The Rock, Zanzibar: A restaurant with its own island

Zanzibar's The Rock restaurant is perched on a ridiculously picturesque tropical coral outcrop in crystal clear water. It's a postcard fantasy image.

Positioned on the Indian Ocean side of the Tanzanian island, you can wade to the restaurant at low tide from Michanwi Pingwe beach through a few metres of shallow warm water. At high tide, a small fishing boat gently rows diners to the restaurant's rustic entrance.

First up, cocktails on the ocean-facing terrace. An icy mojito seems the perfect antidote to the warm, humid air. The triangular sails of traditional wooden dhows dot the aqua horizon. The sea calmly laps at the coral below.

Inside, the restaurant is humble and simple, letting the location do all the talking. With only 12 tables the space is intimate and the November low season means the room is uncrowded. Ample windows and an open eastern wall ensure everyone enjoys water views.

For starters, the "very tender octopus salad" lives up to its name. The "citronette dressing" creole flavour suits the island vibe and syncs with a crisp, chilled French chardonnay.

On memorable occasions, like when eating on a ridiculously beautiful tropical coral outcrop, The Rock Special is the go-to-dish. The fresh lobster, Cigales (think Moreton Bay Bugs), prawns, king fish and calamari all well cooked on the grill easily serves two. A couple of potato cakes (called potato scallops in some parts of Australia) are a hat tip to corner store fish n' chips.

Seafood pasta variations, meat dishes and some stand-alone fish options also grace the menu. But The Rock Special is ample and leaves this diner no room for dessert - just a top up in the glass to help the eyes relax on the ridiculously beautiful view.

A table over, British customer Rachel Coffey journeyed here after seeing a photo of The Rock. "I just have to come," she says.

"It's on a 50 things to do before you die list but I decided I needed to do it twice."

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Floating back to earth on the slow boat back to shore this correspondent agrees. Viewed from the beach under the soft light of the setting sun, it's hard to take your eyes off this ridiculously beautiful tropical coral outcrop restaurant in the sea.

Advice: come at sunset and consult the moon - high tide recommended.

More Information

The Rock Restaurant, Zanzibar

+255 777 835 515

www.therockrestaurantzanzibar.com

See also: The world's 10 most stunning restaurant locations

See also: The 50 dishes every traveller needs to try once

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