Visitors flock to Kenya’s Diani Beach for the white sands and ritzy resorts, but the setting sun reveals the splendor of another local gem, Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant. Diners enter through an unassuming, whitewashed facade, then descend 33 feet underground to enjoy their meals in an ancient coral cave with a wide mouth overhead for excellent stargazing.
Located in a cave thought to be between 120,000 and 180,000 years old, Ali Barbour’s takes dining al fresco to a whole other dimension. In the evenings, the restaurant glows in the muted light of candles, and diners’ eyes are naturally drawn to the twinkling stars above. (Sliding covers are drawn to create a makeshift roof in inclement weather.)
Founded by George and Jackie Barbour in the 1980s and named as a play on “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” the restaurant is designed to keep the natural elements of the cave intact, with only the kitchen and bathrooms modified for modern uses. Though the menu is international, seafood is the specialty. You can dine on a meal caught in the Indian Ocean, mere feet from your table, and possibly at the same sea level.