Influenced by an array of tribal traditions and culinary diversity, Nigerian fare fuses together a variety of recipes rooted in a rich culture. The dining scene of capital city, Abuja, blends together typical African flavors with various European cuisines. We list the top 10 places to try this mix.
Salamander Café is a favorite spot for the expatriate community in Abuja, but its cool vibe attracts native crowds as well. Located in the district of Wuse II, both the café’s shady outside terrace and its indoor space provide a homely feel, whether you find yourself at a table or nestled in one of the soft-cushioned sofas. Featuring its own little bookshop, guests can browse through bookshelves and attend one of the regular poetry readings. The menu offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, including a variety of international and local dishes.
When you dine at Wakkis, you can watch your food being prepared by a busy team at work in the open kitchen. Housed in a hut-like niche made of bricks, wooden poles and straw, the kitchen’s core lies in its open charcoal pit, on which many dishes are prepared. Wakkis is now located in Wuse II and here it focuses on bringing the flavors of Indian cuisine to the Nigerian capital. Spanning different cuisines from the Indian subcontinent, the menu is particularly strong on classics such as murgh malaiand tandoori chicken.
Situated within a high-end complex that includes a beauty parlor, swimming pool, and gym, BluCabana offers both indoor and outdoor seating, the latter along the edges of the pool’s waters. Food includes international appetizers and mains with a strong Lebanese influence, the menu spans different world cuisines to include pastas, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and succulent dishes from the barbecue which include fish suya, a Nigerian favorite, consisting of grilled skewered meat coated with spices.
Housed within the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in central Abuja, Bukka’s airy dining hall is full of natural light coming in through the large windows, light flooring and dark wooden furnishings. All of which give it a refinement in which to enjoy the flavors of the traditional cuisine of Nigeria. The menu offers local dishes based on the classic ingredients typical of Nigerian cooking such as oha soup, based on the vegetable from which it takes its name, yam porridge, plantains, and goat meat, while at the buffet, guests can also choose from a large choice of continental favorites.
The Charcoal Grill and Restaurant is situated in Aminu Kano Crescent, in Wuse II. Decorated in a contemporary style, this large restaurant consists of an indoor hall, and an outdoor covered terrace. Renowned for its chicken dishes, as its name suggests, the Charcoal’s strength resides in its grilled specialties. The selection of burgers, grilled seafood, alongside the infused tilapia, are among its customers’ favorite dishes. Also open for breakfast, the Charcoal offers lighter local delicacies such as grilled plantains, known as bole.
Vanilla’s cuisine fuses together notes from different cuisines around the world. Starters of peanut chicken kebab and spring rolls can be found on the menu alongside international mains such as the coconut chicken curry and Jamaica jerk chicken. Pork chops in apple gravy and curried goat go hand-in-hand with dishes from the African tradition such as ofada rice, with tomato and pepper sauce, locust bean seeds and beef, and jollof rice, a Nigerian dish prepared with tomato sauce, coleslaw, and plantain, to go with either chicken or prawns.
Jevinik in Abuja prides itself on being part of a group of restaurants with ten branches spread across Nigeria’s major cities. All specialize in fusing together the best of African specialties in their cuisines. The variety of traditional tribal recipes is immediately visible on the restaurant’s menu, which combines the richness of the different local cooking styles with continental options as well. Set in an ample dining hall where the decor is rustic, Jevinik provides its guests with a warm ambience too.
Located in the Maitama district, the Dunes Centre encompasses a selection of stylish quality shops, boutiques, pastry shops, cafés and restaurants. Among these, Dunes Continental stands out as an elegant eatery and one of the favorites restaurants in Abuja. Decorated with elegant tables and chairs in the tones of brown and cream, Dunes is warmed by soft lights reflecting on the wooden decor. Featuring strong Middle Eastern accents, the menu draws together a fusion of flavors from across the world, and dishes such as fattoush, kibbeh, and sujuk appear on the side of crispy tempura prawns and Provençal wings.
Chef Victor is the mastermind behind the creative fusion of French and African fare presented at his eponymous restaurant. After a career spent between his native Togo and Burkina Faso first and then in Europe, the chef established himself in Abuja and opened Chez Victor in 2005. In a red-hued, dimly lit interior full of classy ambience, chef Victor welcomes his guests and prepares elaborate dishes with ornate presentation. On the menu, the names of French dishes such as the entrecôte royale, or the filet de bar à la sauce Duglaire, blend with those of the traditional African soups and meat dishes, such as the chicken pepper soup or the poulet (chicken) Yassa, marinated in wine and spices.