“Since 1955” reads the sign in this restaurant. And yes, le Rallye is something of an institution in Cote d’Ivoire, even before the country gained its independence. The spirit keeps something of that history; the black and white photos showing Abidjan in earlier days, the large terrace, tiles, arcades, fans, all harking back to former times. The restaurant has a real family feel, making it a home-from-home for the regulars who pass their days at the bar. The crowd has a good mix though; long-time expats, young NGO workers, tourists, businessmen and security agents. The menu has a decent variety with regular brassiere-style items as well as Ivorian specialities, all with a good quality-price ratio. The food isn’t pretentious but has an honest quality and the portions are generous (except perhaps the mozzarella salad). All served without delay and with a smile. Highlights on the menu include the meats and sauces, the superb balsamic salad dressing, poached eggs, pizzas and the bolognaise sauce. We also like the newspapers, the little shop for things like cigarettes and biscuits, and the atmosphere during live football matches, when games are projected onto the wall.
Kalliste was what the Greeks called the island of Corsica, meaning ‘the most beautiful’, and this restaurant and its Corsican owner Mario specialise in the island’s cuisine, albeit influenced by the recently arrived Sicilian chef Salvo. This is a long way from the city’s maquis; a bar provides a good place for an aperitif or a chance to read the daily newspapers while waiting for the food to arrive in the adjoining restaurant room. The interior is quite unlike anything else in the city, and with its unusual cuisine and cosy atmosphere this place has a particular charm. The alcove-tables, benches, little red curtains and assorted lamps and candles give an intimate feeling to the main eating room, where the waiters provide impeccable service. Things change in the bar, where the regulars pass their time, served by charming bar maids to music from the 70s. It makes for a sort of warm chalet feel. It’s also a place where you can eat really well; Italian pasta, meats, Corsican wines, a start of anchovies and pepper, the house steak, minced chicken and basil, generous salads, melt-in-the-mouth grills and of course the desserts. Not the place to visit for those on a diet, but a great stop for lovers of good food.