Best restaurants in West Africa

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in São Tomé

    Papa Figo

    This charming, well-kept and ever-popular tin-roofed patio restaurant is laid-back in style, but no slouch in the kitchen. Everything on the menu has an interesting new twist. The thick fish steaks are world class: don't miss the barracuda. Tasty sides and special drinks round out a great seafood meal. Pizza and hamburgers also gets a delicious makeover. With more than reasonable prices, this family-run restaurant is a model for the rest of the island.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in São Tomé

    Roça São João

    This well-known restaurant, an ever-popular weekend drive from the capital, occupies a sprawling deck at a classic roça administrator's house, with valley views towards the sea. The food is a mélange of European, African and São Toméan tastes, but best when it sticks to creative takes on local fare, be it chicken or fish. The prix fixe menu makes choosing easy. The restaurant is run by TV chef and general culture promoter João Carlos Silva, who also owns CACAU. It's the perfect lunch stop if you're heading south, but reserve ahead on weekends. You can also stay at its pousada.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Dakar

    Le Lagon I

    Perched on stilts over the bay, Le Lagon is one of Dakar's top seafood spots, with a spread of culinary treasures – oysters, sea urchins, chargrilled fish, pastas with mixed seafood. You can dine outside on the breezy waterside deck, or in the classy dining room, amid hanging swordfish, brass sailing instruments and a vintage diving suit. There's a small private beach (CFA2000 to CFA2500) right next to the restaurant.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Accra

    Khana Khazana

    Tucked behind a petrol station (Engen Filling Station, next to Avenida Hotel), this outdoor Indian restaurant is a gem – cheap, delicious and with long opening hours. One of the house specialities is the dosa (savoury parcel made of rice flour normally eaten for breakfast). Sunday is thali (set meal) day.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Accra

    Buka

    Ever-popular Buka serves some of the best West African food in Accra, in stylish surroundings to boot. Hearty plates of jollof rice, tilapia and groundnut soup are served on a pretty terrace, which fills up with the local office crowd every lunchtime.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Boa Vista

    Fado Crioula

    This creative, art-filled space serves up market-fresh fare that changes daily: expect delightful salads, creative appetisers and a fresh-grilled fish of the day. Fado Crioula hosts jam sessions, film screenings, art exhibitions, language exchanges and other events throughout the month. It's set on a breezy perch, with views over the coastline. It has books to page through and an appealing bar with cocktails, and you can stop in for breakfast. You'll find it behind the post office, about a 10-minute walk west of Sal Rei's plaza. Fado Crioula also rents out several guestrooms (CVE5000 to CVE6700).

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Monrovia

    Evelyn's

    This is hands-down Monrovia's favourite spot for lunch and early-evening cocktails. Evelyn's offers upmarket Liberian dishes (such as palm butter and rice), American mains including sandwiches, and an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet on Wednesdays (US$20). You can order sides of cassava fries, stuffed plantain and fried chicken, while for dessert there's papaya pie and cornbread muffins. It's also an expat hangout and a great place to get the lay of the land upon arrival, ask about the most recent road conditions, or simply get the scoop on what's new in Monrovia from a foreign perspective.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Libreville

    L'Odika

    This lovely colonial-style veranda restaurant in the heart of the Quartier Louis is very attractive. You'll find tempting dishes such as beef ndolé (a Cameroonian dish with peanuts, spices and ndolé bitter leaves), colombo du porc (lightly spiced Mauritian pork dish) or seafood brochettes with odika (crushed acacia seed, 'chocolate') sauce. Polished timber floors, fresh flowers and local art on the walls complete the picture. Reservations are a good idea at the weekends. Turn to the back of the menu for a glossary of African foods.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Sierra Leone

    Franco's

    Half an hour from Freetown is Sierra Leone foodie institution Franco's, sprawled on Sussex Beach (beside the lagoon). Run by an Italian–/Sierra Leonean couple, this place specialises in seafood and pasta, and is a favourite spot for a long, wine-fuelled Sunday lunch. Reservations are wise at weekends, and it's worth calling in your order in advance, as food can take a while to prepare at busy times. If you want to make a night of it, Franco's is part of Florence's Resort, a low-key guesthouse which has seven breezy rooms (from US$80 a night).

