“One bomber detonated himself in the restaurant, then another blew himself up just outside, killing 14,” said security official Mohamed Dahir Abdulle.
The attack, the latest in the war-ravaged city where the hardline Shabaab have vowed to topple the government, was one of the first to target several new upmarket restaurants recently set up by the Somali diaspora.
“There are 14 people killed by two misguided criminals,” the state-run Radio Mogadishu said in a broadcast, adding that around 20 more were badly wounded in the blast.
Those killed included three Somali journalists, with at least four others wounded, press rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.
While there was no indication that journalists had been a specific target, RSF said the restaurant was well known as a popular place for the media.
The deaths take the number of journalists killed this year in Somalia to 12, surpassing 2009 when nine died as the “deadliest year” on record, it said.
“There were many wounded, many of them with severe wounds,” said Hassan Ibrahim Abdullahi, who was in the restaurant at the time.
Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage told AFP the bombing was carried out by the group’s supporters.
“Action has been taken by sympathisers of the Shabaab who were angry with the situation in Somalia, especially the intervention by foreign troops,” he said.