There’s another new restaurant in Kigali, folks! Well… sort of new. CazaKeza opened its doors back in November and they’ve grown and added a lot of exciting things since I visited the first week they opened. The thing that sets CasaKeza apart from other restaurants in Kigali is their focus on Spanish tapas. There’s nothing like it in the city and I always love it when someone strikes out a bit and tries something new – especially when it hasn’t been done before.
I have to admit that I know pretty much nothing about Spanish food (except for once attempting to cook a Spanish dish at home and failing badly) so I really can’t compare what CasaKeza offers with the types of dishes you’d find in Spain. I do know that the dishes I’ve already tried have all be very delicious and I love the sharing aspect of going out for tapas with a group of friends. It’s a new type of food and a new way of eating for Kigali and they’re doing a great job so far.
You can tell that they really put a lot of effort into finding the best ingredients for their dishes including cured meats you can’t get anywhere else and home-grown arugula. The dinner menu is set up as a collection of tapas and two or three dishes each (at between Rwf 2,500 and Rwf 6,000) are recommended per person. Of course, the whole point of tapas is sharing and it’s a great meal for a group of people. I especially loved the meat and cheese platter, the eggplant fries, the garlic mushrooms, and the pork sausage in sauce. Since my last visit they’ve also added seafood-y options like calamari, mussels, and prawns. The unlimited bread is a nice touch and great for dipping into any leftover sauces and juices.
If you end up ordering three dishes for yourself things can start to get a bit pricey… but it’s so hard to choose! It’s much better to go with a group of friends so you can sample everything and not have to make those tough decisions. The dishes seem deceptively small but they’re actually not at all. Each time I’ve eaten there I’ve left feeling pleasantly full, knowing that I’ve also been served some pretty high quality ingredients, to boot. It’s not the cheapest place in town, but it’s certainly one of the best value places.
CasaKeza have recently added coffee into the mix which is a nice addition for those of us who like to work from restaurants occasionally. I’ve camped out here a couple of times with my laptop, snacking on their cheese and meat plate while working and sipping on an iced mocha. Their garden is quiet and it’s just a super chilled place where I always seem to get a lot of nerding done.
They have plans to add some international days and they’re experimenting now with French and Moroccan food. I love places that switch up their menus for time to time (while keeping all of the usual favourites) and try to throw some new ideas into the mix and I’m looking forward to sampling some of their non-Spanish fare at some point. Be sure to check out the chalk board for their daily specials.
CasaKeza is aiming to be Kigali’s one stop shop for all things Spanish. They currently offer Spanish lessons and they’re planning other courses as well. Their events often include Spanish guitar and a large pot of paella cooking on an open fire in their spacious back yard. Or if you want paella of your own you can contact them to make arrangements for your own personal paella night.
CasaKeza are located in Kacyiru a few blocks down and over from the Inema Art Centre in a converted house. They’ve managed to create an intimate space inside and their back patio has a nice view. Their small circle tables are a nice idea but they’re a little awkward, especially if you want to sit with a few friends. But if you’re there with a book and want a space to yourself outside, they’re perfect. I’ve love to see some larger tables outside because I’m a sucker for outdoor eating, but the inside space is nice enough.
I’ve been a few times already for lunch and once in the evening. The wine here is cheap (Rwf 2,000 per glass) and their bottles of Spanish wine are reasonably priced as well. It’s a great place for a quiet date or for a group of friends as the tables are small and the sharing of tapas makes for an intimate, cozy experience. They’ve really put a lot of effort into the presentation of the food, serving some of their items up on flat plates which is something different and offering up big, chunky pitchers of Sangria. Speaking of which… I think it’s one of the only places in the city to get the tasty Spanish drink so head here if that’s what you’re craving!
CasaKeza have, in my opinion, one of the best lunches in the city. They offer up a sort of platter of various little dishes which all add up to be more than enough for one person. I’m pretty sure the lunch menu changes around from time to time but when I was there it included a sampling of their tapas including meatballs, the arugula salad, the Spanish omelette, olives, and bread with their delicious aoili and bread for dipping. Plus there’s also a generous helping of gazpacho. At Rwf 6,000 it’s a great deal and you’ll leave very happy. It’s a great way for one person to affordably sample a lot of their dishes at once.
I’m not a big fan of eggplant dishes, especially when it involves the leathery purple skin. I’ve encountered a few eggplant meals that I’ve enjoyed and I’m always apprehensive about trying new things. The same happened with CasaKeza’s eggplant fries… friends wanted to order them as one of a selection of tapas and I reluctantly agreed. Well… as it turns out, these little beauties are one of the tastiest meals Kigali has to offer! A couple of friends who love eggplant kind of freaked out at how good they were and I, as a confirmed eggplant skeptic, would even vouch for them.
There are a couple of options for dessert to wrap up your meal. I have a pretty strict ‘if it’s not chocolate, it’s not dessert’ policy and fruit, my friends, does not qualify as dessert as far as I’m concerned. So when I was served my chocolate brownie with a moat of mango and banana around it, I wasn’t super excited. However, I spoke too soon! The brownie is so gooey and rich and chocolatey that the fruit is a perfect accompaniment. Well played, CasaKeza, well played.
I’ve been really impressed with CasaKeza so far and it’s my latest favourite place for lunch. Food comes out quickly, service is friendly, and I’m looking forward to sampling their new dishes as they experiment and continue to grow. Overall, they’re another excellent addition to Kigali’s food scene and I’d recommend you give them a try. Oh and they have a very well-curated gift shop with lots of interesting things that is worth a look as well.
Have you tried CasaKeza yet? Let us all know what you thought about your experience in the comments below!