In Summary
  • Thirsty for something that wasn’t water, I opted to start with a bottle of the Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (I had company. Do not judge) which was excellent.
  • Though I had heard of the winery before, it was my first time trying any of their products and I was greatly pleased by the well-balanced, citrusy wine.
  • Because of the prevalence of South African wine in Nairobi, I sometimes forget that the Italians are true masters of the winemaking craft.

I have always doubted that when people say of something that it is the “best kept secret” of someplace or another, they fully understand the might and scope of their words.

For this reason, alone, you will never hear me using that phrase unless I am convinced that the subject really is worthy of this honour. But there is a restaurant in Nairobi where my recent dining experience left me with the taste of “best kept secret” in my mouth.

La Salumeria which is located at Dhanjay Apartments behind the Valley Arcade Shopping Centre in Nairobi’s Lavington estate is at once frequently patronised and little known; loud and intimate; luxe and low key, adding to the charm that has seen the business thrive for over a decade.

With a rapid speaking Italian woman – who could shout an auctioneer out of town – running things, the otherwise mellow restaurant is made busy by the panicked whizzing and yelling of the floor staff who seem to care little for the welfare of their customers.

The Sicilian inspired indoor dining room is simply decorated with rustic furniture, brown tiled floors and two-tone, earth-colour ceilings from which ornate mosaic lamps and lush ferns hang. Arched doorways and period photography enhance the feel of authentic Italian space.

Attached to this room is a cramped terrace with a smoking corner and for the first time in ages, I felt that I’d rather dine inside, especially because the space then opens up into the parking lot for the premises.

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