Thursday, August 3, 2017

Schiller's Favorite Restaurants in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa

Picture: Dinner at La Cabanne de Pecheurs in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa

I spent a week in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa in May 2017, with my wife Annette Schiller. We visited our daughter Cornelia and her family, with husband Chris, daughter Viatrix and son Ernst, and stayed at their villa.

Pictures: Dakar, Senegal, West Africa

During my 30 years career at the IMF, I visited Senegal several times. I got first in contact with Dakar in 1983/84, when I was the fiscal economist in the IMF team that handled the adjustment program with Liberia, which is also in West Africa. We used to fly Pan Am New York, Dakar, Robertsfield in Liberia. Following the Liberia assignment, I moved to the Côte d'Ivoire team and visited many times Abidjan, the capital of Côte d'Ivoire. At that time Abidjan was the leading city in West Africa, ahead of Dakar. But things have changed. Abidjan has fallen back although it is recovering under President Ouattara. Dakar can look back to a long period of political stability while Abidjan has suffered severely from the civil war that brought the country down.

Dakar has a quite interesting restaurant scene.This posting provides an overview of the restaurants in Dakar we visited and liked as well as restaurants which we did not yet visit and are still on our "to go list" for the next Senegal trip because we have heard good things about them. Africa Gourmet, the leading wine store in Dakar, recommeded a couple of restaurants becuase of their wine lists.

This posting is part of a series of 4 postings:

Wining, Dining and Chilling in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa
Schiller's Favorite Restaurants in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa
Wine Producer and Wine Consumer Senegal, West Africa

The Cuisine of Senegal, West Africa

The cuisine of Senegal is a West African cuisine influenced by North African, French, and Portuguese cuisine and derives from the nation's many ethnic groups, the largest being the Wolof. Islam, which first penetrated the region in the 11th century, also plays a role in the cuisine. Senegal was a colony of France until 1960. Because Senegal borders the Atlantic Ocean, fish is very important in Senegalese cooking. Chicken, lamb, peas, eggs, and beef are also used, but pork is not due to the nation’s largely Muslim population. Peanuts, the primary crop of Senegal, as well as couscous, white rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, black-eyed peas and various vegetables, are also incorporated into many recipes. Meats and vegetables are typically stewed or marinated in herbs and spices, and then poured over rice or couscous, or eaten with bread.

Dakar, Senegal, West Africa

Kate Thomas: With its hot sandy streets, whitewashed mosques and bright flashes of color, Dakar beats to a different drum than other West African capitals. Spread out over a rocky peninsula, the year-round breeze carries the complex sound of mbalax music and the smell of piping hot thieboudjenne, the national dish. As sunset falls, thousands of Dakarois head to the beaches for open-air workout sessions, while in the bustling Medina area, women fry fish and plantains by the roadside. Fishermen haul in their catch in the shadow of sleek shopping malls, while men dressed in silky boubous stop for prayers and hawkers sell peanuts and wood carvings on every corner. Dakar is a city of contrasts, of gentle breezes and loud chatter, of colonial architecture and construction sites.

Schiller's Favorite Restaurants in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa

The restaurants are in alphabetical order. The comments are from a variety of sources. The photos are all my own.

Ali Baba
Next to Le Viking, Plateau

A Dakar institution. Dakareats.com: Old school Dakarois have known (and loved) Ali Baba’s Lebanese fast-food in downtown Dakar since 1986.

Picture: Ali Baba

Bayékou
Ngor Beach

This open air restaurant and bar is one of Dakar’s newest hip hangouts. Bayékou is laid out to accommodate those wanting some relaxed drinks by the round bar or lounge seating area, or those who want to sit at a table and eat. From both sections you can enjoy the stunning view over Ngor Beach below, and nearby Ngor Island. Food at Bayékou is mostly Mediterranean influenced.

Picture: Bayékou

Bazoff Pub Restaurant
Sicap Rue 10 Plateau

Recommended by Africa Gourmet for its wines. Traditional French brasserie with a large bar area.

Café de Rome
30, Bd de la République, Plateau

A 3 star hotel with Brasserie (including a nice bar area) and Casino. Bassirou Sarr: I also like the restaurant Café de Rome in downtown Dakar.

