Spinella has the right decor for a quiet outdoor dinner

Thursday March 18 2021
Chicken mango salad at Spinella.

Chicken mango salad at Spinella. PHOTO | COURTESY


The spinel gemstone is the inspiration behind Spinella, a restaurant resting in the prestigious suburbs of Masaki, in Dar es Salaam. Did you know Mahenge, Matombo and Tunduru in Tanzania as well as Tsavo in Kenya are among the few places quality spinel is mined today?

“I am happy today, it’s the first day since we opened and our customers have been mainly female,” Solomon Bisrat says as I place my order of a mango chicken salad. It’s the season in Tanzania where in Dar, you can get the delicious ‘embe dodo’. As I had already munched a heavy lunch, I was looking to have a light but delicious dinner. The ambience here beckoned me to have an auspicious moment.

Bisrat is one of the owners of this eatery, himself a native of Ethiopia. Together with Dickson Chama Shoo and Aslam Popiwala from Tanzania they co-own Spinella.

“Initially we had thought to open early last year with the intention of launching a club and lounge area but coronavirus struck so we had to expand the lounge and operate it as a restaurant.”

Bisrat was shedding light on the journey of Spinella, which was officially launched earlier this year. The ambience of this joint is so serene and tasteful, spinning from a renovation of a residential bungalow in the vicinity.

It turns out the owners of Spinella and the creative genius behind Sanaa Tamu, Joshua Ngowi, are long-time friends. Sanaa Tamu is a showroom for handmade furniture.


Some of the furniture at this restaurant are from Sanaa Tamu like the bar counter made of up-cycled dhow wood.

As a working middle class lady they got me on one thing — décor! Their attention to detail in terms of aesthetics from Spinella’s landscaping design, which allows you to view the sky at night, to a background of thriving flora. Shrubs and flowers give each table an intimate setting that allows one to relax.

The furniture as well doesn’t disappoint. It’s not just the designer pieces from Sanaa Tamu, but also the choice of using unique woods like coconut.

My meal arrived on what was a quiet night with the full moon giving a warm halo over the whole place.

I was ready to devour it. The mango was delicious and the chicken portion in the salad was a good amount. 

The only critique I have for this joint is they need to work on their menu so it’s just as elegant as their ambience.