To experience the most the country has to offer it is well
worth considering eating out in Gambia especially in and around the
resort areas of Kotu, Kololi,
Cape Point & other areas as that
is where the concentration of eateries is at its greatest. The local cuisine
served in these areas tends to be the 'real deal' as
opposed to some of the more bland options served in hotel
restaurants. The capital
of Banjul only has a handful of places.
The first good reason
for eating out locally are that there are dozens of good quality
restaurants in the tourist
resort areas so there is a wide variety of places to eat
serving genuine Gambian dishes as well as international cuisine such as
Italian dishes. Secondly it helps put more
of your tourist money back
into the local economy.
Advice For Eating Out:
entrance to any decent restaurant you will be met by your host or a
member of staff who will greet you and welcome you. Return the
You will very likely be asked if you wish to take your
drinks at the bar,
or be taken straight to your table. It is more sophisticated to take
your time. People in a hurry never enjoy their food, and so do not
obtain value for money.
Take time to appreciate the decor. (At the
Ngala Lodge, for instance,
the design on the front cover of the menu is taken from one of the
stunning acrylic paintings on the wall. They are worth a good look,
and if you look, it makes YOU look good!).
It is extremely suave to return the courtesy and politeness of the
staff. Your snapping of fingers, hissing, or shouting "Boy!", is no
more nor less a demonstration of ignorance and rudeness, and a
distinct lack of savoir-faire.
Any young lady of class who finds herself in the company of a man who
hisses, snaps his fingers at waiters or calls "Boy!" is quite
justified in leaving immediately and having no more to do with such an
restaurants, such as "Al Amir" and "Mamaís" have a regular buffet
which serves as an excellent introduction to the wider selections on
Never approach a buffet in a rush, and do not mix everything up in a
great pile on your plate. (You might resemble an emaciated and
impoverished member of some volunteer force or other.)
This is a buffet!
You can make another visit or two!
No one will call you a glutton if you take little and often giving
yourself the opportunity to savour the various sauces and marinades.
Enjoy your meal. You have all the time in the world, because a good
buffet NEVER runs out of food.
And a final point. Some
restaurants should follow the lead given by
the management of "Waaw" Night Club, who erected a sign
ordering "No Caps". Hats off and three cheers for them!
Any ignorant fool who sits in a restaurant wearing a baseball cap
deserves to have it knocked off into the soup by the Maitre ĎD, who
should then force the transgressor to eat the said cap with a knife
and fork. "
Food writer: Harmattan
Local Barbecues / Afra
other kind of dining out in Gambia, and much appreciated by the locals
particularly in the late evenings, are
the local barbecues or 'Afra'
takeaways. They are normally located on
the roadside and you choose a meat joint of either chicken, lamb or goat
which is then tossed onto a very hot charcoal
grill and cooked with onions and / or a mustard sauce. However in
order to help avoid the dreaded 'Banjul Belly'
it is best to avoid the chicken option.
Beach Bars & Restaurants
are dozens of beach side restaurants which have sprung up over the
past few years as road access to the beaches has improved. The
ingredients used tends to be fresh and
organic and there is the added
benefit of dining while appreciating great sea views. One great place
to try is Solomon's located on Kololi beach about 2 minutes walk from Palma Rima
Hotel. Their fish grills are second to none as they buy there food
directly from Tanji fish market.
Types of Food
cooking consists of rice served with a hot spicy sauce though if
your taste buds can't handle it local
are well able to tone it down for you. The three favourite
culinary delights you should consider trying are 'Chicken
Yassa' (chicken cooked in plenty of onions), 'Domoda'
(beef, chicken or fish cooked in peanut butter) and
(rice cooked in sauce served with chicken, fish or beef and
For everyday meals:
Informal food stalls: Many Gambian women own small food stalls
near their compounds, from which they cook and sell very cheaply
priced sandwiches and Gambian dishes. The fare might include
chicken, steak sandwiches, fish ball sandwiches,
beans (nyambe nyebe), chips, etc.
Rhun Palm Restaurant, run by the Presidentís Award Scheme
(across the road from the Friendship Hotel complex) has
delicious and filling Gambian dishes. In the evening, there is a
full-service restaurant where you can get a sit down meal for
relatively low prices, but the best deal is the large portion of
delicious African food for just over a dollar, served from
afternoon to late evening. Sometimes food is available at the
asking, but it is best to stop over about 45 minutes to an hour
before you are hoping to eat. Chicken Yassa is almost always
available; other dishes such as Domoda or fish Benachin make
appearances as well. About $1.25-$2.70 menu, $0.90 Gambian dish.
is an attractive option if you are in the MDI Road area for
classes. They make sandwiches, soup, and Gambian dishes for
Gambian prices; cold soft drinks are also available. About
$0.55-$1.25 menu, $0.70 Gambian dish.
Garden Restaurant: Plates of African food in the afternoon,
cheap prices, local atmosphere. To the left of the Observer
Newspaper building. About $0.55-$0.70 for a plate.
MacFadi's: American, Lebanese,
and Gambian dishes are sold at this Kairaba Avenue restaurant.
It looks like a fast food place, and indeed the service is
quick. Fare includes wraps, burgers, and chicken wings. Located
across the street from the U.S. Embassy. About $1.80-$4.00. (55)
MacDomaro Pizza: Good brick oven pizza, outside dining, and
friendly service. A plain large pizza (more than enough for one
person) costs about $4.00. Located on Kairaba Avenue in Fajara,
between Garba Jahumpa Road and Badala Highway.
Bamboo Garden Chinese Food: Beautiful setting; the name is apt
for describing the outdoor seating. Good service, delicious
Chinese food. Located in Fajara, off
Kairaba Avenue. Look for the
signs in between Garba Jahumpa Road and Atlantic Road (it is
closer to the Atlantic ocean end).
Luigiís: Said to have the best pizza in The Gambia; also
serve a variety of Italian appetizers and plates. Nice setting,
outdoor seating in view of the ocean.
Malawiís: A great place to hit on Friday night, when they offer
an all-you-can-eat buffet for about $5.70, which includes an
assortment of foods, bordering on American-like (think fried).
The desserts are to die for, cakes and pies and pudding. The
Sunday roast has also had good reviews, itís a little cheaper
than the buffet at about $3.60 per person. Located on the road
behind Kairaba Avenue; the easiest way to reach it is to take
Faculty Building Road and make a right onto the last road before
Kairaba. Look for signs.
Shang-Hi: Good Chinese food at
good prices at a good location, next to St. Maryís Food and Wine
on Kairaba Avenue. About $5.70-$7.10 per plate.
King Burger: Convenient place to eat before a Thursday night
(9:00 pm) cultural performance at neighbouring Palma-Rima Hotel.
A bit pricey; expect to pay at least $5.70 a plate. Good
variety; baguettes and
burgers are highly recommended.
An Indian restaurant of the finest quality.