Right up my alley...lived in Mombasa for 6 months in 2009 and had a blast.
Whereabouts will you be staying? There's lots of options at each end of the spectrum:
1) Seafood - Tamarind is most famous for this, however aquamarine in Mtwapa is also worth a visit and they have a free shuttle service
2) Ali baba's in south coast is a unique experience, the restaurant is inside a natural cave
3) Love the food at the beach side bar at Al Manara in South Coast, nomads is also a good place to spend an afternoon
4) Yuls in north coast is a standby favourite, great lobster and proper thin crust, brick fired pizza's
5) Il covo is a great beachside bar, again has good pizza's and sushi
6) Japanese tepenyaki is available at misono, i find they also have the freshest tuna
7) La veranda behind nakumaat nyali is a firm italian favourite, huge portions
8) Mombasa is really famous for its indian barbeque food - kebabs, tikkas etc, served in dingy little cafe's but well worth it. There's one in kizingo called shamura's i think, and a couple in nyali, one in the shopping centre where there's a place called fishette that does average fish and chips but a great kheema naan, and one opposit it on the corner. Have it with fresh bongo juice, a local favourite
9) If you venture into old town mombasa. you'll find things like kachri bateta (spicy potato curry, served with crisps and seva and tamarind chutney) and fagia mushkaki (very tender miniscule portions of lamb barbequed on a charcoal grill)
10) Lighthouse is another firm favourite with the locals, you go there to have fresh madafu (green coconut), roasted sweet potatoes and casava served with lemon, salt and chilli, fried casava crisps and heart of palm
I would recommend going for the sundowner cruise on the tamarind dhow.
If there is a particular cuisine, item that you are looking for, please let me know as there are plenty of items I haven't included in this list.
Hope this helps
Just got to Mombasa today and we will be staying in the central area, on Meru Rd near Nyerere. I will likely splurge on Tamarind or the cruise since I'm no longer planning on going to Carnivore (as you saw on my other post). Other than that, I've looked up most of the other recommendations you made and they are a bit too out of the way (South/East Coast), since I won't be here for too long. I couldn't find Lighthouse in the directory and the hotel staff hadn't heard of it, so I sadly probably can't make it there unless you can give me some more direction. :)
I wandered a bit around Old Town today but didn't get anything to eat as it was still early. Would you recommend a certain place? Do you prefer the dine-in options or did you find the street stalls just as good? I am eager to try as much of the local specialties as possible. Thanks for your advice!!!
Lighthouse is a place, not reallyt a restaurant, any taxi driver should be able to help.
Stall food is fine as long as its cooked, follow your nose and you should be fine.
La Verandah etc are on Bamburi beach which is 20 minutes by taxi from where you are.
On Moi avenue there is a place called Rosina's that does some great chicken wings
You can go to Blue room in town for a reasonable priced meal, it does lots of snack foods and is popular with the locals
If you want a decent steak, go down to hunters, its just past Tamarind, and for rich North Indian curry, served 'dhaba' style you can go to singhs restaurant, which is close to where you are.
Hope this helps