Nigeria is a diverse country with many ethnic groups and cultures. Each having its own unique variety of delicacies and Lagos is probably the only city to easily experience this without making a city-by-city trip across the country. Generally the best places to do this are local street restaurants around the city called “Mama Put” or “Buka”.
However, not everyone was built to eat at these local bukas where the food experience is the total focus; with no regard whatsoever for ambience. Not everyone wants to eat in an aluminium shack where you’re not entirely sure whether you’ll live to tell the tales of your amala adventures on instagram. This is why you save Amala Shitta in Surulere for another time.
Ofadaa has pulled together a list of 16 modern buka-type restaurants in Lagos serving the best local cuisines from across Nigeria. Each restaurant on this bucket list reflects a part of Nigeria’s rich food and culinary culture. Go forth and get taste buds cultured!
1376 Tiamiyu Savage street, Victoria Island, Lagos
If you’re planning to take your date to a premier art gallery in Lagos for cultural immersion and also want them to experience the full gastronomic experience Nigeria has to offer, Terra Kulture should be top of your list. The food is great offering local favourites like ofada rice, asaro and efo elegusi with assorted meat.
18B Emmamuel Abimbola Cole Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos
Start with Isi ewu (spicy goat head), you must trust the Ofadaa team on this one. It tastes a lot better than it sounds. Next ask for the house favourite, Banga soup served in a black pot and is made from palm kernel broth, cooked with herbs, spices, pomo (cow skin) and dried shrimps. Congrats on completing the Niger Delta cuisine experience.
Utazi Restaurant & Cafe
217B Etim Inyang Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos
A recent addition to “modern buka” scene in Lagos and under the stewardship of Chef Lolos, Utazi has quickly made a name for itself. The bitter leaf soup here is legendary. Even the EatDrinkLagos duo approve of this joint and they are not easily impressed.
202 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
This appropriately named restaurant specialises in ofada rice served with stew (either “obe ata dindin” or “ayamase”), a unique local delicacy named after a town in Ogun state. Ofada Hut also serves other delicious treats like moi-moi and ogi combo. There is also an outpost on Oyin Jolayemi in Victoria Island.
27 Oju Olobun Close, Victoria Island, Lagos
A longstanding Lagos institution and one of the original custodians of pan-Nigeria delicacies, Yellow Chilli is right up there with Terra Kulture. The signature seafood okra dish is now recognized as a classic and a must have on your visit to Yellow Chilli.
L`Afric Restaurant & Bar
1 Adeola Hopewell, Victoria Island, Lagos
Despite the name, L`Afric is mainly a Nigerian restaurant serving some inter-continental dishes. We suggest skipping the inter-continental menu entirely. Instead ask for the jollof rice with spicy chicken and plantain.
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9 Adekunle Fajuyi Way, Ikeja GRA, Lagos
There’s a lot more to Mainland restaurant scene than just Orchid Bistro. That puts Alalo on the map. But don’t let the art exhibition like decor fool you into thinking this place is pretentious or overpriced. Quite the opposite, the menu includes all the local favourites and food is actually amazing.
7 Wole Olateju Crescent, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos
Making the trip to Terra Kulture isn’t always an option from Lekki, the next best thing is Otres. It does not have the art gallery going for it. However, the delta inspired menu is great and the dishes are Instagram-worthy. The chapman served here is also one of best we have tasted recently.
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OfadaBoy’s Soup Lounge
90 Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere, Lagos
This is a one-stop for soups from all around Nigeria including local favourites like Eforiro, Edikiakong, Gbegiri and Ofensala. The food is great, and the decor is “traditional” which matches the culinary setup. The bowl of palm wine at OfadaBoy is served as the forefathers originally intended, in a traditional calabash.
2 Abibu Adetoro Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Opened in 2015, this low-key restaurant is great spot for sumptuous homemade legendary Nigerian dishes. There is also a lounge area in case you’re in a mood for a little partay.
5B Oju Olobun Close, Victoria Island, Lagos
The decor is a little dated here and probably not the trendiest place to bring a new girlfriend you’re trying to impress. However Old friends that like good local Nigerian food? Absolutely!
11 Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos
Mama Cass is one of the oldies that managed to pivot from “mama put” to the “modern buka” model. The chain restaurant has gone global with a location in London and New York is the next stop. As a result, there are plenty of reasons to come here: authentic buka experience, great local food and attractive prices.
29 Isaac John Street, Ikeja, Lagos
Jevinik is another chain restaurant with locations across the country focused entirely on authentic local Nigerian cuisines. It gets very busy at lunchtime, get there early and make sure you come hungry because the portions are huge here. Making our “stomach infrastructure” great again!
B Hive Restaurant
31 Victoria Arobieke Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos
B Hive is one of those versatile spaces in Lekki – trying to be many things to everyone. It doubles as nice cafe for quick coffee fix or chilli out stop for weekend brunch. Let’s not forget the lounge area and the smoking room. In between all of that, B Hive actually does good food on par with the street bukas we all love.
42A Ogudu Road, Ogudu, Lagos
Labule is really a buka holed up in a nice looking building where you still have to point to get your food selection. Despite the upgrade, the food is just as amazing and still relatively affordable. Ask for Amala with Gbegiri and Ewedu.
4 Eric Moore Road, Surulere, Lagos
Imagine going to Jazzhole and instead of the cafe, it had a buka attached to it, that’s what Afriville is trying to achieve. Our description is a bit of a stretch but you get the picture. We are not so sure Afriville achieved its objective. Nevertheless, this is a great spot in Surulere for buka eating if Olaiya Amala is not an option.