Places to eat in Benin

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    PILI PILI: A VERY GOOD MEAL - COTONOU

    by DAO Written Apr 23, 2012

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    My guidebook said this was a good restaurant and I must say I had a nice meal. The surroundings are an airy tastefully decorated, open area with some nice ceiling fans. The temperature was exactly right. The service was friendly and I was given a nice dish of popcorn and peanuts while I waited for my food. A nice cold Flag beer arrived and I managed a few postcards while my dinner was prepared.

    My starter, a mixed tuna salad, was fresh and tasty. I ordered the Poulet Yassa, having absolutely no idea what it was. What a great choice! This is a chicken dish from Senegal. It is made by marinating the chicken with onions and lemon or lime (lime in this case). The chicken itself was a little on the thin side, but reflect the local chickens I guess. Once I had it off the bone and mixed with my rice I was amazed at just how good it was. They also have a good wine selection and several desserts made from local fruit. Main meals are around 4700CFA (7€, $9).

    All in all, a nice meal.

    They are open for lunch and dinner.

    Please note: If your motorcycle taxi does not know the restaurant, ride with another. Its down a side street. My driver took me straight there for 250CFA.

    Favorite Dish:
    A niced mixed salad with tuna to start. Poulet Yassa with rice for a main meal. All washed down with some Flag beer.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Seniors
    • Food and Dining

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    Le Livingstone: Ex-Pat Place in Cotonou

    by lalikes Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Want to find some comfort in Cotonou? Head over to Livingstone's in Haie Vie. Near the airport and Novotel Hotel is a little slice of home in Benin. We only had drinks there but heard the food was good. There are peddler's trying to sell their goods while you dine/drink but when you said no, they moved on. Not a big deal. Safe area at night and many bars and restaurants down the street as well. Tell Leticia, the cutest gal with the best service there that we said hello. And she said she's from Togo. And their bathrooms were good, too.

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    Thai Thanh II: Thai in Cotonou

    by lalikes Written Apr 11, 2010

    Who would think that Thai would be good in Benin. Yummy. Thai owner. No one speaks much English here so get your pointing finger and smiles out. We had 2 beers, crab fritters, rice, curry chicken for 12,000 cfa's. Service was okay. I think they were intimidated by our "American" presence as were we. Just smile and fake it. That will go a long way.

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    Royal Garden: Indian in Cotonou

    by lalikes Written Apr 11, 2010

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    Formerly named Indiana... not sure why. Being from Indiana in the U.S., it just seems odd. It was a nice welcome from the heat and hustle and bustle of Cotonou. The owner, from India, was welcoming and genuinely happy we were there. Staff were great. Food was good but we expected it to be spicier. There is a patio outside. It was too hot to sit out there for us. We ordered samosa's, chicken vindaloo, 4 beers, large water rice and naan. Total about 13,000 cfa's.

    Nice place down the street from Le Livingstone.

    Favorite Dish: It was all good.

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    Fresh Mangos

    by janiebaxter Written Jun 4, 2009

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    At the time of my visit the Mangos were just coming into season and the trees were full of almost ripe Mangos. Everywhere I looked the roads were lined with Mango trees, villages were full of Mango trees. If only I had been a couple of weeks later…….

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    Cassava

    by janiebaxter Written Jun 3, 2009

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    Cassava is a root vegetable, similar to a yam that is grown and eaten widely in Africa. It has a high starch content but unfortunately no protein value, and forms around 30% of poorer people’s diets in West Africa as it can be easily grown and stored.
    As well as being boiled and eaten as a vegetable it can be made into flour, called tapioca, or pounded into foufou. It can also be dried, enabling it to be stored for future use.
    You can get Cassava served with vegetables and meat sauce in restaurants, it tastes a bit bland but no worse than our potatoes! It is more often found in the villages where people are poorer and use it as a staple food.

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    Freshly Baked Bread

    by janiebaxter Written Jun 2, 2009

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    Most of the bread in Benin is the French style bread which is extremely popular everywhere and widely available.
    On the route between Dassa Zoume and Natitingou we passed a small roadside village where women were baking fresh bread, to sell in the market. Our driver wanted to stop and buy some so we did.
    It had just come out of the big oven and was cooling down so smelled and tasted delicious!
    If you are driving this route keep your eyes open for the big clay oven by the side of the road and you may be lucky enough to arrive at baking time, which is mid morning.
    We paid 100CFA (about 15 pence) for a French stick.

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    Cashew Nuts

    by janiebaxter Written Jun 1, 2009

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    Cashew Nuts grow wild in Benin on the trees along the roadside. My trip was in March and we had missed the main season but could still find a few cashews on the trees.
    Benin produces a very small amount of the world’s cashew nut crop – about 3%, which is sent to India for processing.
    You can buy fresh ones from roadside sellers.

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    Roadside Cafes

    by janiebaxter Written Jun 1, 2009

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    On our journey from Cotonou to the North of Benin we passed a few small roadside cafes where women were cooking food for passers by along the main road. We stopped at one of them so my driver and guide could get a meal but Alex didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to eat here in case it made me ill. So I waited by the road while they enjoyed a meal of pounded yams, goat curry and local cheese. Apparently it was very good!
    You will pass a few of these places along the main roads between the big towns. Whether you decide to eat there I suppose is up to your own judgement. I think he would have let me eat there if I had insisted, but I decided it’s not worth risking being ill at the beginning of the trip. I would have liked to try the local cheese though! See picture 2.

