10 Best Restaurants in Kigali, Rwanda

Rwandan food specialties including sambaza and plantains

Antoshananarivo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

In the minds of many visitors, the Rwandan capital is still associated with the horrors that took place here during the genocide of 1994. However, Kigali has since enjoyed a renaissance, becoming one of the continent's safest and most attractive capitals. Rich native culture and an influx of foreign expatriates also make it incredibly multicultural, which is reflected in its diverse restaurant scene. From Ugandan street food stalls to Italian trattorias and Asian grills, there are options for every palette. In between meals, a thriving café culture beckons, inviting you to sample some of the best locally grown coffee Africa has to offer. 

01 of 10

Best Overall: The Hut

A quesadilla from The Hut

Courtesy of The Hut

Address
KG 646 St, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 783 419 980

Conveniently located in a secluded spot behind the Kigali Convention Centre, boutique hotel and restaurant The Hut is widely regarded as one of the best places to eat in the capital. Guests attribute its success to its friendly, laid-back atmosphere, exceptional staff, and inventive menu. Expect a truly international selection of dishes, with past specials ranging from Turkish lamb kebabs to French pork chops and Tuscan stuffed chicken. Each dish is given a uniquely Rwandan twist with the use of locally grown and organic ingredients. Whatever you choose, it will taste even better with a cocktail in hand on the outdoor terrace, overlooking impressive views of Kigali’s lush hills. The Hut is open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. seven days a week and caters to vegetarians as well.

02 of 10

Best Rwandan: Repub Lounge

A plate of food from RePUb Lounge

Courtesy of Repub Lounge

Address
16 KG 674 St, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 788 388 333

Head to Kigali’s vibrant Kimihurura neighborhood to sample authentic, high-quality Rwandan food at the popular restaurant Repub Lounge. Decorated in contemporary African style with bright, locally made furniture and artworks, this is the perfect place to come early and soak up the atmosphere while sipping a Virunga beer or two at the bar. Then, treat yourself to Rwandan favorites, including sambaza (tiny fried fish indigenous to Lake Kivu), matoke (traditional green banana stew), roasted goat, or fish steamed in cassava leaves. If there are several in your group, opt for the African-style shared dining menu, with a selection of starters, starches, meat, and vegetarian dishes served banquet style to your table. Repub Lounge opens from midday to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturdays. 

03 of 10

Best Fine Dining: Fusion Restaurant

Dining room of Fusion

Courtesy of Heaven Rwanda

Address
5 KN 29 St, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 782 000 001

Part of luxury boutique hotel The Retreat, Fusion Restaurant enjoys an idyllic location next to the hotel’s rock gardens and saltwater pool. It’s the destination of choice for culinary connoisseurs, with a fine-dining menu that brings the culinary traditions of Italy, Mauritius, and Morocco to life using distinctly Rwandan ingredients. Many of these are harvested from the restaurant’s own organic garden. Seared scallops or banana flower salad to start, perhaps? Followed by a Mauritian Nile perch stew or a fillet of pan-seared Rwandan beef. All dishes are exquisitely plated and served with great care by the attentive staff, while the drinks menu features premier South African wines and imported liqueurs. Fusion Restaurant opens daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and offers cooking classes, cocktail demos, and banana wine workshops as well. 

04 of 10

Best Street Food: Now Now Rolex

A plate of food

Courtesy of Now Now Rolex

Address
2 KG 2 Ave, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 780 458 158

Located close to Repub Lounge in Kimihurura, Now Now Rolex is a much-loved local hotspot for trying a street food classic from neighboring Uganda: the Rolex. Instead of an uber-expensive wristwatch, the term, in this case, means whipped egg, tomato, onion, and cabbage rolled inside a soft chapati, then served piping hot in a tin foil wrapper. Now Now Rolex, with its colorful setting under a lean-to roof and in front of a brightly painted mural, has expanded on the standard version with Rwandan, Italian, Mexican, French, Greek, and Full English variations that have customers coming back time and time again. Don’t feel like a Rolex? Try a Texan chili or one of several tasty soups or salads instead. The street stall has some seating and also serves local coffees, beers, and cocktails. 

