Eating in Nigeria is an exciting experience, with Nigerian food offering many styles – it is as rich and varied as the culture and history of the country’s people. There are numerous places to try traditional Nigerian cuisine, but the major cities are cosmopolitan and multicultural, and have numerous international restaurants. These offer tastes from Asia and India, Europe and America, and often the décor takes on the theme of the cuisine in which they specialise.
Why not try some of these international favourites in Lagos, from a snack to a multi-course meal!
This offers excellent Thai and other Asian dishes flavoured with traditional lemon grass, coconut, basil and ginger, including authentic green and red curries and tom yum goong (hot and sour soup). The little pineapple treat at the end of the meal is a refreshing dessert. The décor is nothing fancy, but it has an informal setting with efficient service and friendly owners, and diners can be guaranteed a well-priced traditional meal.
244a Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 461 9124
This very popular restaurant and sports bar offers a good combination of Italian cuisine, American burgers and imported steaks plus a tempting choice of cocktails – some of which are named after famous sporting legends. With a décor of sports memorabilia and 15 large-screen TVs, this is the place to come and see the “big match”, and it also has a sports betting facility, so a fun atmosphere is guaranteed.
13 Kasumu Ekemode Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 819 051 9516
With a modern, bright interior, a lounge area of comfortable couches and a pleasant garden, this is just as good for a cappuccino and a cupcake as it is for a full-on Mediterranean-inspired meal such as Italian pasta and pizza. The hearty sandwiches are also good as the bistro bakes its own bread, and it’s popular for Sunday brunch of eggs Florentine or Benedict. The Rose Garden flower shop adjoins the restaurant.
273b Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 877 6622
Named after the green gin bottles strewn around the restaurant that were thrown overboard into the Niger Delta by drunken sailors and traders in the 19th century and retrieved many years later, this lively restaurant has a pub atmosphere and is famous for its frozen margaritas. The menu features Tex-Mex, burgers, chicken wings and imported steaks. Live bands play on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
8 Imam Agusta Close, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 80 8880 4116 or 0700 BOTTLES (2688537)
Always popular with a lively, mixed crowd of Nigerians and expats, this serves pub grub such as burgers, potato wedges with dips, chilli con carne, chicken wings and club sandwiches, and is especially known for its sweet and savoury filled crepes. The décor is modern and bright, with African art adorning the walls, and there’s a fully-stocked bar.
1296 Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 803 304 9104
With a cheerful, informal ambience and tables on the bank overlooking the Five Cowrie Creek and the passing boats and jet skis, this café-restaurant is open from breakfast to dinner and has an extensive menu that should suit all tastes and budgets. Snacks include Indian and Lebanese finger food, while main meals feature pasta, steaks and Tex-Mex. There is also a great bakery – definitely try the cheesecake.
20-24 Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 802 777 7666
A glitzy French-style patisserie serving sandwiches, burgers, huge salads with all the trimmings, ice cream, muffins, divine handmade chocolates, pastries, fresh cream cakes and good cappuccino. The waiting staff glide around in crisp white uniforms, and there’s Wi-Fi and a breezy outside terrace. Given that it’s always packed, there’s a buzzy atmosphere.
267a Etim Inyang Crescent, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 271 4165
The first Brazilian restaurant in Lagos serving all-you-can-eat barbecued meat dishes that waiters carve off skewers onto your plate, accompanied by garlic bread and a selection from the salad bar. Churrasco is Portuguese for a cut of steak or grilled meat and it’s cooked in an open pit of coals referred to as a churrasqueira. There are views over Five Cowrie Creek from the picture windows.
1c Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 790 8282
Cowrie Restaurant and Bar in B-Jay’s Hotel
This is an L-shaped room with one arm as the bar and the other as the restaurant, with earthy décor and enormous leather sofas. The cuisine is continental and Nigerian, there’s a full buffet on Wednesday and Sunday accompanied by live music, and low-calorie dishes are a speciality. The hotel is popular with international businesspeople.
24 Samuel Manuwa Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 270 4861
De Marquee Restaurant & Lounge Bar
Located on the 4th floor of the popular Mega Plaza Mall in the shopping district of Victoria Island, this upscale restaurant and bar has incredible views of the Lagos skyline, and is spread over two floors with the restaurant downstairs and the glass-covered bar on the top. The menu features international dishes like New Zealand rack of lamb and Argentina-style grilled chicken, and there’s a long list of imported drinks. A live band performs on Sunday afternoon.
