I have some kind of mental block that means I can never find the La Gallette supermarket in town, no matter how long I stare at the map before I leave and no matter how many streets I wander up and down. That part of the city confuses the crap out of me. So our attempt to go to lunch at La Gallette today was foiled once again and Inga and I found ourselves in the shadow of the new Kigali Tower at a loss of where to find lunch.
We had already passed several local looking restaurants that I was keen on trying but those suggestions were vetoed due to the potential of having to wait two hours for a meal and the fact that Inga actually has a job to get back to. But there was an alternative in a part of town I swear I’ve never seen before in my life, but in reality have probably seen many times and just forgotten. Or maybe it just looks different without the zillions of buses parked there.
Hidden in a strange parking lot/warehouse looking area not far from the former intercity bus station/street is Mangaroca, a small pizza restaurant (though they don’t serve pizzas at lunch) I had never heard of. I rarely find myself in this part of town and you’d really need to be looking for it to notice it, so I’m not surprised. But it’s a great little place with seating half inside and half outside on a patio with flowers growing overhead. It’s relaxed and seems like a popular lunch spot both for locals and foreigners.
The buffet costs Rwf 3,000 which is on the more expensive end as far as you standard buffet goes. But, while small, it has a good selection of hot and cold dishes including a couple salads and other cold veggie options (onions, tomatoes and cucumbers). Fish in a yummy sauce and your standard hunks of beef were there as was white rice, potatoes and spaghetti. There was also a potato salad and an aubergine dish. The mayonnaise salad dressing you seem to see at buffets was there too and it was really good.
If you’d rather order off their menu then your choices are limited to toasted cheese sandwiches of various varieties (cheese and ham Rwf 1,900, cheese, ham and aubergine Rwf 2,200, cheese and tomato Rwf 1,900), or regular sandwiches (salami Rwf 1,700, ham Rwf 1,700, cheese Rwf 1,400). You can get omelets as well for Rwf 1,700. Pizza at this pizza place is only for dinner, I guess.
Mangaroca has a relaxed vibe and it’s a nice spot to stop in for a coffee for Rwf 1,000 (cappuccino Rwf 1,500) or a milkshake (Rwf 1,700) to escape the relative craziness of that part of town. The bar area is tucked inside and you can get a half litre of wine here for Rwf 5,400 which is one of the cheaper places in town. Apparently the place gets lively on the weekends and the patio part turns into an impromptu dance floor.
I feel like I’ve discovered a hidden little gem here although I’m sure the reality is that all of Kigali has known about it all along. Either way, I like it. Good service, nice atmosphere, handy location, and affordable. I’ll have to come back for pizza, wine and dancing one of these days!
Hours: Daily: 9pm – Late
Phone: 0785 662 230
More Info: Mangaroca on Eating in Kigali