Nestled in a small shopping area, under construction at the time of writing, on a quiet back road in the chic Vallons area, Le Grattié is pleasing to the eye as you approach through the small garden. Subsequent impressions don’t disappoint. The stone clad façade and inviting terrace with its Parisian-style metal chairs are welcoming, and inside an adorable waiting room and a wooden bar give the impression of a careful decoration with hints of the deep forest; wood screens, tree branches with model birds and soft chairs all bathed in shades of ochre and brown. While waiting times can be a little long, the service is generally meticulous and warm. Plus, while you wait there are tasty appetizers (mini pastries and sausage, banana fritters and hot and crunchy bread), fresh juices (orange, grapefruit, passion fruit, hibiscus, ginger, lemon) or beer on tap at 1,500 cfa. For lunch, Le Grattié, has a 7,000 cfa starter-main course or main course-desert option. The portions are generous, served on beautiful wooden plates. Dishes range between typical African options; sauces, brochettes, Cameroonian specialities, as well as some dishes created especially by the chef. We can certainly recommend the avocado and tuna tartar in this category. Verdict? Definitely worth a try.
By far, the top of the main tower dominates the sky upscale of Cocody. Below, the waters of the Ebrié lagoon make you feel in harmony with the nature; welcome to the Hotel Ivoire Sofitel, the flagship hotel in Cote d'Ivoire. At the outset, the site was a coffee and cocoa plantation. Designed by architect Moshe Mayer, completed in 1969 and renovated in 2011, it has 209 rooms including 41 suites.
Opened in the 1990s, Espace 331 is a fashionable restaurant in the upmarket Cocody area. It's a popular spot with expats and locals alike, and a quiet spot for high quality and rapid local food.
Nandjelet can be a hard find, but it is one of the most attractively-situated restaurants in the city. Take a table beside the waters of the lagoon and watch the sunset and neon lights of the Plateau business district. First time visitors are advised to study our map carefully - head into the traditional village of Blockoss behind Hotel Ivoire, and then it's at the bottom of a narrow-side street. A door in the wall leads to a long corridor and then you emerge in the main eating area on the lagoon. There are frequently live performers in a slightly quirky club-style, but that doesn't detract from the magnificent views, and the food is good quality Ivorian cuisine, though you sometimes need to be a little patient. Nandjelet is a definite recommendation, though it can get a little cool in the evenings.
Housed on the 23rd floor of the principal tour of Hotel Ivoire, the Toit d'Abidjan (Roof of Abidjan) gives a view like no other over the city. This is without doubt one of the most exclusive addresses in the city, though prices are lower than they were in the country's glory days, and this remains a magical place to dine on chef Fernanad Vaz's cusine. At the very least catch a dessert and watch the sun go down.
Jardlyand is something of an oasis in II Plateaux - at the end of a short track, the road opens up to the parking area and then the gardens. Romantic couples tend to prefer the garden tables or some of the more discreet areas at the back, while the main area around the bar has large low tables that are frequently busy at weekends. This is a favourite spot for expats, especially the English-speaking variety and it's a good place to get the inside word on the city from the business people and NGO workers who live here. But the crowd can also be cosmpolitian at what is one of the few restaurants with a pleasant garden in Cocody, and even the occasional pet animal. Don't miss Friday nights when the special is fish and chips, cooked in the British way, and even wrapped in English newspapers, as is the tradition.
Nothing quite signals the authenticity of a good Chinese restaurant than the fact that most of the customers here are Chinese. Filled with lanterns, fish tanks and golden dragons, Le Pekin offers authentic Chinese cuisine with a large menu in an open setting that’s great for large gatherings, though less easy to be discreet. Service can be a little slow, but the food is delicious particularly when it comes to the drier sauces and stir fries.
Opened in 2011, this is a welcome addition to the Cocody culinary scene, with professional staff and a well decorated interior. Inspired by the owners many years in Breton, Ty Breizh (meaning the local gathering spot) village has a good mix of Ivorian and European dishes, as well as the obvious crepes, for those wanting to head up market from the maquis. The lunchtime three-course meal deal is particularly eye-catching at 6,500 cfa. At weekends there are also frequently grills organised – phone/email in advance for details. Friendly staff and a cosy feel ideal for quiet secluded meetings, romantic rendezvous and an escape from the crowd.
The Nuit de Saigon is quite simply THE Vietnamese restaurant, north of the lagoon. With a refined elegance, impeccable service, a variety of dishes and the extensive wine menu, this is a benchmark for Abidjan-residents looking for international cuisine. Popular for business lunches during the week, the restaurant takes on a family feel at weekends, particularly on Sunday evening. There’s the famous shark fin soup, or the duck dishes (especially with pineapple and lychees), or how about the quail, the lobster, the stuffed cockerel, the Vietnamese fondue, the specialised hot-plate grills… The menu has a wider choice of sauces based with a range of meats; pork, beef, frog, chicken or seafood. The food is characterised by a good balance between aromas and taste, with a subtle use of spices. We liked the garden display through the glass walls, the decoration, the welcome, and the discreet and professional staff. Service is quick, though you get prawn crackers while you wait, and there’s a treat at the end of the meal.
La Dolce Vita is a firm contender for serving the finest pizzas in Abidjan as well as having one of the fastest services. You can usual find one or two locals at the bar as you come in, but the widest space is reserved for the ventilated restaurant area. For those who prefer air-conditioned, there’s a wood-panelled inner room, and both areas have several television screens that make this a particularly good place to enjoy that other Italian passion, football. The crowd is a healthy mix of Ivorian families, romantic couples and ex-pat groups, and you can usually find at least one table of genuine Italians, which underlines the authenticity of the food. Diners will frequently be offered a complementary after dinner drink. For those who prefer to eat at home, the restaurant delivers to most of the city.