Influenced by an array of tribal traditions and culinary diversity, Nigerian fare fuses together a variety of recipes rooted in a rich culture. Also drawing inspiration from its colonial legacy, the dining scene of its capital city, Abuja, blends together typical African flavours with various European cuisines. This cultural and culinary mix is best experienced in these top ten restaurants in Abuja.
Established in 2007, Salamander Café is a favourite spot for the expatriate community in Abuja, but its cool vibe attracts native crowds as well. Located in the district of Wuse II, both the café’s shadowy outside terrace and its indoor space provide a homely feel whether you find yourself at a table or nestled in one of the soft-cushioned sofas. Featuring its own little bookshop, at Salamander guests can browse through bookshelves and attend one of the regular poetry readings. The menu offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, including a variety of rich international and local dishes.
When dining at Wakkis, you can watch your food being prepared by a busy team at work behind the open kitchen. Housed in hut-like niche made of bricks, wooden poles and straw, the kitchen’s core lies in its open charcoal pit, visible from many corners of the spacious building. Opened in 2000 and originally located in the Central Business District of Abuja, Wakkis is now located in Wuse II and focuses on bringing the flavours of Indian cuisine to the Nigerian capital. Spanning different cuisines from the Indian continent, the menu is particularly strong on classics like murgh malai and tandoori chicken.
Situated within a high-end complex that includes a beauty lounge, swimming pool and gym, BluCabana offers both indoor and outdoor seating, the latter along the edges of the pool’s waters. In a relaxing atmosphere, the elegant wooden flooring of the outside terrace and the comfortable feel of the indoor hall invite guests to relax and enjoy a rich and varied fare. Including international appetisers and mains with a strong Lebanese influence, the menu spans different world cuisines to include pastas, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and succulent dishes from the barbecue which include beef, chicken, and fish suya, a Nigerian favourite, consisting of grilled skewered meat coated with spices.
Bukka at the Hilton
Housed within the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in central Abuja, Bukka’s ample and airy dining hall is flooded with natural light coming in through the large windows. Finely decorated, its light flooring and dark wooden furnishing convey a refined feel in which to enjoy the flavours of the traditional cuisine of the country. The menu offers local dishes based on the classic ingredients typical of Nigerian cooking like oha soup, based on the vegetable from which it takes its name, yam porridge, plantains, and goat meat, while at the buffet, guests can also choose from a large choice of continental favourites.
British Council Rooftop Café
Located in the Maitama district, the British Council in Abuja features its own Rooftop Café. The rich fare and the panorama one can glimpse when sitting at its tables made it a popular destination for both expatriates and locals. Nestled on top of a building, the café enjoys a privileged location, allowing guests to take in the panorama of the Nigerian capital city. A varied menu of African and continental dishes offering daily specials is available for lunch and dinner, and many also choose to pick the café’s widely appreciated takeaway pizzas and shawarmas.
The Charcoal Grill and Restaurant is situated in Aminu Kano Crescent, in the area of Wuse II. Decorated in a contemporary style, this large restaurant consists of an indoor hall, and an outdoor covered terrace. Renowned especially for its chicken dishes, as its name suggests, the Charcoal’s strength resides in its grilled specialties, which fuse together continental and local fare. The selection of burgers, grilled seafood, alongside the infused tilapia, number among favourites dishes from the grill. Also open for breakfast, the Charcoal offers numerous other local delicacies like grilled plantains, known as bole.
Vanilla’s cuisine fuses together notes from a variety of different cuisines around the world. Starters of peanut chicken kebab and spring rolls can be found on the menu alongside international mains like the coconut chicken curry and Jamaica jerk chicken. Pork chops in apple gravy and curried goat go hand-in-hand with dishes from the African tradition such as the ofada rice, with tomato and pepper sauce, locust bean seeds and beef, and jollof rice, a Nigerian dish prepared with tomato sauce, coleslaw, and plantain, to go with either chicken or prawns. Decorated in tones of yellow, cream and brown, diners at Vanilla can enjoy hopping from one continent to another while lingering in a refined and softly lit atmosphere.
Jevinik in Abuja prides itself on being part of a group of restaurants with ten branches spread across Nigeria’s major cities, which specialise in fusing together the best of Africanspecialties in their cuisines. The variety of traditional tribal recipes is immediately visible on the restaurant’s menu, which combines the richness of the different local cooking styles with continental options as well. Set in an ample dining hall where the decor is rustic and the style essential, Jevinik provides its guests with a light and warmly hued ambience to feast upon a rich meal.
Located in the Maitama district, the Dunes Centre encompasses a selection of stylish quality shops, boutiques, pastry shops, cafés and restaurants. Among these, Dunes Continental stands out as an elegant eatery and one of the favourites restaurants in Abuja. Decorated with elegant tables and chairs in the tones of brown and cream, Dunes is warmed by soft lights reflecting on the wooden decor. Featuring strong Middle Easternaccents, the menu draws together a fusion of flavours from across the world, and dishes like fattoush, kibbeh, and sujuk appear on the side of crispy tempura prawns and wings Provençal.
Chef Victor is the mastermind behind the creative fusion of French and African fare presented at his eponymous restaurant. After a career spent between his native Togo and Burkina Faso first and then in Europe, the chef established himself in Abuja and opened Chez Victor in 2005. In a warmly red-hued, dimly lit, and classy ambience, chef Victor welcomes his guests and prepares elaborate dishes delivered in ornate presentations. On the menu, the names of French dishes like the entrecôte royale, or the filet de bar à la sauce Duglaire, blend with those of the traditional African soups and meat dishes, like the chicken pepper soup or the poulet (chicken) Yassa, marinated in wine and spices.