Kigali – lovely, lush, and scenic Kigali – is often slammed as East Africa’s least culinary capital. This moniker has become less true over the past few years, as new restaurants, cafes, and bars continue to open up around the city. Brussels Airlines magazine even featured Kigali in their December 2017 issue (starting on page 83)!
Although Nairobi, Kampala, Bujumbura, and Dar es Salaam are all rocking destinations, Kigali has a lot to offer the discerning resident and traveler. Read on for a list of my favorite Kigali spots sorted by neighborhood (Kigali residents – this is for you, and for all those times when you never know where to go that’s close!), and get ready to get hungry.
Kiyovu and Town
Iriba Bar – Located at the Marriott, and serving sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Great for a casual work lunch, even better for happy hour.
Ubumwe Grande – Great views, good wine options, and delicious tuna sandwiches.
Zaaffran – Kigali’s best Indian food (take that, Khana Kazana!). Be sure to try their Bharavan paneer.
The Bistro – Situated on the top floor of the Urban Hotel, offering good views, steaks, salads, and a decent dinner menu.
Bamboo – That restaurant with flashing lights on top of T2000? Yeah, that’s Bamboo. Offers greasy Chinese food, and dang I love it so.
Baso Patissier – Kigali’s newest (and best) patisserie. Croissants, eclairs, and burgers.
O’Tamarillo – Dinner-only, and located on a wonderful chef’s front porch. The menu changes twice a month, and their recent chocolate profiteroles were heaven.
Fat Mama’s – Fast food Indian spot in the no car zone. Make sure to try the samosa chaat and Mango lassi.
Kimihurura is an expat-y neighborhood in the center of Kigali with a whole array of international restaurants, and a lot of them are worth your time.
Poivre Noir – One of Kigali’s best, offers an interesting French and Belgian menu with a lot of unique dishes.
Kimy Gourmand – Crepes, crepes, and more crepes!
Repub Lounge – A Kigali institution. Make sure to get brochettes and their misuzu (fried sweet plantain).
Africa Bite – My favorite chapati in Kigali, and their lunch buffet is a great deal.
L’Epicurien – French, it’s been there forever, and it’s consistently good.
Kiseki – Kigali’s best sushi restaurant.
Food & Go – Take away cafe in front of WAKA’s gym, great salads and smoothies.
NowNow Rolex – New spot offering twists on the Ugandan rolex. Make sure to try their French rolex, serviced with brie and caramelized onions!
Habesha – The city’s best Ethiopian food.
In spite of all the ministries and embassies, Kacyiru used to be a bit of a culinary wasteland. Not anymore! A lot of new spots have opened up in the past few years and they’re serving up some of Kigali’s best meals.
Inzora – Kigali’s loveliest cafe. Always great to wile away an afternoon here, sipping on their natural soda and munching on a grilled cheese. Great view.
Japanda – Their Donburi bowls are one my favorite meals in Kigali. Get the kaarage chicken.
Brachetto – Fantastic vibe, and excellent Italian food.
CasaKeza – Spanish tapas, a lovely cheese plate, and great eggplant fries.
Turambe Shoppe – Delicious and healthy salads, sandwiches, and soups.
Meze Fresh – Kigali’s best Mexican-ish restaurant. Love those veggie tacos and pineapple salsa.
Filini – Inside the Raddison at the Convention Centre, and one of Kigali’s loveliest Italian restaurants. Their gnocchi is a delight.
The Hut – Large menu, consistent quality, and great for a group.
Delizia Italiana – Kigali’s best gelato! I have to do my best to not eat here more than once a week.
Java House – Great cafe, consistent food, and always busy.
Though there aren’t many restaurants in Nyarutarama, the ones that are there are Kigali staples.
Mr. Chips – Kigali’s best casual burger bar. The fish burger is my favorite.
Sakae – An interesting Korean and Japanese combination that’s been around forever, and is pretty consistent.
Via Veneto – Italian, well priced, and well located.
Choma’d – One of Kigali’s most bumping bars, Choma’d has a great happy hour and serves up the city’s best comfort food.
Remera and Gishushu
The area around the Remera roundabout and RDB offers some of the best food in the city.
Tangren – Greasy Chinese food at its finest located next to RDB. Expect your sweet and sour chicken to be bright orange (isn’t it better that way?).
Monmartse – Kigali’s best Korean food, I’m a huge fan of their bibimbap.
Chez Lando – This Kigali institution still cooks up some of the city’s best brochettes.
Sol e Luna – Kigali’s best pizza served alongside a lovely view.
INKA Steakhouse – Great cocktails, even better steaks. This is the place to come if you’re hankering for red meat.
Come Again – Kigali’s best Akabenz (marinated and roasted pig).
Kicukiru and Kibagabaga
J Lynn’s – Located in both Kicukiru and Kibagabaga, this Kigali staple makes the some of the city’s best bagels, doughnuts, hummus, peanut butter, and cupcakes around.
Pili Pili – Great view, good pizza, and a lovely vibe on a weekend.
Caimen – This Kenyan BBQ still makes my favorite grilled chicken in the Kigali.
The lively neighborhood of Nyamirambo is full of bars, nightlife, and a lot of great views. The long main road has a lot of small local bars which makes it a great place for a pub crawl and some fun food adventures.
Panorama 10 to 2 – Their big fish, roasted potatoes, and brochettes are perfect for a big night out.
Green Corner – It’s a hard toss up between Green Corner and 10 to 2 for the city’s best big fish; they’re both so good!
Chap Chap – Easy, fast, and cheap chapati wraps.
Ok, Kigali-ites! Did we name most of your favorite spots? Did you like seeing them sorted by neighborhood? Let us know in the comment section!