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Restaurant Review: CJs Nairobi CBD

CJ’s is one of the top-rated restaurants not only in CBD but Nairobi at large, with a 4.6-star rating from over 10,000 diners there’s something special about CJ’s; for context, there is no other restaurant with 10,000 ratings and still above 4.5 ratings; this post is a review of the restaurant and the popular menu items.

CJs is an abbreviation for the original restaurant name, Cafe Javas

Pasta | Instagram @cjs254
Pasta | Instagram @cjs254

Don’t believe the hype about CJ’s being a hidden gem – it’s no secret to anyone with a pulse in  Nairobi. If you like food or stroll around a lot, then CJ’s is a name that has crossed your path somehow.

πŸ“Location

From the crowd of packed diners to the envious gazes of passersby admiring the stylish decor, this place is anything but obscure. In this post is me trying to claim that CJ’s is the ultimate dining spot, especially in  Nairobi CBD

This review will be specific to the  Nairobi CBD branch and may vary slightly from other branches, so keep that in mind


A Summary of CJs Nairobi CBD

Ambiance: Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(4.5)

Menu: Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(5)

Food: Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(4.5)

Service: Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†(4)

Pricing & Value: Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(5)

Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5


CJ’s Overview

Hey, I know you are here for everything else about CJ’s but a history or geography class, so I will keep this as short as humanly possible.

The story of CJ’s starts in UgandaCJ’s there is known as Cafe Javasnot Jarvis from Iron Man you toxic Marvel fan.

In Kenya is literally the abbreviation. 9 locations in Uganda and over 5 in  Nairobi. The  Nairobi locations include;

● CJ’s CBD- Koinange Street

● CJ’s Karen- Waterfront Mall

● CJ’s Kilimani

● CJ’s Gigiri- Village Market

● CJ’s Mombasa Rd- Imaara Mall

The budget per person is just under KSh 2,000 if you order reasonable items. Sometimes a meal can cost under KSh 1,000 if you go really simple. For instance, loaded fries and a cocktail will be just KSh 800


Ambiance

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(4.5)

CJ’s is an Instagram-worthy restaurant, not that I care for that,  but you just may (for your bragging rights). It has the perfect balance of trendy, casual, and official with a fancy touch. 

It is located in Koinange Street,(the child me could not read this street name without smirking like an idiot- back in the day). 

From the outside, it is a one-storey building with the top floor entirely glass walls. The yellow-orange lights shine through and will make you twist your neck to have another view more so if you weren’t going inside, especially at dusk.

As you step into the door, the inside welcomes you with a blend of both modern and aesthetic vibes, some greenery, and not overly done decor

The ambiance screams, “Hey, we take our food seriously, but we’re not  going to make you feel like you’re attending a black-tie event.”

You will fit in no matter what, causal? Official? Looking homeless? (like me and Kanye do); You just won’t feel out of place. 

The furniture is standard and fairly comfortable, I don’t know why people review washrooms, that is kind of weird to me.


Menu Items

Breakfast | Instagram @cjs254
Breakfast | Instagram @cjs254

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(5)

Each menu item is crafted with detail, be sure of the same consistency at any time. I can’t speak of consistency across the branches. I can only vouch for the consistency at the specific location I’ve frequented(CBD), as I haven’t had the pleasure of exploring their other branches.

Now let’s explore the menu. There are over 300 menu items in CJ’s but in this post, we will just generalize as a category. Separate posts on each individual item coming, sign up for the blog posts if you are interested. 

