Grace Home-Style Tanzanian Food – One of the Best Lunches You Can Eat in Dar Es Salaam

By Mark Wiens 7 Comments
One of the best Tanzanian meals I've ever had
One of the best Tanzanian meals I’ve ever had

In the middle of a quiet tree lined residential area in Dar Es Salaam, just a stones throw from the Kenya High Commission, is Grace Shop.

During non-meal hours, it’s little more than a duka (small convenience store), painted with the Pepsi logo, that sells cool sodas and little deep fried snacks.

There are quite a few good local Tanzanian restaurants in Dar Es Salaam like the Scouts Canteen and Holiday Out, but when it comes to home cooked delicious Tanzanian food, Grace Shop is unbeatable.

Wedding gowns in the window
Wedding gowns in the window

One of the first things you notice when you stroll up for lunch is that Grace Shop not only serves food, but the facility also doubles as a wedding gown rental shop (is that what you call it?).

Wedding gown rental plus good food is fine by me.

Dishing out the goodness
Dishing out the goodness

All the food is prepared in the back house by a crew of motherly ladies, who then wheel the food to the restaurant using a yellow wheelbarrow.

There’s no menu, so you just ask what they have prepared for the day, or peek into the pans and plastic containers, to see what looks good.

Everything is fresh.

Tanzanian food at its finest
Tanzanian food at its finest

Most of the Tanzanian food specials are always available: ugali, pilau, plain rice, beans, mchicha, cabbage, beef, goat, chicken, fish, and sometimes extras like organs curry and fried chicken.

The normal routine is to choose your starch of choice accompanied by your meat of choice and the vegetable sides are included.

Beef pilau rice
Beef pilau rice

On this particular day the beef pilau looked spectacular, glistening in the midday sunshine, and while that already included big hunks of meat, I couldn’t resist ordering the fried fish as well.

Those chillies pack in some delightful heat
Those chillies pack in some delightful heat

So my plate of food was piled first with a big bowl of spiced pilau rice, fried fish, vegetable, cabbage, beans, curry sauce, and finally a scoop of kachumbari (tomatoes and onions) for the finishing touch.

The curry sauce added an wonderful bite, filled with pili pili mbuzi chillies to provide some good heat.

Though my fish was frowning, he sure was tasty
Though my fish was frowning, he sure was tasty

Though my fried fish didn’t look overly excited to be part of my plate, I was personally thrilled!

He didn’t disappoint.

Half way through my meal, already feeling great!
Half way through my meal, already feeling great!

I’ve had quite a lot of Tanzanian food over the years, and I can say with certainty, this was one of the best all around home-cooked meals that I’ve had.

The pilau rice was spiced with cinnamon bark and cardamon, and lightly greasy beef. The fish was crispy and salted, and each of the vegetable sides was cooked to perfection.

The home cooked food was comforting, like the Tanzanian version of that Singalila restaurant in Darjeeling.

Grace Shop
Grace Shop

How to get to Grace Shop, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania:

Grace Shop is located in the Oyster Bay part of Dar Es Salaam, just behind the Kenya High Commission. From Ali Hassan Mwinyi, turn onto Kaunda Drive, make your first left (it’s Bongoyo Road), and Grace Shop is about 200 meters up the road on your right hand side.

Open hours – Eat there for lunch, food should be ready around noon
Price – 5,000 TZS ($3) for my monster plate of food that included both beef and fish, other plates can cost just 3,000 TZS ($1.82)

7 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • High Rated Gabru

    3 years ago

    Cool blog. Thanks for sharing with us!!

  • Tony from FunTravelTime

    7 years ago

    Wow really would love to try this place out. Love how they don’t have a menu and they server what they’re preparing for the day. Feels like home cooking but for guests! That fish dish in the first image is really mouth-watering lol

  • Stella

    7 years ago

    I hope they are still in business, as i read this my mouth is salivating 🙂 I will pass by there this Friday to check it out.

  • mwenda

    9 years ago

    You did well home work this best of Tanzania plus ndizi nyama and nice soup of chicken with platain, or mchemsho wich is wake you up after few drink which you can get in mostly local bars; coco beach and Masai Inn kinondoni

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey Mwenda, asante sana. And thanks for the extra tips!

  • Mike | Earthdrifter

    10 years ago

    What a beautiful plate of siesta-inducing nourishment. Monster, yes, and so awesome how they spice the rice.