Decent seafood, lovely location

Saturday January 16 2016

La Marina Restaurant Mtwapa, serves up well-done fare and a beautiful view. PHOTO | FILE

La Marina Restaurant Mtwapa, serves up well-done fare and a beautiful view. PHOTO | FILE 

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During a recent trip to the coast, we visited this restaurant as a group. It is located at the seafront, right where some boats dock. There is no beach but the view and the ambiance from the water is fantastic. La Marina Restaurant appears to have been there for a long time, as portrayed by the decor. We were not sure of its origins but it appears to have Italian roots.

Our waiter was personable and alert. There is no children’s menu but to be fair, with such a huge selection of items, it would not be difficult to find something palatable for kids. The only issue would be paying full price for a smaller tummy. We ordered a variety of seafood dishes and a vegetarian member of our party ordered the vegetable platter. We did not have to wait long before he brought out the drinks. He went out of his way to arrange for freshly-squeezed pineapple juice even though this was not on the menu. In addition to this, we enjoyed their passion and mango juices.


The classic grilled red snapper was amazing. The fish was fresh, doused liberally in lemon and garlic butter, and it was flaky and tender. Some places at the coast tend to overcook fish until it becomes rubbery. Happily, this fish yielded zero complaints.

The French fries were delicious:  thick-cut but soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Our friends greatly enjoyed their garlic prawns with rice, and the one who ordered pork chops was extremely pleased with them. We also ordered spring rolls, and the pastry deserves a special mention.

Even in some Oriental restaurants in Kenya, we sometimes find substandard thick, doughy pastry on spring rolls. La Marina had theirs down to an art – thin light layers, almost like filo pastry, golden brown on the outside but fresh and tender on the inside. Each dish came with steamed vegetables. They were crunchy and fresh and I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

Unfortunately, the person in our party who ordered the vegetable platter did not get what she bargained for. The ‘platter’ was a serving of rice, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and greens. I empathise with vegetarian diners in Kenya because the number of restaurants that actually offer decent vegetarian choices is small. If you are either non-dairy or gluten-free on top of that, lord help you!

I hope that as the demand increases for more choices, various establishments will beef up their menus in this department. The waiter was extremely apologetic and he arranged to bring something else.

We enjoyed the red snapper so much that we ordered another helping. Unfortunately we got white snapper instead and the texture was so different from the previous offering, that it was hard to rate. (It was more like pork than fish.) Other than these few miscommunications with the kitchen, we enjoyed the La Marina experience. Our meals inclusive of soft drinks averaged at Sh1,500 per person.

They also have a bar with flat screens to watch a game, and you can dine at a private table on a boat for an extra fee.



Service: 4/5

Ambiance: 3.5/5

Hygiene: 3.5/5

Child-friendliness: 3/5

Value: 3.5/5

Food: 3.5/5