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A Guide to Eating Out in Gambia
 
  Restaurants    Brief Review    Things to Do   Food & Drink Safety
Local Restaurants
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:
"At 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 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 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 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 ‘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
• Budget £3-5 per person
• Middle-range £6-17 per person
• High-end £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.

Rhun Palm 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.

YMCA 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.

Safari Garden Restaurant: Plates of African food in the afternoon, cheap prices, local atmosphere. To the left of the Standard Newspaper building.

More expensive:
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.

Leybato:

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).

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 the ocean.

• 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.
   
 
   











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