●  Breakfast Menu:

  •  Breakfast Combos: A breakfast meal that is loaded with basics you will have on your breakfast table. Not very basic like tea and bread, just more and a little fancier, I think it is more than basic. For every combo, you get at least 3 different items which is neat. 
  •  Fruitful Mornings: Literally fruits, different shapes, and sizes, I appreciate the effort that goes into sourcing and preparing the fruits; but seriously, I am not paying KSh 500 for a fruit salad.
  •  Designer Omelettes: Spinach & Mushroom, Spanish Omelette & Chicken Fajita Omelette
  •  Amazing Muffins: Vanilla, Chocolate, and Banana  flavored
  •  Pastries: Croissants: Samosas, Spring Rolls
  •  Pancakes & Waffles: 
  •  Extras: Sausages, Toast, Fried Egg, Plantain(Roasted or Fried), Baked Beans and Chapatis
  •  Kids Menu

● Mains Meals:

  •  Starters & Appetizers: Samosas, Spring Rolls, and Wings
  •  Bites: SamosasChips Masala, Chips, Fried Plantain, Onion Rings, Sweet Potato Fries
  •  Soups: Tomato, Mushroom, Lentil, Chicken, Butternut Squash, and Chicken Noodle soups
  •  Salads: Over 11 salads to choose from. The common ones are, Caesar’s Salad, BBQ ranch, and  Greek Salad
  •  Sandwiches: Chicken Pesto, Cheese & Tomato, Cuban, Philly Cheese Steak, and more
  •  Burgers: Traditional Vegetarian, Mexican, Chicken, Beef, and more
  •  Chicken: Skewers, Tenders, Caribbean Jerk, Wings, Grilled Breast, Stir Fried Chicken
  •  Fish: Grilled Tilapia, Fish Fingers, Stir Fried Tilapia, Cajun Tilapia
  •  Beef: Beef Steak, Beef Mushroom Steak, Pepper Beef Steak
  •  Curries: Veggie Curry, Fish Curry, Thai Peanut Curry, Shrimp Curry, Beef Curry, Chicken Korma
  •  Pasta: Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Pesto, Chicken Parmesan, Shrimp Pasta, Tuscan Chicken, Pasta Primavera, Chipotle Chicken
  •  Pizza: BBQ Chicken, Supreme Chicken, Chicken Hawaiian, Jerk Chicken, Margherita, Nyama Feast, Mexican Chicken, Supreme Beef
  •  Mex-Fix: This the CJ’s Mexican menu. It offers; Tacos, Fajitas, and Quesadillas
  •  Combo Meals: Served with carbs of choice, meat of choice, salad, and a drink on the side

● Drinks: 

  •  Hot Beverages: Coffee, hot chocolate, and tea, coffee beverages served include; cappuccino, latte, and mocha. If you wanna explore more coffee drinks with detailed descriptions check this post; 10+ Common Types of Coffee Drinks: Know Your Coffee
  •  Iced Coffee: Iced Mocha and Iced Latte
  •  Iced Tea: Strawberry, Lemon, Peach, Passion, Lemon, Kiwi & Berry Vanilla
  •  Lemonades: Strawberry, Peach, Kiwi, Classic, Blue Lagoon
  •  Coladas: Strawberry, Pinacolada, Peach, Passion
  •  Mojitos: Strawberry, Passion, Kiwi, Classic, Strawberry Peach & Passion Fuse
  •  Dawa Tea: Mint Dawa, Basil Dawa, Classic Dawa, Cinnamon Garlic Dawa
  •  Specialty Juices: Watermelon, Turmeric Twist, Pineapple & Mint, Pineapple, Passion, Orange & Carrot, Orange, Mango, Beetroot Mango & Carrot, Beetroot
  •  Fruit Boosters:  Mango Madness, Aloha
  •  Smoothies: Tropical, Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Very Berry, 
  •  Milkshakes: Red Velvet, Oreo, Vanilla, Tropical, Chocolate, Strawberry, Brownie, Caramel, Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Mocha

Full menu here


Food Review

cjs restaurant review
Tacos | Instagram @cjs254

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(4.5)