Picture: Café de Rome

Chez Aicha (Informal Restaurant Shack)
On the beach road in Les Almadies

Kate Thomas: Dakar residents are proud of their culinary traditions, and take great excitement in introducing visitors to dishes like poulet yassa (chicken stewed in onions, spices, lemon and olives), thieboudjenne (fish or meat fried with eggplant, carrots and crispy rice) and mafe (chicken or beef cooked in a rich peanut butter). If you’re invited to someone’s home, don’t miss the opportunity: these dishes are served from big communal plates, and the hostess will often cut pieces of chicken to size for guests. In Senegalese culture, it’s hip to pile on a few pounds, so expect your host to be offended if you stick to small portions. Big, hearty meals are the cornerstone of Senegalese entertaining. There are informal restaurant shacks all over Dakar that serve ultra-Senegalese plats du jour; basically whatever is fresh and takes the chef’s fancy. Among the more authentic is Adji’s thieboudjenne shack over by the plage de Ngor (on the left-hand side of the parking lot, opposite the USAID office.) For 1000 cfa per person, Adji serves up big plates of mafe or fish. Chez Aicha on the beach road in Les Almadies (next door to Le Paradis du Surfeur) offers up a similar deal, only with divine ocean views to match.

La Maison de Céline
Almadies Zone 7

Africa Gourmet recommendation for its wine list. La Maison de Céline est un restaurant niché en plein coeur des Almadies, ce restaurant vous proposera une cuisine internationale tout en vous accueillant autour de sa piscine et son jardin aménagés. Le restaurant est connu pour ses pizzas faites au feu de bois, ses viandes importées et ses spécialités Corses.

Chez Loutcha
101, Rue Moussé Diop Plateau

Bassirrou Sarr: Just behind the French cultural center is a local restaurant called chez Louatchia it is an institution in terms of local senegalese, cap verdian and ivoirien fare. Bring a big appetite as they tend to have Senegalese portions.

Picture: Chez Louatchia

Echo Cotier
In Popenguine

Bassirou Sarr: A good restaurant on the beach is the Echo cocotier good place to be on the beach with good and fresh fish.

We went there on a Sunday and spent a wonderful lunch there.

Pictures: Lunch at Echo Cotier

Eric Kayser
Plateau

Kate Thomas: Whatever you think about France’s colonial legacy, at least one good thing has come from it: the humble baguette. Dakar has a great selection of French-style boulangeries and patisseries, from street stands that sell just one variety, to fancy bakeries that name their olive and rye breads after local celebrities and politicians. Among the best is La Graine d’Or on the Route de Ngor in Les Almadies (about a mile before the roundabout for Le Virage). It also sells wonderful tartes au citron, chocolate cakes, croissants, creme brulee and macaroons. French import Eric Keyser in Plateau has a similar selection, plus great sandwiches and salads.

Picture: Eric Kayser, Dakar, Senegal

Hotel Sokhamon
Blvd Roosevelt at Ave Nelson Mandela

foodrepublic.com: Few other restaurants in Dakar rival the view of the one at Hotel Sokhamon. Perched high above the Atlantic Ocean, this open-air restaurant and hotel feel like a sculptor’s fever dream. The hotel’s sandstone sculptures, glazed floors in rich, earthy colors and gently curved surfaces lead to a breezy restaurant with an inviting bar and an infinity pool that looks like it's pouring into the ocean far below. The menu is primarily comprised of grilled fish and ceviches rounded out by traditional Senegalese favorites like yassa and maffe. Service can be slow, but you won’t mind lingering with a cool gin and tonic in hand at this hidden oasis on the edge of the sea. Rooms here are beautifully designed and make for a perfect refuge at the end of the meal.

Just4U
Avenue Chiekh Anta Diop Point E

foodrepublic.com: No trip to Dakar would be complete without a night of live music. Music is what fuels this city and keeps it ticking, and with extraordinary musicians like Didier Awadi, Bouba Kirikou, Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour, it’s easy to see why. Spacious and laid back Just 4 U is the ideal place to experience local talent. But be sure to take a nap before heading out into the electrified Dakar night; most shows don’t get started until well after midnight. The drinks are strong and include standards like gin and tonics, margaritas and the local beer Gazelle.

