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    Aug 2013 · Grant Martin

    In case the upstairs venues at Mega Plaza are too fancy for your taste, there's an outdoor patio just outside...

    In case the upstairs venues at Mega Plaza are too fancy for your taste, there’s an outdoor patio just outside of the mall that’s a great alternative. The plaza is a series of a half-dozen restaurants that have banded together to share the same outdoor space, a collection of maybe 75 plastic tables collected under connected awnings.

    Restaurants around the perimeter range among Lebanese, Chinese, Nigerian and western food, with a juice bar and no shortage of booze. Prices are very reasonable as well, with many dishes from around N 500 and large bottled beers around the same price. Food is simple and palatable, and runners shuttle back and forth between restaurants carrying your order.

    The real value of these restaurants isn’t in the food though – it’s in the atmosphere. When I stopped here after a visit to De Marquee there were two dozen patrons in the restaurants and a handful of workers lounging around, several watching a football match on TV and the others leaning on counters and staring into the distance. The vibe here is calm and laid back. It’s quiet enough to have a few drinks with friends and have a half dozen beers without worrying about cost or the other patrons. You get the feeling that this is where the 90% eats, but you also feel confident about the quality of the food and the ambiance.

    Bear in mind that you’ll need to bring cash to pay for your fare here. Most vendors neither have credit card machines nor want to deal with fuss of swiping the right credit card. Keep an eye out for the touts as well. Representatives from each restaurant wait at the door ready to pull you into their restaurant – it’s best to either pick your seat based on its spot within the spectrum of tables (you can get drinks anywhere) or its proximity to a restaurant.

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