The Burkinabé restaurant scene ranges from basic maquis – which can be a great place to get a cheap meal and a few beers – to more upmarket restaurants, which usually carry a French flavour and a more European price tag; they also cater largely to the expat population. Ouagadougou and Bobo have the most variety in terms of budgets and styles.

Local Food & Drink

Burkinabé food is largely influenced by Senegalese and Ivoirian cuisines. Sauces, especially arachide (peanut) or graine (a hot sauce made with palm nuts), are the mainstay and are always served with a starch, usually rice (called riz sauce or riz gras) or the Burkinabé staple, tô, a millet- or sorghum-based pâte (a pounded, doughlike substance). The Ivoirian attiéké (grated cassava), aloco (plantain fried with chilli in palm oil) and kedjenou (simmered chicken or fish with vegetables) are also commonly found.

Grilled dishes of chicken, mutton, beef, guinea fowl, fish (especially Nile perch, known locally as capitaine) and agouti (a large rodent) also feature on the menu. In the Sahel, couscous is widely available.

Castel, Flag, Brakina, Beaufort and So.b.bra are popular and palatable brands of beer; more adventurous – and potent – is dolo (millet beer). Locally produced juices include bissap (hibiscus), gingembre (ginger), tamarind and mango; soft drinks are available everywhere, too.

Lafi is the most reliable brand of bottled water. Avoid the water sold in small plastic bags, since it's often tap water.