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It came from the sea
Daniel Neilson

It came from the sea

The ocean's bounty dominates Ghanaian cuisine, with gratifying results - the seafood is fresh, tasty and, mostly, sustainable.

Written by
Daniel Neilson

As the African sun rises over the Gulf of Guinea, the long wooden fishing boats begin to dot the horizon. Slowly they grow in size, the shapes on board becoming increasingly defined. Two masts at either end of each vessel, with flags flying. A fleet of fishermen returning from a night of toil. On the bridge in Elmina, their families stand in wait. The previous evening they would have counted the boats out; now they count them back in again. And as they dock in the harbour, the cogs of daily commerce shift into motion. Vast quantities of anchovy, langoustine, mackerel, barracuda, shrimp, lobster and yellowfin tuna are noisily traded and sold to be cooked and eaten. The following dawn, it all happens again. This is a story that plays out every single day across Ghana’s 528-kilometre coastline, as well as on Lake Volta. Small fishing canoes, often with an outboard motor, account for 60-70 per cent of Ghana’s daily fishing catches and employ some 150,000 fishermen, with a further half a million people involved in its trade. In short, Ghana’s fishing industry is hugely important… and that’s great news for us, the consumers. The fruit of the sea is abundant and tasty. 

Most restaurants have a superb fish offering, whether it’s specialty seafood restaurants such as Captain Hook’s, street food stalls, or even pizza restaurants: Mamma Mia’s, for example, offer a fantastic seafood platter. And while upmarket venues may need to import some of their sushi-grade fish, what’s clear is that Ghana looks to the sea for its finest food. One of our favourite dishes, kontomire stew (particularly good at Buka) is a delicious dish of fish or meat, bursting with peppery flavour – it’s mixed with spinach, fried onion and dried ground shrimp. The later an ingredient in the ubiquitous shito sauce.  Another of Ghana’s great mealtime staples is tilapia, a tasty, grilled river fish served with banku. Wherever you eat, fish will likely be on the menu… and it’s likely to be delicious. 

Our top three fish places to eat are: 


This airy restaurant in Osu serves up some of the best traditional West African dishes, many of them fish-based. The grilled tilapia (a river fish) is excellent, as is the kontomire stew. It’s also the place to try food from Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo and Senegal. 

Big Milly’s

West along the coast at Kokrobite Beach is Big Milly’s, a popular backpackers’ spot on an idyllic stretch of coastline. The fishing boats land right on the beach and provide the restaurant with exceedingly fresh lobster.   

Urban Grill

This upmarket restaurant has always maximised local ingredients, fusing them with flavours from Latin America and other cuisines. Dishes include ‘squid three ways’, West African king crab, and grouper and mokeka risotto.

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