La Cabane du Pecheur
Plage de Ngor (opposite to Bayékou)

Kate Thomas: The city by the sea certainly knows a thing or two about good seafood. One of our favorite seafood restaurants is the La Cabane du Pecheur (the Fisherman’s Cabin) on Plage de Ngor. Decked out with fishing paraphernalia, including giant Merlin and Barracuda caught off the Dakar coast, this is the perfect spot for a seafood Sunday brunch: try the surf n’ turf or the fresh grilled fish of the day. The friendly waiters will bring over the day’s menu on a chalkboard. Nearby at La Pointe des Almadies, relaxed informal spots serve the day’s catch. Fans are loyal to the baskets of clams, while the fresh thiof fish, served whole, is also excellent.

Pictures: Dinner at La Cabanne de Pecheurs

La Cabane du Surfeur - Chez Abdou
At the beach in Les Almadies

Short menu of fish and meat dishes. A very relaxed place. We had our first meal there after arriving in Dakar. There are a dozen or so beach restaurants one next to the other in the area.

Pictures: Lunch at La Cabane du Surfeur - Chez Abdou

La Calebasse
Next to La Clinique des Mamelles

Kate Thomas: For upscale pan-African dining, head to La Calebasse in Les Mamelles (on the main approach road, next to La Clinique des Mamelles.) The wooden structure is both an art gallery and a restaurant; browse the rooms devoted to hip woodcarvings before heading upstairs to dinner on the terrace. You can tuck into upmarket twists on West African favorites.

La Fourchette
Rue Parent 4, Dakar, Plateau

theculturetrip.com: La Fourchette prides itself on upholding the rich cultural history of Dakar. Dining in this elegant establishment, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had been transported to a restaurant on Paris’s Left Bank. The menu is sophisticated and European, with a twist of Asian fusion and is a nod to Senegal’s colonial past, whilst the live music and entertainment offer a welcome reminder that you are in the heart of West Africa.

Lagon 1
Route de la Corniche Estate 1, Dakar, Plateau

theculturetrip.com: Lagon 1 is a refined place, offering visitors stunning views of Gorée Island on one side and the eastern headland on the other. The menu is packed with delicious fare, impressive desserts and tasty cocktails. Dining at Lagon 1 is a premium experience and the restaurant has catered for the likes of Jacques Chirac, Bono and Pierre Palmade to name just a few.

Pictures: Lagon 1

La Maison de Céline
Almadies Zone 7

Africa Gourmet recommendation for its wine list. La Maison de Céline est un restaurant niché en plein coeur des Almadies, ce restaurant vous proposera une cuisine internationale tout en vous accueillant autour de sa piscine et son jardin aménagés. Le restaurant est connu pour ses pizzas faites au feu de bois, ses viandes importées et ses spécialités Corses.

L'Amiraute
On the island of Gorée

The island of Gorée lies off the coast of Senegal, opposite Dakar. From the 15th to the 19th century, it was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast. Ruled in succession by the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, its architecture is characterized by the contrast between the grim slave-quarters and the elegant houses of the slave traders. Today it continues to serve as a reminder of human exploitation and as a sanctuary for reconciliation.

Lonely Planet: L'Amiraute - Escape the crowds filling the beachside eateries at this peaceful spot just past the Maison des Esclaves. You can sit on the outside terrace overlooking the sea and enjoy decent plates of fresh seafood.

Pictures: Lunch at L'Amiraute

La Parrilla
Plateau

Recommended by Canadian friends of Cornelia. An authentic Argentian steak house in a cute little cottage hidden awy behind some office blocks near the Presidential Palace.

Le Bideew
Plateau

Loneley Planet: Le Bideew is a vibrant oasis and a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the old town’s crowded, dusty streets. Nestled in the garden of the Institut Français Léopold Sédar Senghor, with views of a big canopy tree in which colourful lizards are always busily doing push-ups, the restaurant offers both Senegalese and French-influenced food. The menu ranges from grilled fish to chicken burgers, or tempura veggies with guacamole. Come after enjoying a movie in the centre’s cinema or on a Friday or Saturday evening, when there is often a concert.