And now the food, perhaps the reason why you will set your foot there;

a) Compliments

  •  Superior pizza compared to your average pizza chain. The crust is crusty, probably crustier than a Krusty Krab’s Pizza,(did you see what I did there huh?). The cheese is gooey and it cheeses(stretches smoothly), and each bite is harmonious. You get every topping taste and texture in a single bite.
  •  When CJ’s names a menu item “Big on Breakfast,” they aren’t kidding around. They truly live up to their name. So if breakfast dates are your thing, can’t go wrong here. They ain’t for me because I’m a grumpy cat in the morning.
  •  In drinks lemonades, mojitos and iced tea are so refreshing, back in the day someone I knew got obsessed, almost addicted to the peach iced tea and I totally understand. Milkshakes are silky velvety and heavenly. 
  •  Most pasta dishes are good, if you find yourself longing for a taste of Italy or simply craving some creamy Alfredo or good ol’ pasta goodness, can’t go wrong with CJ’s, just twirl your fork

b) Complaints

  •  Mashed potatoes were the only underwhelming item in my opinion; that I have ever tried. Expecting fluffy clouds of mashed perfection, I was instead greeted with a sad-looking mound. The flavor fell flat as well, leaving me with a rather bland and forgettable taste.
  •  When it comes to the fish portions at CJ’s, be prepared for a bit of a stingy relationship. Yes, they might not win any awards in this generosity sector, but here’s the twist: they taste so darn good that you’ll conveniently forget about the portion size issue.

c) Verdict

Overall, CJ’s Restaurant offers a memorable dining experience with; outstanding pizza, amazing breakfast options, refreshing drinks, and satisfying pasta dishes. The overall quality of the food and flavors is enough to keep you coming back for more. 


 Pricing & Value

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…(5)

While CJ’s may not be the most budget-friendly option, it has the best value for its budget class; in terms of food quality, generous quantities(that will have you packing leftovers), and overall experience.


Service

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†(4)

I will say service is not mind-blowing or exceptional, but not average either, it is just in between– excellent enough not to complain

I feel like the service will be better if the place was less crowded. Waiters and waitresses are normally in a hurry and busy attending to multiple customers. So don’t expect to get that personalized attention, employ gesture use if you need anything.

The attentiveness however is excellent,(The kind where you drop a spoon they get you another in less than 30 seconds- without you even asking)

In conclusion, I think CJ’s meets the service expectations of a well-run restaurant 


Compromises

  •  Overcrowding: I understand this is not a CJ’s problem, can’t really blame them for making good food that has a good value thus attracting many customers, as said in the intro; this is not a hidden gem or if it was ever, it is no longer. It is so serious that I have never gotten a table upstairs so that I can look down on everyone on the streets.
  •  Wait time: Again can’t really blame them on this, the place is normally packed especially at lunch hours, and even worse on special events like holidays. It gets so bad that you have to wait outside before you get a table inside.

Tips & Suggestions

If you want to take in both the food and the  Nairobi view, get the upstairs table. You can manage this by visiting at off-peak hours and getting a  side spot with zero obstructions. Yes, that magical time when the masses haven’t yet swarmed in like hungry locusts.


Thoughts

I will personally rate Cj’s a solid overall 4.6 out of 5

I’m feeling generous because they are too with food portions…a soul for a soul

At CJ’s Restaurant, it’s clear that their focus is on delivering exceptional food rather than relying solely on extravagant decor and ambiance as their selling point. One thing I hate about restaurants is focusing on extravagant decor while leaving food quality in the dark. 

Personally, I’m not a decor and art person, so I don’t really care for it. Even if I was, food quality will be my primary priority because if I wanted real art, I would go to the museum or pale Archives

It’s refreshing to find a restaurant that doesn’t get caught up in unnecessary embellishments and instead put its energy into culinary masterpieces.

CJ’s has established a reputation for serving food that surpasses most of the higher-priced establishments in taste and quality,(I can name like 10).Β So, if you’re looking for a restaurant that prioritizes food over stupid decor, CJ’s is the place to be. Best balance between quality and affordability

Follow Cj’s KE on Instagram

Cj’s KE Website


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