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Sierra Leone

    Oasis

    This charming little cafe is an oasis indeed. Set in a garden off Murray Town Rd, it feels hundreds of miles away from the chaos of Freetown. Though it's famous for its smoothies, the food here is also excellent and wholesome – think black bean soup, Thai chicken curry and indulgent brownies. You can take a seat in the cosy dining room, on the breezy porch, complete with whirring fans and brightly pattered rattan furniture, or out in the garden, which has views out over the sea. Upstairs, there are several rooms for rent.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Serekunda & Atlantic Coast Resorts

    Sea Shells

    Despite the unfortunate location on the highway, Sea Shells is well worth a visit for its creative and beautifully prepared dishes. Pop by at lunchtime for fresh vegetable tarts, curried chicken salad, salmon burgers with beetroot chutney and other light fare. At night, the menu shines with coconut-dusted prawns, roast ladyfish with a crab salad, and a famous beef Wellington. Sea Shells has a casual, cafe-like setting, with outdoor seating on the covered patio in front.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in São Tomé

    Celvas

    Hidden behind a wall on the main street of Guadeloupe, this restaurant comes as a shockingly good surprise. You'll find two gazebos set in a garden, with tables draped in white tablecloths. A generous wine selection complements sophisticated meat and fish dishes blending Portuguese and São Toméan flavours. Three garden rooms (singles/doubles €35/47) were also being renovated during research. Signed on left as you enter the town from the direction of the capital.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Mindelo

    Casa Cafe Mindelo

    Near the waterfront, this buzzing place serves up some of the best cooking in town amid chunky wooden tables and industrial light fixtures, with traditional artwork adorning the walls. The chalkboard menu lists changing specials like pasta with lobster, mussels in white wine, and Portuguese-style seafood stew, and there's live music nightly (from 8pm). At other times, the tables near the cobblestones out front are a fine spot for espresso or a cocktail.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cabo Verde

    Pipi's

    Overlooking a small plaza, Pipi's fires up some of the best cooking in Fogo. Senegalese-style maffé (a peanut-sauce) with grilled tuna or chicken is first-rate, along with fish stew and spaghetti with shrimp. It's all served in an inviting space decorated with West African carvings and tapestries. There's also lighter fare like crepes, sandwiches and pumpkin ice cream. A vine-shaded terrace in front is a fine spot for evening drinks.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cabo Verde

    Maracujá

    Inés, who spent 40 years in France, brings a touch of Europe to her cooking in this cheery cafe across the road from Gamboa beach. Market-fresh ingredients play a starring role in zesty salads, grilled octopus, seafood spaghetti, and crepes with seasonal vegetables. Great daily lunch specials (around CVE450). Don't miss her better-known restaurant of the same name in Tarrafal.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Serekunda & Atlantic Coast Resorts

    Calypso

    Much-loved Calypso serves delicious grilled fish, snacks (such as prawn spring rolls), panini and an African dish of the day, plus a full English breakfast. For peaceful views over the waterfront, head to the upper-level deck or grab one of the private thatched-roof palapas (huts) with comfy deckchairs sprinkled around the garden. Great spot for a sundowner. Keep an eye out for resident crocodiles.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cameroon

    Iya

    A rarity in Cameroon: a stylish restaurant with warm attentive service. The minimal interior has white walls brightened with feathered hats and geometric basketwork from the northwest highlands. The menu is also traditional with a contemporary twist, featuring imaginative reinterpretations of Cameroonian standards. Ndole and kati-kati (marinated chicken) never looked – or tasted – this good.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Serekunda & Atlantic Coast Resorts

    Butcher's Shop

    Driss, the Moroccan celebrity chef (and TV star), fires up some of the best cooking in The Gambia at this elegant eatery with terrace seating on busy Kairaba Ave. You'll find perfectly grilled fish and juicy steaks, along with global dishes such as rich Moroccan tagines, Italian-style duck confit and high-end comfort classics like fish pie. Don't miss the decadent Sunday brunch (10am to 4pm).

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Gabon

    Le Bistrot

    Funky decor, friendly staff, a lovely garden terrace and a cool, chic interior make this the best find in Port-Gentil. Add to that the excellent food and it's hard to keep away. Try the succulent coupé-coupé (cubed fillet of beef) or good fresh salads and pastas. Le Bistrot is easy to miss: it's tucked away behind bushes opposite the bright pink-and-white MUG building.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Santo Antão

    Caleta

    A bistro-like restaurant with sidewalk tables on the waterfront, Caleta has a French owner who conjures up a mix of European and Cabo Verdean specialities using prime local products. Start with the fried-goat-cheese cakes or sweet-potato soup and move on to risotto with seafood, sautéed king prawns or grilled pork chops. Often has live music (from 8pm). Reserve ahead.