Pictures: At Le Bideew

Le Djembe
56 Rue Saint-Michel

foodrepublic.com: Dakar has a large expat Lebanese community and although breezy and bright Le Djembe is owned by a Lebanese man, he was proudly born in Dakar and his menu is strictly Senegalese. Fresh juices like ruby red bissop (hibiscus) and bouye (baobab) are refreshing elixirs to jumpstart a meal comprised of traditional Senegalese dishes like yasa (chicken and rice) and the national seafood dish known as thieboudienne.

Le Gastronomique
Blvd Martin Luther King Hotel Terrou-Bi

The gourmet restaurant of one Dakar's leading hotels, the Terrou-Bi. On Thursday, Le Gastronomique has interesting theme nights. Closed during Ramadan.

Pictures: Le Gastronomique

Le Kermel
Plateau

A typical French brasserie which is open from 7:00 am to midnight and which has a large bar area. Google: Si un bon plat typiquement français vous manque, RDV dans ce bar/restau où l'on retrouve l'ambiance d'un bon bistrot.

Le Little Buddha
Sea Plaza

In walking distance from Cornelia's villa. Belongs to the Radisson Blue Hotel. From Japanese Sushi to traditional Chinese fair, this Asian-fusion restaurant combines the flavors of the Pacific Rim into a single, delicious menu. Motivated by Asia’s bustling night life, Little Buddha Dakar also features a lounge bar, where a professional DJ plays dance music until dawn.

Pictures: At the Le Little Buddha

L’Epicerie
7 Bis Rue Victor Hugo, Plateau

We went there for the wine, but wine is only one part of L’Epicerie. nouvellesdedakar: Entre épicerie fine, restaurant, bar à vin et salon de thé, cet endroit plein de charme situé au coeur de la ville saura satisfaire les plaisirs de chacun. Le bar à vin du jeudi et vendredi soir propose, sur le rooftop de l’établissement, d’arroser le tout d’un choix de vin (Français et Italien) finement sélectionnés par les patrons qui feront profiter de leurs conseils avisés.

Pictures: At Le Le Bar à Vin Dakar/  L’Epicerie

Le Relais Sportif
Route Corniche Ouest, Dakar

Lonely Planet: On the Cornishe West beachfront − where people run or do calisthenics in the sand, in what is a daily display of Senegal’s sports-loving craze − lies one of Dakar’s great eateries. Popular with the Dakarois, Le Relais Sportif (au-senegal.com) is one of the few non-hotel restaurants in the area. With tables looking over the ocean it’s the perfect spot for a succulent monkfish skewer with a Gazelle (Senegalese beer), and for taking in the bustling beach life unfolding in front of you.

Picture: Le Relais Sportif

L'Ortelan
223, Rue de Kaolack, Dakar

Africa Gourmet recommendation for its wine list. Google: Petit bar restau tenu par Jojo proposant des plats plutôt français dans une ambiance bistro. Close to Cornelia and Chris' villa. The bar area is very small. Very French says Cornelia.Opens at 8 pm.

Le Viking
21 Ave Pompidou Plateau

Beer-scented pub. An institution. Live bands play downstairs on weekends.

Picture: Le Viking

Mbote (Street Food)
On La rue de Guele Tapee

Kate Thomas: It would be rude to leave Dakar without trying dibi. The city’s favorite street food, it consists of greasy, spicy cuts of mutton roasted with onions and orange spice powder on a bed of brown greaseproof paper. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, just wait until you try it. There are centuries of Arab tradition wrapped up in those little parcels, and they taste best after a night out dancing or hearing live music. Every Dakarois has their favorite dibi spot, but you might try Mbote on La rue de Guele Tapee, or if you can find it, Youssou N’Dour’s local dibiterie, tucked deep inside the labyrinth of Marche Sandaga, and decked out with wrestling posters from the 1960s.

Phare des Mamelles
Mamelles, Route de l'Aeroport

Lonely Planet: On the hilltop in front of Dakar's iconic lighthouse, this open-air bar draws a dance-loving crowd on Friday nights, when it hosts live music jams. Very limited wine by the glass selection. Breathtaking view and atmosphere. We had a bottle of Cotes due Rhone for CFAF 15.000.

