Slightly hard to find first time around, this secluded little treasure offers an unprecedented chill-out ambiance. With African décor and John Legend’s voice soothingly streaming from the sound system, a pleasurable evening is guaranteed. If you want more than a drink, however, you do need to spend a little extra— Republika is indeed a step up in price from many other Kiyovu restaurants.
We’ve recently discovered that on Fridays Rebublika has some pretty hard to beat deals on food and drinks. The main attraction for us is the Rwf 5,000 half-carafes of wine served in gigantic jugs. They’re the biggest we’ve found in Kigali (and trust me, we’ve been looking) and at the Friday price, they’re also the cheapest. They’re Rwf 7,000 regularly but I’d guess that, given the quantity of wine you get, that’s still a better deal than most places. As if the wine wasn’t a big enough draw, they also have brochettes for Rwf 3,000 including your choice of two sides. That’s all brochettes… so you can get a chicken brochette plate that’s normally Rwf 7,000 for just 3,000. There are some deals on beer as well and Republika also offer up free bruschetta bread while you sip your drinks.
Despite having tried to watch my spendings (now there’s a hopeless notion for ya), I have ended up eating here many a time. The menu offers both African and Continental dishes, and also has magnificent homemade soups. For a special treat, please try the steak and garlic mashed potatoes. I’ll cost you around Rwf 10,000 but for meat lovers it’ll be worth every franc! The fish here should also be tried, as it is cooked to perfection, a rare thing to find in Kigali.
As one should expect at a place like Republika, the staff are kind, welcoming and eager to please. They will discretely offer you another drink while you’re finishing up the first one, and I have yet to experience a wrong order. The service is also speedy, and if you do have complaints the management are open to discuss a discount – something you’ll rarely find in this city!
I once came here during some bizarre mayfly-mating season, and hundreds of fat buzzing insects poured in from the porch only to be greedily devoured by the salamanders on the walls. Beside this isolated incident, however (which I, in all honesty, found both educational and entertaining) Republika is a serene and peaceful place, filled with warm smiles and excellent music. You’ll find it at the very bottom of the Kiyovu hill – look for a star sign and turn left. Be warned, though, that this might not be the place to go before a night on the town, as the chilled bungalow-feel has been known to lull people into a comatose state.
All in all Republika is a beautifully decorated restaurant/lounge with high quality food and a decent selection of alcohol. Perfect for a wine and brochette-fueled start to a Friday night, a lazy Saturday evening, or a mid-week whiskey to unwind from a busy day.