Food in Mombasa independent restaurants is outstanding. You will wish you could find the same back home.
Most of the vegetables and fruits in Kenya are picked when ripe, highly unlike the rubbish we get in European supermarkets. Most of the produce is organic or grown in small holdings and tastes absolutely brilliant. Better produce makes much better food. Simples...
YUL'S AQUADROM is a must. It serves the best pizzas as well as great grilled meats and a few Indian dishes which are very good. I adore their pizzas. They are real traditional wood fired oven baked thin crispy Napolitan pizzas. You will definitely not go wrong here. It's right on the beach and the service is attentive. They have their own home made chili sauce that is to die for. They also make the best ice creams in Mombasa. They have perfected the art of Gelati. Try them out. It is located in North Coast right at the beach next to Bamburi Beach & Travellers.
LA MARINA - for seafood and romance. Located at Mtwapa Creek, 15 minutes cab ride from North Coast. Really very nice. It used to be called Aqua Marine but has since changed it's name. It also does dhow excursions, which are a boat ride in a traditional Arab sailing vessel at sunset. Magical. You must go here if you love seafood and grilled meats. I would have told you to go to the Tamarind for seafood, but their quality has since gone down.
HUNTER'S Steak House. A traditional European steakhouse serving house aged Kenyan beef in a cosy little garden. It is owned and run by Mr. Riegger, a Swiss German, who used to be a wildlife hunter, but now is a restauranteur. Best Steaks in Mombasa without a doubt. Excellent oysters too. This place is so good, I eat the Chateaubriand for 2, by myself. And I'm relatively slim. Located in Mkomani, 15 minutes cab ride from North Coast.
Chicken Tika - there is a dish called Chicken Tika. It is similar to Indian tandoori chicken but has a unique taste. It is one of my favourtie foods in Mombasa. I think the recipe was created by bohra muslims and it's now become a Kenyan favourite. You have to try this. In my point of view, it is 100 times better than tandoori chicken. You will find it at many places in Mombasa such as ABASSI, HASHMI, DILAWHAR'S, RECODA, or ROCKWALL. Dilawhars, Recoda or Rockwall are my preferred places. They're not fancy places as they are like roadside eateries, but excellent food and very quick service. You should not miss the Chicken tika, it's the best grilled chicken in the world. If there 1 local thing you eat in Mombasa, it has to be this.
SINGH Restaurant - This is a legendary restaurant on the island located right next to the Sikh temple. If you want a simple curry, this is the place. You will not get the typical buttery creamy curries, rather less rich home made authentic curries with hot hot fresh chapatis. It has been there since the 50's and is an institution in it's own right. You must go here. I always do.
GALAXY Restaurant - Chinese. Don't laugh, this is one of the best Chinese restaurants I have ever been to in my life. I regularly go there when I'm in Mombasa. It's located on the island, run by a real Chinese family and serves amazing food. It is based on Hainanese recipes. You must try the fish in garlic sauce, sticky ribs, fried rice, and black pepper crab. Brilliant.
LA VERANDAH, the place to go for Italian food. I bet you the food here will rival restaurants in Roma. Outstanding dishes served by properly trained chefs, good service, relaxed setting. Simply brilliant. Their wide range of home made pastas are excellent as are their starters, minstrone or seafood salad. The owners are Italian and know hospitality. 5 mins from North Coast hotels.
Lastly, you must go to a place called JUST DRINKS (JD's). The owner is called Sunny, a polished bald Asian bloke, who is a gem of a guy. This place is located at the mkomani creek, near to the Tamarind restaurant and has beautiful views of the Creek. The sundowners are to die for. The quality is outstanding so it can be a bit pricey, but well worth it. The location is amazing, the food outstanding and the service is simply brilliant (thank you Juma). When I'm in Mombasa, I'm a regular. He makes amazing cocktails and is often featured in travel and dining magazines. The food is fusion European with Asian and Kenyan hints. Outstanding. I believe the menu is a creation of his lovely wife Nisha, who is a Cordon Bleu qualified chef. They do a fantastic lobster. Also try the Chicken Maryland for bites while having a cold Pilsner beer. Yum.
NYAMA CHOMA - is the most popular traditional Kenyan grilled meat. Served with a kachumbari salad and a variety of carbs. You can get either goat, pork, beef or chicken and I absolutely love this dish. The goat and the beef can tend to be a little chewy, but this is how the locals like it. I love the goat, and the more chewy the better. There is no one restaurant I can suggest to eat this, ask the friendliest local, and they will advise you where to go. I either go to BOBS, TEMBO or KAHAMA.
There are several other restaurants in Mombasa of all cuisines. If you have anny questions, feel free to ask.
I hope these suggestions help. I'm actually a former resident of Mombasa and have just named my favorite haunts. These are the places where the locals go.