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.
SAAKAN new location, more central allowing easy access by visitors from Abidjan Nord as well as Abidjan Sud. The spirit of post modern African cuisine is alive and well from Franck and Christelle, whose first restaurant in a different registar, has proved popular. Saakan is African, modern, sophisticated and innovative
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 Allocodrome in Cocody is probably the ultimate spot to take in Ivorian maquis culture in a bustling and exhilarating environment. You can almost guarantee a crowd every evening: middle class Ivorians from Cocody, students, and the occasional tourist all come to soak up the unique atmosphere. While the hygiene levels might not be to everyone's standards, this remains one of the easiest places to meet Ivorians, enjoy cheap good food and listen to local hits. You often get impromptu dancing displays as well.
You get access to the main courtyard through a choice of two doorways that lead into a large open-air zone full of wooden tables and plastic chairs, and several cooking areas where groups of women prepare the food. As soon as you arrive you'll be accosted by people working for the cooks who all want you to place your order at their cooking stand. The best advice is probably just to pick the first person who offers their services, and then stick with them despite the pleas of others! When you take a seat, your zone is managed by someone who takes the drinks orders (you pay for these separately), while the cooking teams operate throughout the zone. Feel free to wander about, watch the cooks at work, and enjoy the smells and sounds. There's the usual range of grilled chicken, fish and beef, served with the local speciality which gives its name to the zone, allocos (friend plantains). Needless to say that you can also order chips, attieke or yams. You'll probably be approached by some children selling paper towels for the table (100 cfa)- feel free to politely say no, although you'll generally find them useful when you finish eating. People will assume you'll be eating by hand, unless you ask for cutlery. Of course it's a great place to just come for a drink as well.
The Allocodrome in Cocody has spawned several copies around the city but this is the original. It grew up in the mid-1980s around a site where the city's women sold the aforementioned allocos. It quickly became popular with the students at the nearby university as well as the children of the rich Ivorian families that live in the neighbourhood.
If the whole experience in the main courtyard is all a bit too noisy and bustling, there's also an outdoor area under the trees opposite the main site, where it's sometimes a bit easier to talk. Outside you'll also find another local delicacy – poulet /poisson piqué ; chicken or fish skewered on a stick and slowly roasted over a wood fire.