Pictures: At Phare des Mamelles

Soumbedioune (Fish Market)
Rue 15 1, Dakar

foodrepublic.com: This nightly fish market pops up on the beach just as the sun is setting over the Atlantic Ocean. Makeshift plastic tables and chairs are arranged in front of the wood-fired grills of vendors offering the day’s catch at extremely affordable prices. There are usually around 20 different vendors, with typical Dakar seafood including mullet, grouper, hogfish, red snapper, porgysailfish, seabream, sea urchins, lobsters, oysters, shrimp and crab. Beer is not technically allowed, but let your server know if you would like one and he’ll happily oblige by running to the liquor store across the street. Generous portions include a tossed salad and side of sharp, tangy mustard onions. Located in a cove next to Magic Land in the heart of Dakar.

Pictures: Soumbedioune (Fish Market)

 Schiller’s Favorites

Here is a complete list of Schiller's Favorites:

Europe

Germany

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt, Germany
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Würzburg, Franken, Germany
Schiller’s Favorites: 2 Legendary Wine Taverns in Würzburg – Juliusspital and Bürgerspital
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars and Wine Taverns in Freiburg, Baden, Germany
Schiller's Favorites: Frankfurt Apple Wine Taverns that Make their own Apple Wine
Schiller's Favorite Winemakers in Sachsen (Saxony), Germany
Schiller’s Favorite Winemakers in the Saale-Unstrut Region, Germany
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Trier, Germany
Schiller's Favorite (Wine-) Restaurants in Deidesheim in the Pfalz, Germany
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt am Main, 2014, Germany
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Berlin, Germany
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt am Main, 2013, Germany
Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Mainz, Germany

France

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France - An Update
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City - An Update
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars and other Wine Venues in Chablis, France
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Beaune, Bourgogne
Dinner at a Bouchon - Chez Paul - in Lyon: Schiller’s Favorite Bouchons in Lyon, France
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Beaune, Bourgogne, France (2015)
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City, France (2015)
Schiller’s Favorite Restaurants, Brasseries, Bistros, Cafes and Wine Bars in Paris, France
Schiller's Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City, France, 2014
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France
Schiller’s Favorite Restaurants, Brasseries, Bistros, Cafes and Wine Bars in Paris, 2012 France
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux (City) (2012), France

UK, Spain, Austria, Hungary

Schiller's Favorite Winebars in London, UK
Schiller’s Favorite Tapas Bars in Logroño in La Rioja, Spain
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in London, 2012, UK
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars and Other Wine Spots in Vienna, Austria
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Budapest, Hungary
Schiller’s Favorite Spots to Drink Wine in Vienna, Austria (2011)

USA

Schiller's Favorite Oyster Bars and Seafood Places in Seattle, Washington State, USA - An Update
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Seattle, USA - An Update
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Austin, Texas, USA
Riesling Crawl in New York City – Or, Where to Buy German Wine in Manhattan: Schiller's Favorite Wine Stores, USA
Schiller's Favorite Oyster Bars and Seafood Places in Seattle, USA (2013)
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in New York City, USA (2013)
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Seattle, USA (2013)
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Washington DC, USA
Schiller’s Favorite Crab Houses in the Washington DC Region, USA
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in New York City, 2012, USA
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Charleston, South Carolina, USA (2013)
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in San Francisco, USA
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars and Other Places Where You Can Have a Glass of Wine in Healdsburg, California

Asia

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Singapore
Schiller s Favorite Winebars in Beijing, 2014, China

Africa

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa
Schiller's Favorite Wines of Madagascar
Schiller’s 12 Favorite Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

2 comments:

  1. Chez Fatou. On the petite Corniche des Almadies (aka, Beach Road) just after La Mer à Table. Look for the yellow Flag beer sign that says ‘Chez Fatou’.

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  2. Terrace du Djoloff. Just a few minutes from the center of Dakar, but away from the noise and pollution, in a warm and convivial atmosphere, the terrace restaurant offers simple and healthy cooking, which naturally favors fish, shrimp and the grill "à la plancha". Authentic et tasty African specialities complement the menu.

    The Terrace Bar: At breakfast, when the fishing boats leave for day, or in the evening as the sun sets, to have a drink at the Djoloff... its a must !!

    Jazz concerts.

    ReplyDelete