Food & Restaurants in Bamako
- Pizzeria de Guido, Rue 250, off Blvd Nelson Mandela. Decent Italian restaurant - just don't expect taxi drivers to know where it is..
Love them or hate them, the French have left one decent legacy in West Africa: bread. Fresh delicious baguettes are ubiquitous, and travellers should not be worried about becoming sick because of the bread.
- Relax: Cafe with some indoor seating and a covered outdoor patio. Pastries, pizzas, sandwiches, steaks and good breakfasts. Reliable food and very casual. Located on the Rue de Koulikoro just a few doors down from the Azar and Fourmi supermarkets.
Vegetarians will have a hard time in Bamako. Asking for a meal without meat will usually be met with the kind of look reserved for children and elderly relatives one does not wish to upset. In a country where poverty is common and food is often scarce, turning down meat is an oddity.
That said, mornings beans, fries, and fried plaintains can be found streetside throughout the city. Morning, noon, and night you can find small streetside "cafes" where you can get a VERY fried egg sandwich and some nescafe. Several varieties of fried dough are also easy to stumble upon. Lunch- Rice and sauce is most easy to find, in local restaurants a plate with meat shouldn't cost more than 500, but can range up to 1,500. Evenings you can find attcheke (cassava dish), spaghetti, beans, boiled eggs, and fries relatively easily.
Meat eaters will be pleased to learn beef and fish are exceptionally good. Beef kebabs and grilled Capitaine, a freshwater fish from the Niger river, are always a good choice. Chicken are usually left to fend for themselves, and tend to be on the scrawny side, especially compared to North-American chicken. Although the situation is improving, you might want to avoid disappointment and just give chicken a miss while in Bamako. To avoid food borne illness, stay away as much as possible from fresh vegetables, and make sure your food is piping hot before eating it.
- Hotel Badala, Badalabougou (Second road right after German Emabassy), . Very well run, little known restaurant/brasserie. Excellent food (the Pave du boeuf is yummy). Excellent service. Small pool, outside tables. Near the river. Prices are relatively high for Mali but in Bamako you need a treat sometimes!
There are many restaurants where you can get nice omelette sandwiches for about XOF250.
Many street vendors sell bread, rice, fries, salad, grilled meat; however, use precautions while eating on the street.
- Le Bafing, Quartier du Fleuve opposite the Service d'Hygiène, . Bistrot/Restaurant/Bar in a small street. Eating in a courtyard. Very good and friendly service. Daily special includes local dishes, à la carte steak, fish or spaghetti. Well stocked bar. Recommended. around USD5 for main dishes.
Assalam - ACI 2000 between the obelisk round point and Place Can. Lebanese- good schwarmas, hummus, brochettes- varied menu. Pleasant staff.
- African Grill (Next to Place de l'OVMS). Restaurant serving good authentic African cuisine, on a square just off a main road. Not luxurious but good. Beer and wine are available but, because of the proximity to a mosque, don't be surprised if on Fridays they ask you to keep the bottles out of sight on the floor. They have a second location at the Musée National. c. XOF3000 for main dishes.
- Appaloosa, Rue 311 (In Quartier du Fleuve), .Restaurant and Bar. One of the strangest sights on earth. Malians in velour cowboy hats and vests serve Tex-Mex dishes in the restaurant while blond Russian professional women work the bar. Must be seen to be believed. The food isn't bad either.
- Poularco (In Hippodrome quarter, just off Rue Bla bla). Another Lebanese joint with slightly higher class food than the rest. Nice shawarmas, pizzas, and good mixed salads are on the menu here
Bamako has many Lebanese and Chinese restaurants.
- Bla Bla is where Bamako's upper crust go to relax and have a (expensive) cocktail or bottle of champagne. With a small but delicious African menu, a wide range of cocktails, and cold draft beer - it is one of the most popular restaurants to see and be seen. An entrée here is around $15 US. Also this place frequently has art exhibitions for local artists.
- Le Terrace next door to the Bla Bla is a very large bar/lounge on top of a night club. Very good atmosphere and salsa music, dancing. Good pizzas and other fare.
- Le Relax is a popular Lebanese hangout in Hippodrome with quick food and free Wi-Fi access. Pizzas, shawarmas, and hummus are the stars in this menu.
- Broadway is a Western style restaurant which is pretty much the only place you can find a "real" hamburger with "real" cheese. Also on the menu are breakfast burritos, chicken wings, and shakes. Great if you are missing the comforts of home. Burgers only run $4 without fries but expect to pay up to $12 for a full entrée.
- San Toro is a restaurant serving traditional Malian food and drink - no alcohol, but many ginger, tamrind and seasonal fruit based drinks. There is always live acoustic music there and the ambiance is very relaxed.
- Da Guido just after the Bla Bla Road becomes dirt, is a real Italian restaurant run by real Italians. Their oven fired pizzas are the best in Bamako and they also serve up hefty portions of delicious pasta. Expensive wine flows freely here. Walking into this place you will think you just walked into an Italian restaurant in Brookly with the Roman wall murals and brick floors. A good pizza will run you about USD15.
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