Set behind MUSON (the Lagos Music school and recital hall) opposite the City Mall on Awolowo Street, there are no signs on the roadside that show this restaurant even exists. Enter the Muson centre and walk through the well-manicured lawns and bougainvillea, walk past the first block, then take a right. La Scala is directly in front of you.
It’s worth the effort, for those who do venture here will be rewarded with some of the best French food the city has to offer. From the crabe diable (fresh flaked crab and chili served hot in the shell) to classics like tournedos rossini, the food is classically, deliciously French. It is expensive; however it’s no worse than many of the hotel restaurants that serve as its main competition. Expect to pay around N10,000 per head.
The restaurant is a single-storey brick summerhouse overlooking a well-tended patio area. It is kept well shaded by a variety of potted plants and a magnificent creeper strewn indigenous tree. It is definitely one of the greener spots on Lagos Island. The interior is neither the most stylish nor the most refined in Lagos but that is partly as a result of having been open for longer than most of its competition. Hardwood floors and wrought iron balustrades form an inner sanctum supported by Romanesque pillars (this area can be reconfigured to serve larger parties). Original contemporary oil paintings line the walls and there is the occasional African flourish like the bamboo candles gracing the tables. The bar area has more of a Mediterranean feel and it serves a good range of Italian and French wines.
The food speaks for itself and the staff are scrupulously attentive. My lemon sole with capers was missing capers but nonetheless had a decent beurre noisette. The fish was perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside and steaming hot and tender beneath. If you stop here for lunch it is also worth taking a quick detour to the National Museum directly opposite, which curates a small but interesting collection of Yoruba masks and carvings and Benin brass work.