Matteo's Karen


In Nairobi is possible to breathe in both the timeless air of colonial Kenya, the one that even Kenyans of a certain calibre enjoy today, and the typical atmosphere of an elegant estate in the Italian hills like in Tuscany?
The answer comes straight to the heart, the eye and finally to the taste buds upon entering Matteo's, the splendid restaurant in the Karen district, where time seems to have stood still in the days when mansions housed riding stables, coffee plantations and explosions of tropical flowers, and where people ate or took tea in the shade of centuries-old trees.
Matteo's, created by a historic couple of Italian residents in Kenya since 1975, Pino Checchini and Leonarda Langiano, and run together with their family, stands on a marvellous property, which until a few years ago was home to a stable of horses and green lawns studded with plants in which cottages were magically lost in another era.
A few years ago, Pino and Leonarda decided to transform stables and barns into kitchens, rustic rooms, a bar and a patio like a real country club, combining the beauty of the place with the elegance of a sober and stylish décor, a service with attention to detail and, above all, the tradition of Italian cuisine treated with an international flair but without losing its characteristics. Recently, a large and well-kept events area and lounge bar has been added to the restaurant, suitable for all kinds of meetings or parties and also ideal for after-dinner and dance evenings.
At Matteo's, from noon there is not a moment's respite, it is a continuous coming and going of customers, particularly Kenyans but also British and Italian residents. In the evenings, the atmosphere is tinged with romance, with the perfect lighting and an unspoken but shared pleasure in not spoiling special moments, amidst soft music and murmurs of couples or never-boring laughter in company, clinking glasses and eloquent verses of approval for good food.
If pizza is the queen of many tables, Matteo's has several specialities on the menu that draw from Italian eating but also from the territory.
And there is always something new, something special, from recipes conjured up by suppliers of high-quality local produce to imported Italian and international delicacies. The staff's savoir faire does the rest, putting everyone at ease and making Matteo's one of the Nairobi eateries to which one returns most willingly, to the point of becoming a part of that fragrant, timeless air that is good for the spirit... and the throat!