. Please forgive me! If it will make what I did any better, allow me to continue to use the photo while giving you credit and putting a link to your blog – which is simply scrumptious, by the way!

I read your review of Kosewe. Nice! It’s funny, though – I think we have very different palates. I love Kosewe’s fried beef, which you don’t seem to like too much. And the Athol is the one dish that I categorically do not enjoy at Kosewe. Osuga – I find too bitter. About millet ugali, though, we see eye-to-eye! (That might just be the Western Ugandan in me. :-))

Thanks for the feedback. Sorry about the stolen pic. I hope to see more of you here on ChickAboutTown. I will definitely be reading your blog from now on.

Cheers,
Biche

Hey Biche,

Don’t stress about the pic, you can use it. Love your blog, I’ll definately be hanging out here more.

I followed your recommendation and tried Kosewe with a friend this noon. Best fish in coconut sauce I’ve had to date. First taste of real Kenyan food she had on her short visit here. Thanks! We would not have found it without you.

Hi Susan,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown! Thanks for your feedback – it put a smile on my face. Yep, the food at Kosewe is outstanding! I hope you’ve been back again since.

Cheers,
Biche

Thank you for your meal recs! I’m a Canadian (from Montreal) who is visiting Nairobi for some weeks while my husband does work here. I went today with my two-year-old twin boys (someone else had recommended the restaurant and I googled it, which is how I found your site) and much enjoyed the beef and kunde while my boys ate chicken and rice.

Hi Maeve,

Welcome to ChickAboutTown!

I am pleased that you found my recommendations useful. You’re from Montreal? It’s nice to have a fellow Montrealer on here – I lived in Montreal for 6 years before I moved to Nairobi.

Thanks for your feedback. I wish you a pleasant stay in Nairobi.

Biche

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