The Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar

Normally I wouldn’t dedicate an entire post to a restaurant. (Okay wait, maybe that’s a lie.) But having lunch at the Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar was one of the most unique dining experiences I’ve ever had.

For those who have been living under a rock (uh sorry, dad joke), the Rock is a tiny restaurant perched on a rock in the middle of the Indian Ocean. You know, the one that you see all over Instagram.

The Rock Restaurant, Zanzibar
I kind of hate myself for taking a #followmeto picture, but when in Zanzibar

But in order to dine at The Rock, first, you have to get to the restaurant.

If the tide’s out, you can simply walk to it. But when the tide’s in, you have to take a rowboat, which is what we did. Honestly it kind of just added to the ‘lunch-on-a-rock-in-the-middle-of-the-ocean’ experience.

Once you disembark from the dingy and climb up the steps, you realize the true appeal of The Rock Restaurant – the panoramic views of the astonishingly blue Zanzibar water. It’s probably the clearest water I’ve ever seen – so beautiful.

The Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar
The Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar

While we waited for our table, my French friend Vens (who had come all the way from Paris to vacation with me!) and I enjoyed a few cocktails on the back deck.

I was actually glad we had to wait to be seated – we had more time to soak up the views and our (very strong) rum-spiked cocktails.

The Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar
The Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar
My skin was a disaster in Zanzibar, hence all the artsy staring-off-into the distance shots, ha

When I read reviews about The Rock online, many visitors said to go for the experience, not the food. But I was pleasantly surprised – the food was delicious. I loved my meal of tandoori squid with coconut milk and Vens said the catch of the day was also tasty.

And okay yes, the food is a little pricey. But let’s not forget that you’re enjoying it on a tiny rock in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Worth it.

Side note – seafood lovers, you will be in heaven on Zanzibar. The seafood is super cheap and as Anthony Bourdain would say, ‘screamingly fresh’. Enjoy.

The Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar
Tandoori squid with coconut milk… so good
The Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar
The catch of the day with mashed potatoes

So if you’re ever in Zanzibar, I 100% recommend you check out The Rock. For the photo ops, at the very least.

More posts on Zanzibar you may find helpful:

The 9 Best Things to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar

Jambiani Beach: Where to Find the Real, Untouristy Zanzibar

The Ultimate One Week Zanzibar Itinerary

Important info about The Rock Restaurant and Zanzibar in general:

The Rock Restaurant is located in Paje, on the eastern coast of the island. It’s around an hour and a half away from Stone Town.

The Rock books up quickly so make a reservation in advance. You can make reservations online.

The Rock accepts credit cards, but I would have cash on hand just in case the credit card machine isn’t working (that happens a lot in East Africa). Plus, there are no ATMs outside of Stone Town – it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Citizens from most western countries can get their visas on arrival for $50 on Zanzibar, payable by cash for credit – it costs $100 for US citzens. Learn more about visa information here.

Travelers to Tanzania must present proof of the yellow fever vaccination at the airport if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever – see countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission here.

The malaria risk on Zanzibar is low, so I didn’t take medication. However, some travelers decide to. See the recommended vaccines for Tanzania here.

Make sure to purchase travel insurance before your trip to Zanzibar. I’ve used World Nomads for years and highly recommend it.

Have you heard of The Rock Restaurant? Would you want to go there?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein