Over the centuries foreign influences have seeped into Ghanaian culture - from its days as a West African hub for trade with Europe in the 1400s right through to the colonial era and beyond. This cosmopolitan outlook is reflected in its capital city's restaurant scene, where, in the early 21st century, international cuisine is flourishing. Here are Time Out's recommendations on the best restaurants to find the best non-local delicacies...
Set in one of the most prestigious spots in the city, overlooking the Polo Club’s field, Il Cavaliere Pazzo rises to the occasion.It’s also refreshingly understated. Its recently revised menu is unswervingly Italian, with genuine (and genuinely good) risottos, gnocchi and ravioli with spinach and ricotta. The steaks and the grilled fish are also excellent. New items include Gnocchi al Pesto and Scaloppine alla Sorrentina (thinly sliced beef fillet with tomato sauce and mozzarella.
It’s always a good sign when restaurant staff look upbeat and happy. Le Tandem, with its amiable service and slightly hidden-away East Cantonments location, seems to be a popular choice for politicians, diplomats and similarly high-profile diners. The restaurant, with its warm red interiors, sits at the upper end of the scale in terms of its French-influenced menu. Imported options include beef with marrow and sautéed potatoes, confit of duck and veal escalope.
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.
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, reflects the fact this is one of the more upmarket options for a meal out in Accra.
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.
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.
This 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.
Simret: Taste of Ethiopia is located in the quiet Roman Ridge area of Accra It is set out as a buffet allowing you to try home-cooked Ethipoian dishes such as Dor Wot, chicken with a stew made with home made spices, sega wot, cubed beef slow cooked with hot pepper and spices and njerja, originally named for 'teff', an Amharic word for grain. The mix of cuisine caters for vegetarians and vegans. A selection of wine is available, as is Ethiopian honey wine. After your meal enjoy a complimentary Ethiopian coffee or tea with homemade chocolate cake. Reservations required.