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This spellbinding restaurant in Zanzibar is literally built on a rock in the ocean

A woman is standing in front of a small house in the ocean, resembling a rock restaurant in Zanzibar.

You’re taking a romantic trip to get away from it all, and naturally you need somewhere swoon-worthy to grab lunch. You want the works: world-class food, unique quirks, soul-stirring views and some glorious sunshine to top it all off.

From Paris to Rome, New York to Tokyo, you might find a few places to match your criteria. But there’s only one restaurant that will truly rock your world.

Welcome to the Rock Restaurant, Zanzibar. It’s quite something, isn’t it? The gnarled rock reaching out of the ocean like an extension of the reef, with a rickety wooden staircase and charming moss-topped roof. It looks like the kind of business a mermaid would start.

The Rock Restaurant is nestled in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Michanwi Peninsula in Zanzibar, one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, reaching towards the UNESCO world heritage site of Stone Town. Once a spot for locals to fish, the rock has since been transformed into one of the world’s most iconic restaurants.

So, what’s on the menu? Pretty much what you’d expect for a restaurant in the middle of the sea. The gleeful chefs have unlimited access to fresh and abundant local resources, so we’re talking about some of the best seafood in the world, served expertly with a range of wines and cocktails.

Some of the favourites on the menu include squid in tandoori and coconut milk, homemade spaghetti with crab and The Rock Special: lobster, cigal, king prawn, fish fillet and calamari, prepared fresh on the grill.

Really though, no matter how good the food is, it’s all about the magic of the experience. You may have to do a little bit of paddling through turquoise waters to get to the restaurant at low tide, or alternatively you can take a boat during high tide. But once at the rock you can enjoy your meal on one of the 14 tables, before kicking back on the terrace that delivers incomparable, 360-degree sea views.

That’s right, there’s only 14 tables, which means you have to book far in advance to avoid disappointment. But when you’re enjoying your cocktail, surrounded by azure waters with palm trees swaying lazily in the distance, you’ll recognise that this is about as good as it gets.


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