Mega Plaza Mall, 14 Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 803 088 9696
Foods of the Sun at the Eko Hotel
With a small but sophisticated menu, this is one of the best French and European restaurants in Lagos, with daily chef’s specials and the finest of French wines. Try a starter of goose liver pâté with caramelised apples, followed by a main course of veal, lamb or crocodile. The atmosphere is relaxed and the beautiful décor echoes a Parisian gourmet restaurant.
Eko Hotel, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 262 4600–19
Upstairs from Piccolo Mondo, this is considered Lagos’s best and most refined Japanese restaurant, with traditional décor including a Japanese-style low seating room. The contemporary menu is unique and super-creative, and as well as perfectly-crafted sushi and a teppanyaki grill, signature dishes include panko salmon, goma-ae spinach salad and chicken yaki udon. The informative waiting staff are on hand to take you through the menu.
19b Idejo Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 706 222 2222
Johnny Rockets is an international restaurant chain, providing the food, fun and friendliness reminiscent of a feel-good American diner. Menu favourites include juicy hamburgers and hot dogs, classic sandwiches and creamy shakes and malts. Jollof rice and a couple of other Nigerian staples have been added to the menu to appeal to the local market. Diners can enjoy an all-American look and feel with table-top jukeboxes and authentic décor.
1411 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 708 795 8787
Decorated with red painted walls, bamboo furniture and lots of oriental ornaments to create a distinct Chinese look, this is one of the most popular Chinese restaurants on Victoria Island, with a very long menu of all the favourites. There’s a strong emphasis on seafood, and lobster, calamari, prawns and several kinds of fish are cooked in a bewildering number of ways. Traditional desserts include lychees and almond bean curd.
9a Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 270 0248
Strategically located on the busy Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, this is a popular and well-established Chinese restaurant, with typical Chinese décor and authentic food cooked by experienced Chinese chefs at reasonable prices. They specialise in Hunan and Szechuan dishes, which are colourful and spicy – try the fish slice hot soup or shredded pork and green pepper. There’s a VIP section upstairs for private parties or events.
126 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi
Tel: +234 1 461 5800
La Pizza at Manuela Residence
Part of the quiet and secluded Manuela Residence guesthouse on Victoria Island, this serves some of the best pizzas in Lagos, which are always crisp with delicious quality toppings. It’s best to eat outside on the terrace, surrounded by greenery next to the swimming pool. There is also a small deli selling typical Italian products to take home, from wines and cheeses to coffee and homemade gelato.
Manuela Residence, 13 Taslim Elias Close, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 262 2647
This Chinese restaurant at the Oriental Hotel is very elegantly decorated with tables set under pagodas, and has fine views over Five Cowrie Creek. The long menu features the likes of dim sum, spicy prawns and chicken in black bean sauce and there’s a good choice for vegetarians. The Sunday lunch buffet is good value. Also in the hotel is Mayumi, a Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar and a 15-person teppanyaki table.
Lagos Oriental Hotel, 3 Lekki Road, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 280 6600
This is an elegant restaurant with stylish pink and grey modern décor that offers international cuisine. Italian dishes include pesto fettuccine, and the Lebanese mixed grill comes with a side of hummus and pitta bread, while the decadent chocolate fondant – which takes 20 minutes to make from scratch – is worth waiting for. The upstairs lounge doubles as a nightclub as the evening wears on; some nights are Latin dancing or karaoke, and at weekends DJs perform.
19B Idejo Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 792 7922
Rodizzio Restaurant & Bar
For a fun night out, Rodizzio in Ikeja is a lively grill and Brazilian gaucho BBQ restaurant with a one-price, all-you-can-eat meat and salad bar. The buffet includes beef fillet, chicken wings, sausages and ribs, with the option to add seafood. There are house rules, one of which is that forks and knives are optional, and dining is sociable at large round tables. Cocktails range from the flaming to the frozen.
29 Isaac John Street, G.R.A., Ikeja
Tel: +234 701 000 8000
Taking up two whole floors, with the bar on the 3rd storey of the Dream Plaza and the restaurant above, this renowned Chinese restaurant offers views across the city, and contemporary décor. The very long menu features an excellent selection of soups, seafood, tofu, dim sum and stir-fry dishes, and the good-value set menus offer several dishes that are ideal for sharing.
