Travel Guide: Restaurants in Djibouti
Welcome to our friendly, easy-to-follow travel guide for exploring the amazing culinary scene in Djibouti! This small African country, situated on the Horn of Africa, boasts a rich cultural heritage, and its cuisine is no exception. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of Djiboutian restaurants to see what’s on offer!
1. Introduction to Djiboutian Cuisine
Djiboutian cuisine is a melting pot of flavors, influenced by African, Middle Eastern, and Indian culinary traditions. You’ll find a variety of dishes featuring fresh seafood, tender meats, aromatic spices, and delicious sauces. Flatbreads and rice are staple accompaniments, while local fruits and sweet treats make for perfect desserts. Vegetarians and vegans will also find a great selection of dishes to enjoy.
2. Top Restaurants in Djibouti City
The capital, Djibouti City, is home to the country’s most diverse and vibrant restaurant scene. Here are some top spots you won’t want to miss:
a. La Mer Rouge
La Mer Rouge is an upscale seafood restaurant offering stunning views of the Gulf of Tadjoura. With a focus on fresh, local ingredients, the menu includes delicacies such as grilled lobster, shrimp curry, and whole fried fish. Vegetarian options are also available, and the dessert menu features delectable treats like mango sorbet and chocolate mousse.
b. Melting Pot
This trendy fusion restaurant offers a mix of international and local flavors, making it a great choice for travelers who crave variety. Popular dishes include the camel steak, grilled fish with spicy coconut sauce, and the vegetarian-friendly lentil stew. Don’t forget to try their signature cocktails or a refreshing glass of tamarind juice!
Located in the heart of Djibouti City, L’Historil is a cozy, family-run eatery known for its traditional Djiboutian dishes. Must-try items include the flavorful lamb tibs, chicken with spicy tomato sauce, and sambusas (savory pastries filled with meat or vegetables). Round off your meal with a strong cup of Ethiopian coffee or a sweet, creamy fruit lassi.
3. Regional Restaurants Worth Exploring
For a more immersive culinary experience, consider venturing beyond the capital to these regional gems:
a. Ali Sabieh Restaurant
Located in the town of Ali Sabieh, this bustling local eatery is known for its authentic Somali and Afar cuisine. Feast on tender goat meat, aromatic rice dishes, and hearty vegetable stews, all served with a side of warm, fluffy flatbread. Be sure to save room for a slice of halwa, a sweet, sticky dessert made from sugar, butter, and spices.
b. La Palmeraie in Tadjoura
Set amid a lush palm grove in the coastal town of Tadjoura, La Palmeraie offers a tranquil dining experience. Enjoy a selection of fresh seafood, grilled meats, and flavorful vegetable dishes, all prepared using traditional cooking methods. Wash it all down with a cold local beer or a refreshing hibiscus juice.
4. Tips for Dining in Djibouti
Keep these tips in mind to make the most of your dining experience in Djibouti:
a. Local Etiquette
When dining in Djibouti, it’s important to be aware of local customs and etiquette. Many Djiboutians eat with their right hand, using pieces of flatbread to scoop up food. However, utensils are typically available in restaurants, especially those catering to tourists. Remember to always use your right hand when eating or passing food, as the left hand is considered unclean.
Tipping is not mandatory in Djibouti, but it’s appreciated, especially for good service. A tip of 10% is standard in most restaurants, but feel free to leave more if you’ve had an exceptional experience. In smaller, local establishments, rounding up the bill is a nice gesture.
c. Be Adventurous
While familiar international dishes can be found in Djibouti, don’t be afraid to try something new! The country’s diverse culinary scene offers many unique flavors and dishes that are well worth exploring. Ask for recommendations from locals or your server to find the best hidden gems.
d. Dietary Restrictions
If you have dietary restrictions, it’s a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in French or Somali to communicate your needs. Many restaurants in Djibouti are accommodating, but it’s always best to clarify any concerns before ordering. Vegetarian and vegan options are available at most eateries, but the selection may be limited in smaller establishments.
Djibouti’s culinary scene is an exciting blend of flavors, cultures, and traditions. From the bustling restaurants of Djibouti City to the hidden gems of the country’s smaller towns, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Keep this guide handy as you explore the amazing dining options in this captivating corner of Africa.