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“Number 1 in Nairobi?” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Talisman

Talisman
P.O. Box 834 Ngong Road, Nairobi 00502, Kenya
+254 705 999997
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Ranked #1 of 315 restaurants in Nairobi
Cuisines: Continental, Café, Asian fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Romance, Doing business, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Delivery, Late Night, Dessert
Description: Recently reopened after extensive renovations, the Talisman is located in Karen just on the outskirts of Nairobi in an old colonial building among lush beautiful gardens. Relax either indoors or outdoors or outdoors on our beautiful patio. Chef Marcus Mitchell, who has trained in France and Spain, brings his own unique touch to each dish and has gained acclaim for his fabulous continental and fusion menu. Talisman's service team is also renowned for its hospitality.
Nairobi, Kenya
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Number 1 in Nairobi?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

This is what Talisman clams quoting one of newspapers' reviews. I agree, it is one of the top restaurants in Nairobi but it is debatable if it is truly number one.
The ambiance is great and my wife claims that recent renovation made it look much better. I couldn't see much of a difference. That's probably gender driven ;-)
After re-opening I was expecting some new ideas in the menu - surpisingly it seems not to have changed at all. Still a perfect fusion, from east to west, from south to north. A bit lengthy - when will Nairobi chefs realise that it is not the number of courses that brings quality? Some of the items (a burger!) don't really fit the image but I can understand that if about 10% of the customers are from the US you must offer something they can relate to :P Having said that, what you finally receive on your plate looks great (not very typical for Nairobi) and the taste is right. It is one of very few places over here where the words "rare" and "medium" have their meaning.
Wine list is as long as the menu. Unfortunately, there is nobody amongst the staff who knows anything about combining food and drinks. Most wines are quite pricy but then you may opt for house which is decent and very reasonably priced.
The staff is friendly and very attentive. Nothing to complain about.
But can you really claim to be #1 restaurant anywhere, if the disco music at the bar plays so loudly that you can hear it in virtually every corner of the restaurant?
Talisman - you are good but you still have some work to do to claim your #1 badge.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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 Talisman, responded to this review, April 16, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to post these constructive criticisms. We were #1 in Nairobi on TripAdvisor until they broke Nairobi down into neighborhoods (which now places us #1 in Karen), and Chef Marcus was named Heineken Chef of the Year in this year's Taste Awards, so we're working hard to maintain that status but also grow better over time.

Chef Marcus has actually changed several items on the menu, adding Pan-Seared Ostrich Fillet and Gratin of Emmenthal, Spinach and Thyme to the Mains and Potted Salmon and the Salad Trolley to the starters. But we do keep the favourites in place, as there would likely be an uprising if we got rid of the signature dishes that have earned us our reputation as a gastro-pub for foodies. You can read through the full menu (with photographs) on our website as well.

We are working on more intensively training our staff to be wine-savvy so they can help you pair what's on the list with what you eat. Thanks for your patience as we continue to hone our skills in this area.

Finally, Friday nights when we have a DJ or band in the house are most definitely louder and more crowded than other nights, but we're going to start the music up later from now on to give diners in the other areas more time before things get rocking. If you'd like a totally intimate, quiet dinner, we do also recommend booking any other weeknight. Weekends in Karen are for partying with mates, and Talisman is a popular destination for both locals and tourists who want to hear great music and mingle with friends.

We hope to see you back again soon!
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375 reviews from our community

92% Recommend
    236
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    21
    4
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Consistently terrible!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

In spite of a great ambience, the menu is uninspiring, the food is bland and too often has to go back to the kitchen. The chef is incompetent and rude, service is sluggish, and this is no way to run a restaurant! Very disappointing.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
J C, Public Relations Manager at Talisman, responded to this review, April 16, 2013
Steve, you do not mention precisely what you ordered or how it was prepared incorrectly. We truly strive to make each guest welcome and prepare their food perfectly, so specific feedback is far more constructive than verbally attacking our staff in blanket terms. Our chef is open to all comments/criticisms and treats customers with respect, so your insistence that he is "rude" just doesn't match up to the consistently positive reviews we've received for excellent service.

We want each customer to leave satisfied, and we'll continue to work to make sure that happens each and every time. Chef Marcus has asked me to personally extend an invitation to come again and receive a meal to replace the one you did not enjoy. Let us demonstrate what makes Talisman a genuinely wonderful place to eat.
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London
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Re-opened!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

The Talisman has re-opened after a two month refurbishment. The new, improved Talisman is all the things about it that so many Nairobians know and love with a few but necessary upgrades. The new loos are lovely, the fireside area works even better now and the booths in the covered part make it much less corridor-y if you are sitting there. The food is fantastic - as ever - but even the regular menu items seem to have had a very subtle, but positive upgrade. The new 'cafe gormande' desert taster is a good idea but not 100% 'there' yet, in my opinion. However, Marcus, the chef at the Talisman is not afraid to try ideas like this and regular Talisman-ites love the regular flow of new ideas and tastes. The service at the Talisman is impeccable - Charles, the head wine waiter, Alphose - the head waiter and all the other staff are fantastic. Eating at the Talisman is always a pleasure and I am very relieved it is open again.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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 Talisman, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Thank you so much for taking the time to post this lovely review and the detailed comments. We're enjoying Chef Marcus's adventures in foodie-ism, too, and we can promise there will be a lot of new tastes presented as specials in the future. Thanks for the compliments on our staff. I'll be sure to pass along your kind words to Charles and Alphonse in particular. Come back again soon!
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Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Nice Hangout in Karen”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

This is a nice restaurant at the hear of Karen area. It has a nice proximity to the shopping malls in Karen. The food is great (Loved the big chips !!! Steak is also nice) The outdoor sitting provides a convenient place to have a chat. They have a variety of wines to choose from for the wine lovers.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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 Talisman, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
Thank you for the kind comments. We're glad you enjoyed your meal and our extensive wine list. Come back any time, as we often have new specials. Next time, why not try one of our 'flights of wine', which allows you to sample three different vintages? Cheers!
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nairobi
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“favorite restaurant in NBO”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

Without a doubt one of the best restaurants (if not THE best) in Nairobi. Food and service are consistently good. Great outdoor seating for either lunch or dinner.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 Talisman, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this lovely review. We're so glad you enjoyed your meal with us and look forward to welcoming you back!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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