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, Bakau, 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 Indian,
Chinese and Italian
dishes. Secondly it helps put more of your tourist money back
into the local economy.
Advice For Eating Out:
the 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 greeting.
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
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 uncouth lout.
Many restaurants, such as "Al
Amir" and "Mama’s"
have a regular buffet which serves as an excellent introduction
to the wider selections on their menus.
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
Any ignorant fool who sits in a restaurant wearing a baseball
cap deserves to have it knocked off into the soup by the Maitre
‘D, who should then force the transgressor to eat the said cap
with a knife and fork. "
Food writer: Harmattan
Local Barbecues / Afra
The 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 dreaded travellers'
diarrhoea it is best to avoid the chicken option.
Beach Bars & Restaurants
There 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
Most Gambian cooking consists
of rice served with a hot spicy sauce though if your taste buds
can't handle it local restaurants 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 Jollof
Rice or 'Benachin' (rice cooked in sauce served with chicken,
fish or beef and vegetables).
| Restaurant Costs
||3 course meal
||£3-5 per person
||£6-17 per person
||£18+ per person
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, cassava and beans (nyambe
nyebe), chips, etc.
Restaurant, run by the President’s 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.
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.
Garden Restaurant: Plates of African food in the afternoon,
cheap prices, local atmosphere. To the left of the Standard Newspaper
• 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.
• MacDomaro Pizza: Good brick oven pizza, outside dining, and
friendly service. A plain large pizza (more than enough for one
person). Located on Kairaba Avenue in Fajara, between Garba Jahumpa
Road and Badala Highway.
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).
• Luigi’s: 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
• Malawi’s: A great place to hit on Friday night, when they offer
an all-you-can-eat buffet 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, it’s a little cheaper than the buffet. 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.
• Shanghai: Good Chinese food at good prices at a good location
near the Palma Rima Junction, Kololi.
• 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.
• Butcher Shop
• Clay Oven
An Indian restaurant of the finest quality.