Simba Cafe


Hello Food KigaliIt’s a supermarket and… (wait for it) … a restaurant! Glory to whichever deity you worship… amazing. You can get your groceries done and then sit down for a meal. Or, if you prefer, eat lunch and then go buy that huge pink teddy bear in the toy aisle that you’ve been drooling over for weeks (I’m assuming I’m not the only one…)

Okay, so moving on to food and service and such. (Not that pink teddy bear purchase options are any less important.) Starting with the service: It’s beyond bad. It’s soul wreckingly bad. If Simba was a haunted house at an amusement park, people would pay to experience the hair-raisingly horrid sensation, okay? I’ve had friends have mental break downs at this place; hair pulling, hysteric crying, French fry throwing… that sort of thing. And I’m not even joking right now. The thing about Simba is that they let you think the service is good (their waiters all smiling and running around, the freakin’ remote control buttons you can push to ask for a menu or the bill), and then they fuck you over. Yes, I said the F word, okay? The gravity of the situation calls for it, so no linguistic judgments please.

Garden Salad - Rwf 1,800I have waited over one hour for a salad at this place. Fifteen minutes for some cutlery. I’ve had waiters tell me they’re out of lettuce, and then after having insisted that I at least get some tomatoes or cucumber or something on my vegetable sandwich, have had the waiter (with an annoyed sigh) come back with plenty of lettuce leaves. WTF?! I’ve had pili pili being snatched away from my table without being asked if I had in fact had time to use it yet. Once, the manager himself reluctantly brought out a bowl of white vinegar, after telling us that salad dressing only is available on the Simba salad. Really? What, the Simba salad was BORN with this dressing or what? There’s no extra container of salad dressing in there somewhere?! Or at least some olive oil you can mix with the vinegar?! WHY, GOD, WHY?! …I’ll stop now before I self induce a breakdown.

So why then, you may ask yourself, do people keep coming back here? Well, my friends, the truth is, the food is actually good, and the prices are super reasonable. Being a person of habit, I always get the Garden salad, and let me tell you, it is delicious! Also, it only costs Rfw 1,800! At breakfast time they have hearty, super cheap omelets, and the coffee is bordering on perfection. Their fish dishes are good, and so are their burgers and fries. I’ve had issues with their sandwiches – they just can’t seem to put the right things on there, but otherwise only good taste experiences. This chicken breast (Rwf 3,500) was kind of nasty… just dry, fried, slightly fishy-tasting triangles of chicken. But otherwise the food is good. The avocado juice is half the price of Shokola’s, but a little watery. They also have good ice cream sundaes.

In conclusion, come prepared to wait a while, but expect good food. And never, NEVER, try to modify your order. Do NOT, under any circumstance, try to ask for onions instead of tomatoes. Never ask for extra avocado. Forget everything you’ve ever learned about the custumer being king, and simply delete the word ‘substitutions’ from your vocabulary. Just DO NOT go there. The steak sandwich comes with cheese, okay? It has been written in the menu, and so shall forever remain that way. Try telling the waiter you don’t want cheese, and you shall surely be doomed. No onions on your salad? Go ahead and try my friend, but you will be waiting an extra half an hour. Most likely at least three waiters will come out to confirm your order. It might go a little something like this:

Chicken Breast - Rwf 3,500‘No onions?’
‘No, no onions. Thank you’.
‘But it says onions on the menu.’
‘Is it not possible to not put them on?’
‘It is on the menu.’
‘You can choose another salad. This one has no onions.’
‘Yes, but it also has kidneys, poop, and peanuts. I don’t want that salad. I want this one, just without onions.’
‘It is not possible.’
‘It is not possible to NOT place onions on top of this salad?’

Ya, you get the point. Just let it go, man… and if my writing it out for you in skit form won’t keep you from trying, then you deserve whatever comes your way.

Hours: Daily, 7am – 11pm
Phone: 0252 570 566
More Info: Simba Cafe on Eating in Kigali

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About Inga

Born and raised in Norway, culturally transformed in the US, and now residing in Rwanda. Studied biology, but teaching English in Kigali while finishing up my Master's, and debating future career options. At the moment starting up a cocoa plantation is at the top of my list, closely followed by founding an improv society. Severely technologically challenged, but somewhat creatively gifted. A great lover of the Universe, as well as cakes and salt. A passionate hater of small concrete rooms.