Meat Lovers

I know a woman leaving today for a vacation in Kenya. I said to her what I say to everyone in know who passes through Nairobi: when you are eating zebra at the Carnivore, think of me.

For 17 years, since my first and (so far) only visit to Kenya, the Carnivore has been my favorite restaurant. They serve meat. Nothing but meat. All you can eat. My idea of food paradise. Or at least it was.

When I was there the Carnivore was ranked among the top 50 restaurants worldwide. I don’t normally eat in places like that. They tend to be expensive and I have Scottish roots. The Carnivore charged a very reasonable price for all you can eat meat.


By shankar s. – Flickr: Carnivore Restaurant charcoal pit, CC BY 2.0,

My friend, who has made multiple visits to Kenya, told me the Carnivore isn’t what it used to be. I pressed for an explanation: “They don’t serve game anymore.”

I thought wild meat was the whole reason for the restaurant. In Canada I know I can get ostrich, and probably alligator (which I presume tastes just like the crocodile I had in Kenya. I’ve eaten reindeer in Canada, and regular deer, and bison, but I have never seen zebra, or wildebeest on the menu of any restaurant I have been to – except the Carnivore. (The night I was there there was no giraffe available, though I was told they sometimes did have it on the menu.)

Turns out the law changed in 2004, with Kenya outlawing the same of wild game meat. Makes sense from a conservation point of view I suppose, so I suppose I can’t really complain. Plus I’m not likely to be in Kenya anytime soon.

Still, it was a unique experience. The restaurant is still there, and still serving meat, but a meal there isn’t the unique experience it once was. That makes me a little sad – though the animals are probably a little happier.


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