Once the site of a fisherman’s post, The Rock restaurant sits perched atop a rock off the eastern coast of Unguja Island in the Zanzibar archipelago. The establishment is on what’s known as a “tidal island”—it rises above the sand on Michamvi Pingwe beach at low tide, but becomes an island at high tide. Depending on the time of day, voyagers arrive on foot or by boat.
After climbing a wooden staircase to reach the entrance, diners enjoy unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean from one of twelve cozy tables beneath a Makuti palm tree roof. Patrons sip cocktails out on the back patio, which—at certain hours—is surrounded by turquoise water on three sides. The restaurant serves both lunch and dinner, so parties can time their meal reservations to match the desired tide level.
The menu, which is largely European-inspired, highlights local seafood and house-made pasta. The Rock’s chefs offer guests a selection of globally-recognizable options, but they also aim to impart the flavors of Zanzibar and the surrounding region in every dish. The fish carpaccio is served with coconut, lime, and chili pepper. Most desserts (which range from chocolate salami to pineapple flambé) come topped with “Zanzibar spices” ice cream. Their beef, spices, and vegetables are all farmed nearby.
While dining at The Rock is exponentially more expensive than dining elsewhere in Zanzibar, the restaurant, which opened in 2010, sponsors the Kichanga Foundation. Established in 2005, this organization teaches community members how to swim and focuses on a number of sustainability programs, including waste sorting and recycling.
Know Before You Go
The Rock offers two lunch seatings (at noon or 2pm), and two dinner seatings (at 4pm or 6pm), both by reservation only.