Dream Plaza, 7 Bishop Aboyade Cole Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 461 2056–7 or 790 4388
Sheraton Lagos Hotel
The best choice for dining in Ikeja is the restaurants at the Sheraton. The Crockpot has extensive buffets with speciality themes on some evenings – for example, American BBQ on Wednesday and seafood on Friday. The Pool Terrace Bar serves steaks, burgers and Nigerian meals. La Giara is an Italian restaurant for pizza, pasta, carne and pesce using authentic ingredients; while the informal British-style pub Goodies has live music on most nights and serves snacks until 3 am.
30 Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja
Tel: +234 1 280 0100
Talindo Steak House
Tucked away, with no sign outside, so a bit of a local secret, this is the place to come for juicy, flavoursome steaks (imported from South Africa), but the menu also includes Italian-inspired seafood, fish and chicken dishes and delicious desserts like chocolate brownies and warm apple pie. Upstairs is a nice setting to dine out next to the open-air grill, and there’s live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
7b Karimu Ikotun Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 1 461 3329
The Ice Cream Factory
For informal eating this popular café serves – as the name suggests – over 30 varieties of creamy homemade ice cream, and decadent flavours include butter pecan, pistachio and almond, and cookies and cream. Other desserts include tiramisu and Belgian waffles, while grilled and filled panini (Italian bread rolls) are on the savoury menu and there’s always freshly-brewed coffee. Open until 10 pm.
1613b Omega Bank Avenue, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 702 826 4000
With a smart but cosy interior of giant copper pots and subtle lighting, this offers an extensive and authentic Indian menu accompanied by imported wines. Try the hara bhara kabab (spinach kebab), prawn kalimirch (prawns marinated with black peppercorn), motiyan paneer (cottage cheese in a rich gravy) or macher jhol (spicy fish stew). Popular with an international crowd in the evenings. The banqueting room can be booked by groups to share a selection of dishes.
33 Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island
Tel: +234 708 861 9536
Al Basha Palace
Abuja’s best Lebanese restaurant is family-run with a homely ambience and serves beautifully presented food. The selection of mezze dishes such as hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel and tabbouleh, served with a basket of pitta bread, are ideal to share as a starter. Main courses include leg of lamb, kebabs or moussaka, and traditional Lebanese puddings are topped with pistachios and honey. The service is friendly and speedy.
11 Cassandra Street, off Usuma Street, Maitama
Tel: +234 807 690 9993
BluCabana Restaurant and Café
A stylish building where the dining rooms and bar surround a swimming pool with tables scattered on the wooden deck, this international restaurant is popular for birthdays and events. The menu features light meals like sandwiches, pizzas and burgers, plus more extravagant main courses such as grilled steak and seafood, while rich and gooey desserts include chocolate fondant and crème brûlée. It also has indoor and outdoor kids’ play areas.
Mabushi District, by the Setraco Building
Tel: +234 705 151 1511
Next to the 12-screen cinema at the Silverbird Entertainment Centre, this pleasant café has fine views of Abuja’s skyline and serves excellent coffees from mochas to lattes, real iced tea, and banana, mango, pineapple and coconut smoothies. Light meals include freshly-prepared sandwiches and panini, and chocolate and cherry Danish pastries. There’s also a bar for alcoholic drinks and Wi-Fi is available for a small fee.
3rd Floor, Silverbird Entertainment Centre, 1161 Memorial Drive, Central Business District
Tel: +234 9 2912 125
Café at Dunes
Diners can enjoy a pizza or pasta at this light and airy café in the atrium of the Dunes Center while shopping for international brands at the upscale mall. Most of the delicious desserts and pastries come from Délifrance, a French-style bakery that also has a takeaway outlet in the centre. They import flour from Paris and the croissants, gâteaux, pains au chocolat, brioches, crisp pralines and baguettes are the best in Abuja.
Ground Floor, Dunes Center, 44 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama
Tel: +234 805 545 4545
Located on Minister’s Hill in Abuja’s embassy district, this restaurant in a converted mansion with a leafy garden serves authentic Chinese food with a combination of Schezuan and Cantonese-style cuisine, cooked from scratch in big woks. Typical dishes include chicken with green peppers and cashew nuts, beef in oyster sauce and prawns in hot sauce.
