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Mama Oliech Restaurant tops Idris Elba’s favorite African eateries

By Winnie Mabel January 25th, 2023 2 min read

Hollywood actor Idris Elba, a Briton with Ghanaian and Sierra Leonean roots, has revealed that the restaurant he would recommend to anyone visiting Nairobi is Mama Oliech’s restaurant located in the up market neighborhood of Hurlingham.

According to Ebony Magazine, Idris and his Somali-Canadian wife, Sabrina, said Mam Oliech’s restaurant was one of the places they visited, loved and would recommend people to head her way and try their Ugali (maize meal) and kachumbari as well (a salad made of onions, tomatoes and dhania with a splash of lemon juice and little salt.)

The restaurant is renowned for its fish and was owned and was established by the mother of former Kenya international footballer Dennis Oliech. Oliech’s mother, Mama Mary Auma, has since died but the restaurant continues to thrive.

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“Africa is the future… anyone who hasn’t visited Africa yet is really missing out. There’s truly something for everyone. It’s a chance to connect with cultures and people whose beauty is unimaginable,” said Idris and Sabrina.

A year after his mother died, Oliech opened up another Mama Oliech eatery in Nairobi’s Westlands area, another upmarket hub in the city. He was also the financier of the first Mama Oliech restaurant.

This is the same restaurant that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited on his first trip to Kenya in September 2016 as part of his Sub Saharan Africa visit to meet entrepreneurs. He too enjoyed a meal of fried fish, ugali and green vegetables.

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“I had lunch in Nairobi with Joseph Mucheru, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Information and Communications (now former). We talked about internet access and his ambitious plans for connecting everyone in Kenya. We ate at Mama Oliech Restaurant – a local place everyone recommended. One of my favorite parts of traveling to a new country is trying the food. I enjoyed ugali and a whole fried tilapia for the first time and loved them both!” said Mr Zuckerberg.

Another of its world famous patrons is former United States of America president Barack Obama who got to enjoy Mama Oliech’s fish during his visit to his ancestral home in K’Ogelo, Siaya County, after leaving the Oval Office in the White House. The fish was prepared by Dennis’ sister, Lilian, who has been running the Hurlingham branch since their mother’s demise.

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