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    Anyone fancy Rat?

    by janiebaxter Written May 31, 2009

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    Agouti is the common name in Benin and nearby countries for a large grasscutter rat that is often eaten. These are widespread in the wild and live in woods, fields and farms throughout the country. When you travel to the North of Benin, shortly after leaving the coastal area it is common to see men standing by the roadside holding out an Agouti by its tail, indicating it is for sale to eat.
    Agouti is very often on the menu in restaurants served with a spicy sauce and rice. The taste is very strong and gamey and the flesh is firm bordering on tough, nowhere as tender as the Guinea Fowl. It is worth giving it a try to satisfy curiosity but once was enough for me as the tender flesh of the Guinea Fowl is much nicer.
    (Agouti is not the correct name for this animal, but that is what it is known as. Agouti's are only found in South America)

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    Costs of Food

    by janiebaxter Written May 18, 2008

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    I ate dinner in hotels and lunch in restaurants - all were better class places and I had excelent food. Some of the best places I ate were the Songhai centre in Porto Novo where all the food is grown on the plantation there so is mega-fresh, the Auberge Grand Popo, and the Hotel du Lac in Cotonou. I have to say I didn't eat a bad meal in the 8 days I was in Benin.
    Costs in good hotels are about 2000 to 4000 CFA for dinner or lunch (€3 to €6) and similar in the restaurants.
    Beer was around 1300 CFA (€2) and mineral water varied greatly from 400 CFA to 800 CFA (€0.6 to €1.2) The most I paid was a whopping 1500 CFA (€2) in the hotel du Port in Cotonou.
    There is plenty of food available for sale, particularly fruit and vegetables and chickens. Fruit and most vegetables are reasonably priced but meat is expensive and it must be difficult for ordinary people to buy it. Prices of course depend on where you are - if you are near the coast or the lake fish is cheap.
    In the voodoo ceremonies it is normally chickens that are sacrificed as these are the cheapest. Sometimes goats are used.
    Here are some examples of costs -
    Pineapple 100 CFA (€0.15)
    Mangos 5 for 100 CFA (€0.15)
    Bananas 300 CFA for a bunch of about 12 (€0.45)
    A rabbit 3000 CFA (€4.5)
    A sheep 40,000 to 70,000 CFA (€60 to €107)
    A goat 40,000 to 70,000 CFA (€60 to €107)
    A cow 70,000 CFA to 150,000 CFA (€107 to €230)
    A chicken 1,000 to 3,000 CFA (€1.50 to €3)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Lots of Fresh Food

    by janiebaxter Updated May 4, 2008

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    The food in Benin is excellent. I was very surprised at the quality of the food in the hotels and restaurants and the quantity of fresh food available everywhere I travelled. The climate in the South, where my trip was mostly based, allows an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetable of all types to be grown – Mangos, Pineapples, Bananas, Carrots, Rice, Potatos, Beetroot, Cabbage………the list is endless.
    The French have left a legacy of delicious freshly baked bread.
    The many lakes, rivers and the coast means a plentiful supply of fresh fish, and the variety of fresh meat is amazing – I had pork, pigeon, lamb, chicken, beef. You can also get great pizzas and pasta dishes and even curry!
    Mineral water and cola are widely available as well as fresh fruit juices. There is a good choice of imported and local beer. The one I preferred was the local Beninoise. The local gin is called Sodabe and is made from palm trees and Cassava. It costs 1200 CFA, less than 2€, and is said to be very strong - I didn't try it.
    All the places I ate had a very high standard of cooking. Individual restaurant tips will be added to the pages of the places I visited soon.
    This is one holiday where I did not lose weight!

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  • Le Teranga: Lovely food

    by WheezyPeeps Written Mar 15, 2008

    I ate in a few restaurants but Le Teranga has to be one of the best. I've tried a lot of things on the menu & not had a bad meal yet! If in Benin you should make it a restaurant to eat at! They also have an internet cafe at the back of the resaurant, the food is priced well.

    Favorite Dish: Brussetes de bouf (sp?) with plain rice was the best meal i had there also chicktouk (sp?) was really good aswell.

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    Le Stables du Roses: Only restaurant at the border

    by ajayzener Written Jan 14, 2007

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    When we were travelling to Niger by road, we had to spent the night at the Malanville border. The border is secluded, with not much traffic and Malanville is a small town. We tried to figure out whether we can find any hotel to stay and that is when for the first time we landed up in Stables du Roses. It is run by a european couple, there are rooms available for one to stay and the restaurant is also good.

    We made it a point to stop here on every trip of ours.

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    Indiana: Indian Delight in Africa

    by ajayzener Written Jan 8, 2007

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    Indiana is in Cocotiers. This is a purely indian restaurant. The food is good and is any Indian's favourite in benin. The interiors are not plush, but then it is cosy. It is open for lunch and dinner and is closed on mondays.

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