As the most populous city in Nigeria, Lagos is one of Africa’s most eclectic mega-cities. Named after the Portuguese word for ‘lagoon’ due to its geographical composition of islands and sand spits, Lagos has a turbulent political history and was stripped of its capital city status in 1991. However, Lagos still remains Nigeria’s definitive city of culture, thanks to its art, music and cuisine. Here are 10 places to get the taste of Lagos.
Celebrating Lagos’ European culinary influences is Villa Medici. This restaurant has been developing its reputation and status in Lagos for its cultured cuisine for the last 15 years and, as a result, has become a firm favourite among local and global food lovers. The menu has a prominent French flavour, with frogs’ legs and escargots a la bourgignonneamong the highlights of les hors d’oeurve. These intercontinental dishes are perfectly accompanied by an extensive and exquisite drinks menu of wines and cocktails. There are also el fresco and private dining options, for that extra special and memorable Lagos dining experience.
Villa Medici, 1, Alhaji Babatunde Jose Road, Festival Road, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. +234 7098 003133
Opening its doors in 2009, Métisse brings a fusion of Asian flavours to Lagos. Priding itself on being the first and only pan-Asian restaurant in the city, Métisse is situated on the second floor of the AIM Plaza, between its sibling eateries Café Royal and Chocolat Royal. With its sea themed décor, exotic food and cocktail menu, Métisse achieves its aim of blending the tastes of the Orient and Asia with the seascapes of Lagos. Chilli prawn and Mongolian beef are among Métisse’s renowned dishes. There is often live music, which punctuates an evening in this restaurant’s ambience and setting.
Lagos’ premier arts, education and food centre, Terra Kulture has been an important and leading promoter of Nigerian culture since 2004. The food court at Terra Kulture celebrates the very best of Nigerian cuisine, offering an ample choice of locally grown and traditional gastronomic delights, such as the ofada rice, catfish and boiled yam or plantain. Not only is the food quintessentially Nigerian, but so is the food court’s décor of hand-crafted wooden furniture, and even the waiter’s uniforms. When visitors have finished dining, they can also feast on the rich Nigerian art on display in the adjoining gallery space by travelling across the bridge located in the restaurant.
Away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos is an oasis of calm and solitude called The Jazzhole. A trinity of culture, The Jazzhole is an iconic record shop, a renowned book store and a cutting edge café. Beginning in the 1980s selling vinyls, The Jazzhole has grown into the ultimate cultural retreat in Lagos. Their café offers nearly forty varieties of tea in individual tin teapots, and are sumptuously complemented by their freshly made sandwiches and cakes. The Jazzhole invites visitors to sit back, relax, sip ginger tea, and escape chaotic city life with the help of live jazz and soul performances.
Eko Sky Restaurant and Lounge
Providing another way to take a break from the busy streets of Lagos is the Sky Restaurant and Lounge at the Eko Hotel, the highest restaurant throughout the city. With unbeatable views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean, the Sky Restaurant and Lounge transports diners on a round the world tour, with Nigerian, Asian, European and North American bites available, suiting any culinary palette. The worldly cuisine is complemented by their delectable wine and cocktail range, and together with the restaurant’s tranquil and serene atmosphere, the Sky Restaurant and Lounge makes it to the top of any visitor’s list.
The Yellow Chilli
Returning to more traditional African dishes with a contemporary twist is one of Lagos’ newest restaurants, The Yellow Chilli. For those feeling adventurous, The Yellow Chilli’s menu offers exciting options such as Isi-Ewu, which is goats head pieces drizzled with a spicy palm oil broth, and their yam pottage special with beef and snail. There are also continental plates available, resulting in a diverse menu that fuses the very best of local and international gastronomy. With two bars, a large dining area, a smaller private room and a terrace, The Yellow Chilli caters for any Lagos visitor’s gastronomic needs.
Since 2004, Bungalow Restaurant has been bringing the very best of global gastronomy to Lagos. From pizzas, to burgers, crepes and fajitas, Bungalow Restaurant has food for every culinary mood. There is also live jazz music every Thursday, which contributes to the restaurant’s lively and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant also has a modern twist, with food ordered from iPads located at the table, which is an experience in itself. With its homely ambience and worldly food fair, Bungalow Restaurant aims and succeeds at celebrating both Nigerian and international cultures.
Courtesy of Bungalow Restaurant
With authentic Nigerian food and flavours at the heart of their ethos, Veggie Victory is one of Lagos’ first vegan and vegetarian restaurants. The chefs at Veggie Victory reveal their innovation through their culinary creations, using tofu and wheat protein to produce meatless versions of traditional Nigerian and North African dishes, such as suya andshawarma. The restaurant promotes healthy eating both to its locals and tourists, with no soft drinks featured on the menu, replaced by ‘smoochies’, which are a blend of seasonal fruits. Furthermore, Veggie Victory will also play part in the World Vegetarian Festival and Vegetarian Day that will take place in October later this year.
For the taste of Mexico in Lagos, Bottle’s Restaurant tops every list. Renowned for their fajitas and frozen margaritas, Bottle’s Restaurant also brings the lively and homely atmosphere of Mexico to Lagos. The restaurant got its name from the various bottles decorating the premises, which were gathered from the delta, having been thrown in by sailors and traders through the centuries. Together with live music and the restaurant’s colourful interior design, Bottle’s Restaurant achieves its aim of a Mexican home away from home.
Rodizzio is not only a restaurant, but it also promotes itself as a bar, café and events centre. Inspired by the culture and cuisines of Brazil, Europe, and Nigeria, Rodizzio offers an unlimited array of barbequed meats and grilled seafood, flavoured in the local Naija style. Rodizzio also prides itself on its distinguished cocktail menu, with a drink to suit any mood. While visitors enjoy their food, they can also enjoy live comedy and music. The restaurant states it has a few house rules, one of which is that knives and forks are optional.