Nigeria Restaurants and Dining

(Nigeria, NG, West Africa)

Aerial view of Lagos and its stadiumNigeria's dining scene is changing at a rapid pace. Whilst traditional food is still the staple of Nigerian restaurants, international cuisine is just as likely to be available. Nigeria is also witnessing the rise of all-day fast food.

If you're planning on eating out in a restaurant at Lagos and Abuja, expect to pay a premium. Restaurant food in these cities can cost twice as much as other similar dining establishments elsewhere in the country.

Picture of the Obafemi Awolowo University campus

When to Eat / Opening Hours

Many Nigerian eateries serve both lunches and evening meals, although a few open only for evening service. How late restaurants stay open varies quite widely, with some dining venues opting to close at 22:00, and others carrying on serving until 23:30 or even later.

Fast food and take away chains open all day long, from around 07:30 or 08:00 in the morning to 21:00 or 22:00 in the evening.

What to Eat

As you'd expect from such an ethnically diverse country, the sorts of dishes enjoyed in Nigeria vary widely. It's certainly difficult to highlight any one dish as being a 'national dish'. In the north of Nigeria, typical ingredients include beans and rice, while kebabs are popular here. In the east, cassava and yams are particular favourites. On the Nigerian coast, seafood stews are an important part of the daily diet.

Safe to say, though, there are certain types of meals that can be found pretty much all over the country. Soup features heavily in the Nigerian diet and it's usually possible to choose from a variety of traditional recipes, including okra soup, owo soup and bean soup. Nigerian stews are generally fairly spicy and accompanied by a staple such as rice, pounded yams, cassava or corn.

Further photo showing Obafemi Awolowo University and its spreading campus

Where to Eat

Diners in major cities such as Lagos and Abuja can choose from a fairly good selection of restaurants. As well as traditional African cuisine, Lagos in particular can boast a multitude of international restaurants serving everything from Italian and Indian dishes to Chinese and Caribbean cuisine.

Outside of the larger towns and cities in Nigeria you are more likely to find smaller restaurants called chop houses. These tend to offer good value, with menus including a variety of locally inspired dishes.

Fast-food restaurant chains are becoming increasingly common in Nigeria. These usually serve a Nigerian version of fast food, although the way they work and the type of food they serve is very similar to those found outside of Africa. Cafes, bakeries and bars are alternative places to enjoy locally produced food. Some may have outdoor seating areas.

Dining out at street food stalls is an experience that shouldn't be missed during your time in Nigeria. In fact, it's hard to avoid being offered food if you're travelling around the country, whether it's snacks as you stop to refuel your car or if you're browsing in a local market.