66 Mississippi Street, Off Alvan Ikoku Way, Maitama
Tel: +234 9 413 1451
Ciao Italian Restaurant & Lounge
This is perhaps the best Italian restaurant in Abuja, run by a friendly Italian woman – so you can be guaranteed the generous and tasty dishes are authentic. The menu offers a full range of pasta, pizza and decadent desserts, as well as imported Italian wine and coffee. The décor is trattoria style, with colourful tablecloths and walls strung with onions and garlic.
Jitau Plaza, 1173 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II
Tel: +234 9 780 1435
Here is a little corner of Italy in Wuse II – a cosy restaurant with fine china, large wine glasses and bread baskets. The menu changes daily but features favourites like antipasti, caprese salad, pizza and lasagne. Most ingredients are flown in from Italy, and the adjoining delicatessen sells artichoke hearts, Parma ham, salami, mozzarella and ricotta cheese, olives and wine (including Chianti).
98 Amino Kano Crescent, Wuse II
Tel: +234 705 255 5589
Located on the 5th floor of the Dunes Center (an upmarket shopping mall in Maitama), this has smart, contemporary décor in earthy tones and inventive lighting. It serves excellent Middle Eastern and continental dishes including appetizers, platters and desserts. Try the generous shrimp, Greek or tabbouleh salads followed by chicken wings or lamb kebabs.
5th Floor, Dunes Center, 44 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama
Tel: +234 805 545 4545
Grills In & Out
As the name suggests, this restaurant features open grills, and the décor is bright and informal with diners crowded around the steaming hotplates. The Naija Grill serves grilled meat and seafood accompanied by roasted plantain or yam, while the Mongolian Grill is a concept of dining where you build your own plate of raw ingredients – mutton, duck, beef or chicken, plus numerous vegetables – and then watch it being stir-fried in front of you. Also try the frozen margaritas and daiquiris.
1 Kindia Close, off Bangui Street, Wuse II
Tel: +234 807 316 8682
On the top floor of the K-City Plaza, this inviting restaurant is decorated with polished wooden floors, bamboo walls and potted plants and has a casual atmosphere. It serves Nigerian food such as pounded yam and egusi, jollof rice or fish pepper soup, as well as western dishes such as a generous club sandwich with bacon and avocado or a buffalo mozzarella and rocket salad. A nice touch is the cassava chips to snack on while deciding.
K-City Plaza, 1 Bathurst Street, off Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II
Tel: +234 709 820 9204
This aims for the ambience of an upmarket European café, albeit with African-influenced décor, and has free magazines to read and a small bookshop. The menu features mains of meat dishes served with rice or fries, but it’s a better place to go to grab a generous sandwich or salad and an extravagant coffee or fresh juice and sit out in the sunny garden.
5 Bujumbura Street, off Libreville Street, Wuse II
Tel: +234 702 785 0932
This quality Sri Lankan and Indian restaurant has two locations – one in Wuse II and the other on Jabi Lake, about 10 kilometres west of the city centre, with fine views from the rooftop terrace. Both offer authentic and spicy dishes, with an excellent choice for vegetarians, and you can watch the chefs in the open kitchens. Serendib is the old Arabic name for the island of Sri Lanka, and means “precious stone”.
Ville Regent Hotel, 1247 Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II; Lake Crescent Hotel, 29 Umaru Dikko Street, Jabi
Tel: +234 703 777 3636
Sheraton Abuja Hotel
The Sheraton has a number of quality restaurants including Papillon, which has extensive buffets with speciality themes on some evenings – for example, seafood on Tuesday and Asian on Thursday; Luigi’s has authentic Italian food and décor with a menu of antipasti, pizza, steaks, veal and salmon dishes; the Obudu Grill is a steakhouse offering a variety of cuts of meat; while the Boat House has outside tables next to the swimming pool and an à la carte menu.
Ladi Kwali Way, Maitama
Tel: +234 9 461 2000
This well-established Chinese restaurant has an extensive menu with the usual favourites such as stir-fry beef with oyster sauce and Schezuan-style chicken, as well as seafood specialities including lobster and scallops. The décor is typically Chinese with red lanterns, and diners can watch the Chinese chefs work over their flaming woks.
Zeto Court, Oshogbo Close, off Emeka Anyaoku Street, Garki
Tel: +234 806 095 8818
With the original in Kano, this popular Indian restaurant now has a branch in Abuja and offers a well-priced buffet of 12 to 16 vegetarian, fish and meat dishes on weekday lunchtimes and Friday evenings, and an adventurous à la carte menu at other times. Specialities include rogan josh, matter paneer or channa saag, and, unusually for Nigeria, there are a number of lamb dishes on the menu. The unassuming décor of the restaurant gives it a cosy, family-run feel.
