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Restaurant Review: Watamu’s best-known crab restaurant

Guests at a meal
Guests at a meal


ne of the best seafood restaurants in Watamu is literally a shack in a middle of a mangrove forest.

The Crab Shack in the Dabaso area of Watamu began in 2009, when local residents started crab farming to protect the mangroves and economically benefit the people living along Mida Creek.

When tourists developed an interest in the farm and rich bird life, the crab farmers started serving snacks and drinks. Eventually, the project evolved into a full seafood restaurant.

From the parking, you walk along a wooden walkway through the mangrove forest, past the crab cages to The Crab Shack. This community-operated restaurant is a simple structure with tables on a raised platform, a thatched roof and open on all sides for views of the forest and the creek.

We visited for lunch and started with a plate of crab samosas. They were crisp, delectable and nicely paired with a mango kachumbari.

Waiting for our meal, I watched herons, white egrets and kingfishers flying around Mida Creek, which attracts many local and migrant water birds.

A boy walked through the mud collecting oysters and mussels. Further away, a canoe cruised slowly through the water.

For the main course, we selected the Mixed Fish Ceviche, Mida Creek Oysters drizzled with lime juice and a Mixed Seafood Grill.

Other popular dishes are Ginger Crab Claws, Crab and Avocado salad and Prawns Pili Pili. The meals are modestly priced and served with chips or an amazing coconut rice.

Because the fish and seafood are locally sourced, everything tastes so fresh. For non-seafood eaters, there is the option of beef, chicken and lamb chops. The fruit juices are freshly squeezed and have a selection of wines and spirits.

As part of local empowerment, all the staff come from Watamu and receive training at the local hotels.

In the evenings you can take a ride in a dhow around Mida Creek, while sipping on cocktails and watching the sun setting over the creek.

Afterwards, you return to the restaurant for a seafood dinner. All together, an authentic experience of local cuisine.

LOCATION: Dabaso, Watamu, Kilifi county

CONTACTS: +254 725 315562; [email protected]

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