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
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
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
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.
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
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),
chicken or fish cooked in peanut butter) and
or 'Benachin' (rice cooked in sauce served with chicken,
fish or beef and vegetables).
||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.
• 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.
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
Garden Restaurant: Plates of African food in the
afternoon, cheap prices, local atmosphere. To the left
of the Standard Newspaper building.
• 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.
A diner on Fajara
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
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.
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.
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
Shop: Moroccan & international cuisine served
in Fajara on the main road.
• Clay Oven:
An Indian restaurant of the finest quality in the Fajara