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

Best Italian: Brachetto

A dish from Branchetto

Courtesy of Branchetto

Address
KG 5 Ave, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 786 406 524

Brachetto is located near the U.S. Embassy in Kacyiru and offers the perfect blend of class and coziness—making it just as suited to a sophisticated lunch with friends as it is to a romantic candlelit dinner. In good weather, be sure to eat on the terrace overlooking the tropical garden. The menu is known for its inventiveness, with food pairings including prawns and mango purée; or strawberry and feta salad. Homemade pasta is a specialty, with past diners raving about the lamb ravioli and the seafood linguini. Brachetto rewards wine enthusiasts with a curated menu of over 100 labels from Italy, France, and South Africa. The restaurant opens for lunch weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. every day except Sunday. 

06 of 10

Best French: Poivre Noir

Dining table at Poivre Noir

Courtesy of Poivre Noir

Address
KG 670 St, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 787 686 753

Kimihurura’s Poivre Noir is one of several French restaurants in Kigali and is often rated the best. Those in the know love it for its elegant decor (featuring plenty of exposed wood, upholstered leather, and shimmering glass) and picturesque hill-view terrace. The service is impeccable, and the clientele reflects a truly cosmopolitan blend of locals and expatriates. Join them for fine French and Belgian fare, from cheese croquettes to beef fillet, mushroom risotto, and indulgent chocolate mousse. As with any good French restaurant, there are plenty of sophisticated wines and cocktails to choose from, although some reviews suggest that the wine list is on the expensive side. Food, however, is both generously portioned and well priced. Poivre Noir is open every day except Sunday for lunch and dinner. 

07 of 10

Best Asian: Soy Asian Table

Bowl of shrimp stir fry

Courtesy of Soy Asian Table

Address
37 KN 14 Ave, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 789 099 859

If you’re in the mood for Asian fare instead, stroll past Poivre Noir to Soy Asian Table. With its eclectic table settings, beautiful gardens, and colorful decor, this lively restaurant brings the East to the Rwandan capital and specializes in authentic Chinese and Thai food. Sample something of everything via the extensive dim sum menu, or opt for a bowl of aromatic Thai soup. Mains range from Thai classics like green curry and cashew chicken to Chinese staples like kung pao calamari and tofu in Szechuan sauce. Whatever your tastes, with a seemingly endless array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find something to your liking. The restaurant opens from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. 

08 of 10

Best Indian: Khana Khazana

Dining tables

Courtesy of Khana Khazana

Address
9 KN 31 St, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 788 499 600

There are two Khana Khazana restaurants in Kigali: one in Nyarutarama and one in Kiyovu. Both are jointly hailed as the best places in town for satisfying your curry cravings—especially if you have a penchant for authentic Indian flavors served in a laid-back setting with plenty of ambiance. The menu is extensive, with ample choices for vegetarians and vegans and oversized portions. Unusually for Kigali, food is also served quickly, making Khana Khazana a great option when you’re ravenously hungry. Particular crowd-pleasers include the mutton rogan josh, the butter chicken, and the perfectly cooked naan bread, followed by a glass of cooling mango lassi on the balcony. Both restaurants are open daily for lunch and dinner, from midday to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Best American: Mr. Chips

A burger, fries, and bottle of coke on a red table cloth

Courtesy of Mr. Chips

Address
Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 784 557 420

Also in Nyarutarama, Mr. Chips is something of a cult favorite among American ex-pats and locals with a passion for American culinary culture. Often hailed as serving the best burgers and fried chicken sandwiches outside the U.S., the fast-food joint operates out of a humble hole-in-the-wall building painted in a violent shade of yellow. There are a few plastic tables outside, although most patrons purchase their food to take away. Opt for a classic hamburger, go fancy by adding tasty toppings such as bacon and blue cheese, or take a slightly healthier approach with a felafel burger or wrap. Sides include perfectly cooked chips and coleslaw, while non-burger options range from wings to pizza. Mr. Chips opens every day of the week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

10 of 10

Best Café: Shokola Café

Outdoor patio

Courtesy of Shokola

Address
KPL Rooftop,, KN 8 Ave, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone +250 788 350 530

We don’t want to assume that people passionate about coffee also enjoy reading, but if that’s true for you, you’ll love Shokola Café. Located on the top floor of the Kigali Public Library, it’s an airy space with wood-paneled floors and a beautiful, garden-view balcony. Start your day with an expertly brewed mug of Rwandan coffee, or meet friends for a languid lunch. The menu is health-forward and international, with a wide selection of wraps, salads, paninis, and smoothies. There are also plenty of hot options if you choose to come back for dinner. That’s if you can be tempted to leave—the café welcomes lingerers with shelves full of books to borrow and a choice of comfy chairs. Shokola opens from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. 

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10 Best Restaurants in Kigali, Rwanda