Inka… it means ‘cow’ in Kinyarwanda! Clever. I like the name and I like the restaurant but it’s a place I hardly ever find myself coming so because it lurks in the valley in Rugando. But it’s really not that much of a trek if you know where to go and I’m kicking myself now that I didn’t make more of an effort to come here more often!
I’ve mentioned lots of times in previous reviews that I really like restaurants with smaller menus. Inka Steakhouse is one of these places that focuses on a few things and puts more of an effort into making sure they do everything right, rather than trying to please everyone with every possible combination of food items known to man on one menu. But let there be no mistake – their focus is steak – and they do it very well. Unless you want it medium or rare (ha ha).
Inka Steakhouse is the best place I’ve found in Kigali for trying a variety of cuts of beef. Many places around town offer up a nice filet steak for sure, but Inka Steahouse goes above and beyond by offering that filet mignon (250g – Rwf 8,500) along with other options like sirloin (200g – Rwf 6,500), boneless ribeye (Rwf 6,500), a tasting trio of all three (Rwf 13,000), surf and turf (tenderloin and king prawn – Rwf 12,000), and a t-bone (Rwf 13,500). If you want to kick everything up to the next steak-y level, have some money to spend, and are very hungry then try one of their specialty cuts – tomahawk steak (900g – Rwf 17,000), the bone-in ribeye on the full rib, or their Porterhouse steak (750g – Rwf 21,000). Overall, prices are on the high side but the portions are large and the food is, I think, on par with other better restaurants in Kigali with similar prices like Brachetto, Poivre Noir, and Sakae.
I’m a sucker for a good filet and the thought of ordering a 700 or 900 gram steak fills me with fear so I stuck with what I know. I thought the cut of meat was good and it melted in my mouth the way a fine fillet steak should. And as with any good steakhouse, Inka gives a nice choice of sauce (red wine, green peppercorn, mushroom, whole grain, chimichuri, salsa verde) and sides (mashed potatoes, mizuzu, sauteed vegetables, garlic herb roasted potatoes, ratatouille, creamed spinach). I’m also a sucker for mashed potatoes and a nice peppercorn sauce so that’s what I chose and I wasn’t disappointed. The garlic and herb roasted potatoes also got rave reviews.
If you’re not feeling like a large piece of cow then you can opt for their burger (Rwf 8,000), tagliatelle (Rwf 8,500), or if you’re feeling really crazy they also have salads (chicken Caesar and Caprese, each Rwf 8,000), gazpacho (Rwf 5,500), a soup of the day (Rwf 5,500), and a few other dishes. I visited for lunch and didn’t feel like a huge steak (especially since I was due to go out for Indian for dinner and eating oll that food would have led to maximum grossness) so I opted for the chicken Caesar salad (Rwf 8,000).
If I could think of one of the few sad sides to living in Kigali, it would be my futile quest for a decent Caesar salad and my constant disappointment (which some exceptions – Turambe Shoppe and Iriba Bar, I’m looking at you). But why am I talking about Caesar salads? Who gets a freaking Caesar salad at a steakhouse?? Me!! And Inka Steakhouse actually came through!
Sure, the salad had boiled eggs, radishes, and pickled onions on it – which is weird – but they were more like garnishes. The three most important things were legit – the Parmasean cheese is the real deal, the croutons were gloriously crispy, and the Caesar dressing didn’t remind me of a variation on mayonnaise as with most places around town. Plus it was huge and could be easily shared between two people or maybe even three as a starter. As an added bonus, I asked for some extra dressing and they happily brought out another helping.
Inka Steakhouse is a perfect place to come even if you’re just interested in a drink. They’ve got a cool fire pit type area outside and I really think the place is well-suited for a few glasses of wine or cocktails with friends, especially in the evening and especially when the place a bit more full of other diners to create a bit of an atmosphere. Cocktails start at Rwf 7,500 and go up to Rwf 15,000 for an ‘Ikimasa’ which seems to be some sort of a twist on the boozy Long Island iced tea. The ‘Spicy Inka’ (Rwf 10,000), a mix of spiced rum, apple juice, lemon, and cinnamon syrup, and the ‘Tangawizi Lemonaide’ (Rwf 7,500) with fresh ginger, passion fruit juice, dark rum, and cinnamon syrup both look pretty interesting.
Bottles of wine range from Rwf 42,000 for a rose all the way up to a Rwf 126,000 for something called ‘The Mint’. Most bottles hover around the Rwf 60,000 price point. Spirits are between Rwf 5,000 and Rwf 10,000 per shot and they also offer bottle service for whishey starting at Rwf 100,000 for Jameson and Johnny Walker Black and going up from there. A small Mutzig is Rwf 1,500 and a Heineken Rwf 2,000, so alcohol prices seem to be pretty much on par with other restaurants of the same type around town.
They didn’t have anything chocolatey on their dessert menu but they did have a few interesting choices that I haven’t seen elsewhere including poached pear with coconut rum and dark chocolate (Rwf 8,500), warm bread pudding (Rwf 7,500), and one of the more interesting things I’ve seen on a menu in Kigali – a chef’s special dessert of avocado, cherry tomatoes, and lychee sauce (Rwf 6,000). I’m not that brave so I opted for the coffee trio (Rwf 8,000) which was for sure the least adventurous of the choices. It had a very delicious mini coffee milkshake, a really nice coffee chocolate cake, and a sort of coffee jello that my brain didn’t know how to process but it somehow worked, even though it kept trying to hop off of my spoon.
Service was friendly when I could find the waiter but, as with in many places in Kigali, he tended to wander off. I was sitting right in front of the bartender but she had her head down looking at her phone the entire time so it was impossible to catch her eye. With only three tables of diners in the whole place for lunch it’s disappointing, especially when they have so much going for them. I know a table doesn’t need attention 100% of the time but it is nice to be looked at occasionally.
In order to finish up this review I decided to come to Inka Steakhouse for lunch which might seem like a weird idea but I actually think it’s a great lunch find! My salad came out in 15 minutes and the food for the other two tables came out quickly as well. I was watching, like a creepster. I brought my trusty dining companion, Mr. Laptop, and we spend the afternoon working and enjoying their fast and reliable wifi.
I’ve had good experiences both times I’ve come to Inka Steakhouse and I’m eager to add it to my list of go-to places in Kigali. Have you been? Has anyone had one of their giant steaks? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, Noon – 3pm and 5pm – 11pm, Saturday, 12:30pm – 11pm, Sunday, 12:30pm – 9pm, Closed Monday
Phone: 0780 302 666