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“Good food, chilled out surroundings” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Talisman

The Talisman
320 Ngong Road | Karen, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 705 999997
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Ranked #2 of 355 Restaurants in Nairobi
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Seafood, Vegetarian, Pub, Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Doing business, Special occasions, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: Featuring carved wooden pillars from Pakistan, elegant Afghan rugs, charming fireplaces, sprawling terraces and idyllic gardens, The Talisman blends fine dining with unbridled eclecticism. We have made every effort to create the ideal ambience for those seeking a candle-lit romantic dinner, a casual evening drink with friends, an outdoor lunch with family and everything in between ~ And all this is complemented by distinguished service from our cordial staff.
UK
Level Contributor
78 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Good food, chilled out surroundings”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

Not particularly easy to find for non Nairobi residents, this is located in Karen, around 200 m beyond Karen roundabout on the road towards the Ngong hills, entrance hidden in the trees on the right hand side of the road. A perfect lunch spot if you are in the Karen area, it also merits a trip from town in its own right. Tables can be either indoors (log fires during the colder months) or outdoors on the sunny terrace or garden. Would recommend indoors during the rainy season as the weather can change very quickly! Fusion menu with Western and Asian inspired dishes, this is also home to Nairobi's biggest and best burger. Good selection, with five or six additional daily specials. Hits have included the ostrich steak and the tuna and avocado salad. They also offer a good selection of juices and good value coffees.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
J C, Public Relations Manager at The Talisman, responded to this review, January 22, 2013
Really glad you found us worth the drive time, and thanks for the lovely words about our food and atmosphere. We'll be kicking things up a few notches in 2013 with our remodel, so we hope you'll be back to visit again to sample Talisman 2.0!
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596 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Magic Marcus”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

Best wings I've ever eaten with a chunky blue cheese dip. Feta samosas are a much copied classic, but none do them as well. Porcini tartlets are sublime. I rarely make it to the main course, having been stuffed on starters. But when I do, the beef karai or hamburger is the way to my heart.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
J C, Public Relations Manager at The Talisman, responded to this review, January 19, 2013
Thanks so much! We're very proud of Marcus and can't wait to see what he has up his sleeves for 2013. Glad to have you back any time--cheers!
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Hampton, Virginia
Level Contributor
193 reviews
127 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Mediocre food, beautiful atmosphere, great bar, decent service, a few demerits”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

Talisman was highly recommended to us and we were excited to go out the one and only time while in Nairobi. I was not very impressed, unfortunately. It was okay. We had a dinner for six, with two kids. We were a little late for our reservation, but it was not a problem for the friendly hostess even though it was a busy Saturday night. The parking lot and restaurant were packed. We were seated at a round table that was much too large for six people, and the restaurant so noisy that you couldn't talk to the person across the table truly without yelling. The restaurant seating, as far as I could tell, was completely outdoors. We all wore jackets with mufflers, but still it was very chilly. The warm ambiance and cozy decor was amplified by the patio heaters and chimeneas. Unfortunately for us, despite several requests, no heater was ever placed near us and so we ended up shivering throughout dinner. I saw staff moving heaters around to different tables, but even though they said they would bring one over they just ignored our requests. Our waiter and his helper were very professional and prompt, and responsive and flexible.
I was not thrilled with the food. We ordered a variety of items because the menu is so ecclectic and enticing. Sashimi: average; pork bellies: average, although the asian glaze on the accompanying veggies was superb; tuna carpaccio salad: very good; beets salad: appalling, there were but four tiny little beets on an anemic bed of arugula with a couple of blue cheese cubes; hamburger: delicious; chicken curry: decent, but nothing extraordinary; chicken wings: decent, but nothing more than bar food without any sauce or accompaniment; soup: nothing special.

My child ordered the burger. He specially requested a plain burger, explaining in detail that he did not want anything on it. The description of the burger in the menu is mouthwatering, with a compliment of delicious toppings. My son did not want toppings, and I felt sure the waiter understood this. However, when the burger arrived, it was not plain, but instead included all the toppings. This did not distress my kid too much, but it irritated me. It could not be easier than to serve a plain burger. It could not be easier to check that the order is right before serving it.

The wine list was not extensive, but very good and well priced. We were very happy with our choices. We had an after dinner drink in the bar, which was lively and fun. The bartenders and waiters were super attentive and fun. It was the best part of the night.

Overall, I am glad that we went to this restaurant. It was still a lovely evening. Maybe my standards are too high given the high, high level of service and quality of food we had been accustomed to throughout our journey through Africa.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
J C, Public Relations Manager at The Talisman, responded to this review, January 12, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to leave your detailed comments on your Talisman experience. We are definitely insanely busy on weekends, and Friday and Saturday nights you can expect a big crowd and noise. It's really just a part of the weekend buzz at Talisman. Very sorry to hear you never got a jiko to help take the chill off the evening air, though. We're working to make sure everyone on staff is quick and attentive, but it's quite possible with such a big crowd that the request got jumbled or lost in the process. We'll be sure to keep a lookout for that in the future.

We were surprised at your assessment of Talisman's food, as that's our pride and joy. Chef Marcus works to make sure each dish is beautifully presented and delicious--and he's famous for his pork belly. The whole kitchen staff takes pride in what we serve, and we're constantly working to kick things up a notch.

We'll be remodeling the kitchen this year and really beefing up our staff training so we can achieve even more. We'd love for you to stop by and try us again next time you're in Kenya. Karibu!
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Illinois
Level Contributor
44 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Good food, gracious Kenyan hospitality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

We went for an anniversary dinner and enjoyed the lovely atmosphere and attentive staff. The beef karai was very good, but would have liked some rice and/or vegetables with it as well, as it wasn't a very hearty meal.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
J C, Public Relations Manager at The Talisman, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Happy Anniversary once again, and we were delighted to host you here at Talisman. Thanks for the feedback, and please come again soon!
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
115 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Brilliant All Round”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We had dinner here recently, and it's a brilliant place - everything from the variety on the menu (food and drink) to the quality of the food to the service to the ambience to the lovely outdoor atmosphere. A bit pricier than most places in Nairobi, if you're looking for a little bit of a "splurge" with excellent value for money, then this is a solid bet. Very satisfied, looking forward to getting back to Nairobi so we can eat here again!

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
J C, Public Relations Manager at The Talisman, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Really glad you decided to splurge and enjoy all that Talisman has to offer. We're proud of our atmosphere, food, and service, and we're thrilled you enjoyed your time here with us. Please stop back by any time you're in Nairobi!
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