Gwandu Street, Area 11, Garki
Tel: +234 803 450 0653
Transcorp Hilton Hotel
The several restaurants in the Hilton include the Zuma Grill, which has a nice patio for fine dining with a Mediterranean à la carte menu. Bukka offers an extensive Nigerian and continental buffet; the Oriental serves Chinese, Thai and Mongolian (make up your own) stir-fries; while the Fulani Pool Bar, with its thatched roof and African statues, has a tandoori oven and themed BBQ nights.
1 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama
Tel: +234 708 060 3000
Uptown Asian Cuisine & Lounge
With experienced Asian chefs, the menu here is mainly Japanese and Chinese. As well as an extensive choice of main courses, the teriyaki prawns, delicate sushi and tasty wonton and dim sum are ideal to share among a group. The décor in red and gold with Chinese screens is relaxing. Upstairs, sink into the comfortable sofas of the lounge, and enjoy good cocktails from the well-stocked bar. A DJ plays on Friday and Saturday evenings.
176 Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II
Tel: 0809 531 8362
Situated in the heart of Wuse, Tulip Bistro somehow manages to be a little oasis of calm away from the steady heartbeat of Nigeria’s capital. The Bistro is reasonably small but flooded with natural light and stylishly furnished with high wooden chairs and tables, a huge glass fronted display showing all the freshly baked goods on offer and a hand written menu behind the cash desk. Everything is quick to be served and delicious- from the grilled chicken salad which has fast become a fan favourite, to the enormously satisfying classic burger served with perfect French fries. The Bistro also cashes in on Abuja’s insatiable desire for yummy pastries- try any one of their extensive range of muffins and fall instantly in love. The best place to go for a quick lunch, an easy coffee-and-gossip or a short break from whatever life throws at you, Tulip Bistro is a welcome addition to Abuja’s gastronomical scene. Ask nicely and you can even plug your own iPod into the speakers for an extra blast of chill.
3 Bangui St, off Kindia St, Ademola Adetokunbo, Wuse 2
Biobak Kitchen, the home food place, is noted uniquely for African delicacies and continental menus, cooked, preserved and presented in their natural form. This makes her customers prefer going there to eat as if they are in a typical home setting.
Plot 1274 Nkwere Crescent, off Muhammed Buhari way, Garki 2
We all know Abuja has a lot of gardens and lots of spots are also referred to as “The Garden”. However, Located at The River Plate Park lays a lovely relaxed outdoor setting with a great view of Abuja. In the corner, you will see a mini playground for the kids and even some pet rabbits. The Garden has a lot going for it. Serving several nice dishes, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, the garden is known for having the best Pizza in Abuja. Thin crust and very authentic, which is no surprise given the Italian owner. Every night seems to be eventful as the last, as the management keeps it new and fresh. Be it Karaoke happenings, Tex-Mex evenings with Tequila or Nigerian live bands. The Garden is slowly making its way to the top of the list over favorite Abuja hangouts for hungry and life seeking expats and Nigerians alike.
the River Plate Park, 147 Ahmadu Bello Way, Wuse 2
Vanilla Restaurant and Lounge
Vanilla’s menu offers international fusion food, and it has very smart designer interiors and a garden bar where tables are set under raffia ceilings with flowing curtains. Typical dishes include steamed sole with lemon and saffron butter, and Jamaican jerk chicken on a bed of pickled cucumber. There’s a wide selection of cocktails, fine wines, whiskey and cognac. A DJ plays Thursday to Saturday nights.
28 Pope John Paul II Street, Maitama
Tel: +234 810 454 5070
This is an Abuja institution that has been going since 2000, and is popular with Nigerians and expatriates, with a permanently buzzy atmosphere. Set on two floors, it has a rustic feel to it with bare brick walls and a thatched roof over the clay oven/grill area, and eating and drinking is very sociable with everyone sitting at long bench tables. The extensive menu is predominantly Indian, with a wide choice of seafood, lamb, chicken and vegetarian dishes – it’s best to order a number of mains to share.
171 Aminu Kano Crescent, opposite Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II
Tel: +234 9 780 2929 or 780 3000
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