Dimly lit, with glossy wooden floors and soft velvety booths, Japanese restaurant Fuji is a sumptuous hideaway in Dakar’s downtown district. Better yet, the sushi is spectacular; diners say it’s as good as that in New York or Paris.
As you enter the restaurant, contained behind a sleek gray facade and heavy door, you might hear whispers. Yes, the other diners might be commenting on your outfit – Fuji is a fashionista favourite – or they might be discussing high-level politics or sharing global intelligence. Thanks to the discreet booths and smooth service, almost everyone from West African heads of state to actors, celebrities and secret agents has flexed Fuji’s chopsticks.
There’s a decent wine list, sake and warm bowls of edamame beans to start, but the spicy tuna salad – a regional favourite – is often the first dish to pass through diners’ lips. Built from fine cuts of sashimi, shredded greens and a spicy sauce, it’s not one to miss.
Next up, there are impressively fresh cuts of salmon, fat maki rolls and crispy, spicy delights. The sushi surpasses the hot dishes, which include teriyaki and tempura. And although the chefs are mostly Filipino, Fuji beats Dakar’s other Japanese options hands-down. So much so that some diners jet in from neighboring capitals for a fix of the ginger-wrapped rolls.
Of course, such decadence comes at a price, and Fuji isn’t cheap by Senegalese standards. Dinner with wine for two will set you back around US $100.