One of the best things about visiting Senegal’s warm seaside capital is the opportunity to eat outside on the edge of the ocean, salty waves lapping beneath your feet. In Dakar’s Almadies district, which hugs the rocky coastline, there’s a trio of clifftop restaurants that epitomize Senegalese alfresco dining: they’re all relaxed, breezy and brimming with good seafood.
Le Ngor is our pick of the bunch. Sandwiched between the Hotel des Almadies and Chez Fatou – another decent spot to eat – further down the coastline, this restaurant has two open dining areas to choose from. The first is a classic mid-range seafood restaurant, serving up dishes such as shrimp brochettes and salads, while the second is a tapas bar that specialises in platters to share.
Each has its own atmosphere; the seafood spot is a little quieter, and perfect for lingering over long lunches before dipping your toes into the warm water below. The tapas bar comes alive at night and is popular with expats sharing a beer or a tapas tray before heading out for Dakar’s famous nightlife. If you opt for the seafood spot, it’s still worth taking a peek around the door of the tapas bar; that part of Le Petit Ngor is popular with nesting birds, including the spectacularly fluffy ‘Silkie’ species of chicken.
Fortunately, that’s not on the menu. But there are plenty of good options for kids as well as adults, including grilled shrimp, fresh lobster, steaks, Senegalese dishes and fresh, tangy sorbet for dessert. The tapas bar has a choice of eight platters designed to cater to small, large and particularly hungry groups. There’s a bar that serves simple cocktails, local ‘Gazelle’ and ‘Flag’ beers and wine; note that the Muscadet often sells out during weekend lunches.
Service can be a little slow, but the waiters will bring over dishes of peanuts to stave off hunger. But frankly, if you arrive in time to watch the sun set out over the Atlantic, the pretty views will more than make up for it.