Party time! Whether it's for a Christmas party, a special family event or a hot date, this is the time of year to really splash out. These are our picks of the best restaurants in Accra for a celebratory meal.
Despite some stiff competition, not least of all from the same group in the form of Urban Grill, Santoku remains Ghana’s best restaurant, if not West Africa’s (wealthy people from Lagos have been known to fly over for dinner). It’s a world-class experience with the best staff and a blend of well-executed and inventive Japanese dishes that go well beyond the sushi and sashimi dishes (although these are fabulous). It was originally set up by a Nobu London executive chef and it’s stayed along these lines. Highlights include slow-cooked beef fillet with spicy den miso and ponzu and smoked whisky-marinated beef Kushiyaki with Jaku sauce and black garlic. Wow. It’s not cheap, but the lunchtime set meals offer a pretty good deal. Santoku also serves some of the best cocktails in town, including ‘saketinis’, best enjoyed on their new, supercool terrace. There’s a private dining room that seats up to 20 people.
Conveniently situated close to the centre of Osu, Buka is, without question, one of the best lunch spots in the city – and more often than not has full tables to show for it. Set on the first floor, it gives a sense of escape from the throng, with lively music and wraparound wooden trellises adding to the ambience. The food itself hinges largely on Ghanaian and Nigerian specialties – dishes include okra stew and eba (a dough ball eaten with stews). Try and avoid peak lunch hours.
Burger & Relish is Ghana’s first gourmet burger restaurant and cocktail bar – and what a place. The interior is vintage industrial design, quirky urban art and curiosities together to create an eclectic East London/Soho New York style vibe. If you enjoyed Meat Liqour or Honest Burger in London, you’ll be at home here. There has been careful attention paid from everything from the playlist to the drinks menu, to offer a good time vibe. The bar focuses on signature cocktails, especially rums. Spice Island is Havana three-year-old rum, ginger syrup, fresh pineapple, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon juice and soda, while the brilliantly-named Lesser of 2 Weevils is Mahou Beer, ginger beer spiked with Havana three-year-old rum and Havana seven-year-old rum float. The non-alcoholic drinks are super refreshing too. But it’s the burgers everyone is talking about, especially the Smokin’ Jo, a quality beef patty with smoked crispy bacon, cheddar, the 14-spice house barbecue sauce and mayo. For sides? Well it’s worth coming for the deep fried pickles and blue cheese mayo alone. The Jollof Rice Balls with Shito mayo is are pretty special too.Vegetarians can get the chickpea and coriander patty with chimichuri, B&R slaw, garlic mayo, or perhaps the mushroom, onion and garlic burger. Such is the dedication to the burger cause, you’ll be given a questionnaire for your input in the quintessential ingredients that would make up the burger from your country and it’ll appear on the mnu. The Ghanaian In
This new venue is a great addition to the Labone eating scene. It is the kind of place that takes the marbling of its beef very carefully and therefore the kind of place we like. The gourmet burgers are a popular choice, but the reassuringly limited menu also includes local fish such as grouper and lobster, as well as dishes such as milanesa, rosemary chicken and chicken satay. The aforementioned marbled beef cuts are from Australian Black Angus. Sides of green salad, French fries and market vegetables are extra. Also try the ceviche if it’s on. There are sandwiches at lunchtime.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest restaurant of all? The shiny new Urban Grill is one of the most talked about restaurants in Accra and for good reason: the food, the décor, the ambience are all superlative. It is located at Icon House, a new building that also hosts equally-hyped Coco Lounge, Vida e caffé and La Maison, all from the same team that started Santoku. This group of eateries is seriously raising the bar in Ghana for food, service and interior design. So what of Urban Grill? At its heart, it is a high-end steak house. The meat is corn-fed and imported directly from Nebraska, and cooked over a charcoal grill to perfection. It’s the best steak in Ghana. At the helm in the kitchen is Andrew DiCataldo who cut his teeth at Patria in New York City where the New York Times said: “Mr. DiCataldo can splash color and flavor all over the plate – what’s the point of nuevo Latino if you don’t – but he has a fine, disciplined hand. He understands subtleties.” . As good as the steak is, the menu really gets interesting when he fuses his Nuevo Latino passions with local ingredients in dishes such as squid three ways, the amazing pork belly with kumquat glaze on crispy fried cassava or, his signature dish, the plantain-encrusted grouper. The desserts highlight is the sticky toffee pudding. The staff strike the right balance of being attentive while giving you time and space. Be sure to pop in a bit early and grab a dry martini or their deconstructed Bloody Mary, which
Papillon Restaurant is a vibrant Mediterranean-inspired all day dining restaurant. Offering and showcasing flavours that travel the Mediterranean region from Spain to the Coast of Southern Italy in a casual and contemporary atmosphere. The daylight flooded restaurant got its name from the butterfly-shaped roof and is located at the 3rd floor adjacent to the Pool and Cedar Terrace. A wood fired pizza oven welcomes the guests
From the leather bar seating to the tilework in the private dining room, the attention to detail in Coco Lounge is quite amazing. Local artist Nana Anoff has installed pieces alongside thoroughly modern and brave design touches, as you’d expect coming from the same stable as design store La Maison next door, which also curated the restaurant’s interior. The pizza oven is dressed up as an old Italian truck and a sight to behold. Incredible space for sure, so what about the food? The tight menu of mains includes sandwiches, burgers and fish and chips. Plus there’s a wide range of salad dishes, rice bowls and that wood-fired pizza. But what's really amazing is the price. For an experience like this, it's all very reasonably priced – popping in for a weekday lunch doesn't seem remotely extravagant. Oh, and don’t forget the home-made ice cream and cakes. The focus on detail continues through to the food – renowned New York chef Andrew DiCataldo has designed the menu as well as that of the flagship Urban Grill. Our burger was on a brioche (thank heavens), and the quinoa salad was loaded with dried fruit and nuts – an inviting sight. The dickie-bowed wait staff were attentive and kind. The cocktail list is also impressive. Meko Martini anyone? It’s Ketel One Vodka with Ghanaian chili. Pow!
Le Magellan is a good dining-out choice, particularly in the evenings when business colleagues, friends and couples convene to wind down at the end of a day. Service is polite and well-practiced, and both the menu – full of pastas, seafood and steaks – and wine list reflect the fact that this remains one of the more upmarket dining options in Accra.
La Chaumiere’s sophisticated French dishes have been catering to Accra’s discerning diners for more than a decade. It offers a smattering of North African flavours for good measure – dishes such as grouper with harissa and mint yoghurt – but the mainstay is classic and honest French cuisine, from a crispy Nicoise salad to a wonderfully thick and sticky onion soup au gratin. It’s popular with visiting dignitaries and Ghanaian politicians.
Set around an agreeably rustic courtyard some five minutes’ walk from Oxford Street, Mamma Mia, now well into its second decade, combines quality thin-crust, wood-fired pizzas with an attractive setting, easily making it easily one of Accra’s best options for Italian food. But it’s not just pizzas – we’d also highly recommend the large and reasonably priced seafood platter. The outside area has a trattoria-like feel, with rough-hewn paving, terracotta tilework and warm, simple decor. Air-conditioned dining is also available inside.
The Ghanaians are fans of Indian food, and Heritage often gets pointed to as one of the best curry houses in the capital. The atmosphere inside is elegant and quiet, with some fabulously detailed Indian carvings on display. The food is equally pleasing, being authentic spicy and taken from a diverse menu of largely North Indian dishes. Service is attentive, but relaxed.