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Uganda

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  • jbl Oct 30, 2006 11:43 AM
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As one of the few chowhounds resident in East Africa (at least I think I am) I just wanted to post a few suggestions for anyone who happens to come to Uganda:

Haandi and Khana Khazana--great North Indian places

Arirang--a vast Korean restaurant with an uneven menu

Outlook, Nicodemus, Yakobo's, Rise and Shine--some of Kampala's well-known pork joints

Mamba Point Restaurant and Mamba Point Pizzeria--high-quality Italian food and pizza

Parsi's--Persian good and good kebabs in the mall

Fasika--good-value Ethiopian food, Doro Wat better than their Tibs

Le Chateau--Belgian restaurant with Belgian beer

Two Friends, Gately on the Nile, Black Lantern, Ling Ling--some decent restaurants in Jinja, if you're at the Source of the Nile

Enjoy!

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  1. I've lately been partial to Zanzi pork joint. Used to go to Cave Down quite a bit, but Zanzi's taken over. (I'm in Ntinda so they are close)

    Mamba point definitely has the best pizza I've had here but usually get take out from Zannellos (I think that's the name) in Kamochya which passible. Haven't tried their indian pizza which sound pretty good.

    I liked Sitar for indian in Workers House, but just read today that it closed.

    Usually go to Viva for pallou.

    I like the Shawermas from the lebanese place in the food court at garden city. Have you tried the new lebanese place on as you enter the city from Jinja road (I think right after you reach Nandos but am not sure)

    I'm very interested in hearing of other places to try.

    6 Replies
    1. re: carlhaynes

      I haven't been to Zanzi's--I have liked Outlook because the pork is usually a bit spicy and different, but Outlook is not what it used to be. I'll have to try Zanzi's...

      The Lebanese place on Jinja Rd seems to be owned/managed by the same folks who used to manage the one near KPC in the Park Royal shopping arcade that closed--it's ok, but I don't know yet whether it really gets many customers for Lebanese food, seems to be more of a fast food joint at lunch

      On the upscale side, there is also Krua Thai just off Acacia Ave, which is usually quite good, and a new Punjabi Restaurant, just on Acacia and part of a big complex

      On the cheaper side, there is a very nice place to sit by the lake and eat fish in between Abayita Babiri and Entebbe, called Cafe Victoria, although it is not clearly signposted, but it's right off the road. There is also an Eritrean food tent in Kisementi near the Gapco Station, my wife has been there and liked it a lot

      I had some pretty good pilao in Bakuli, where is Viva?

      1. re: jbl

        Viva is across from City Square downtown.

        I've completely missed the Eritrean place and I stop by Kisamenti all the time as I usually shop at the Millenium Supermarket there. I'll have to give it a try.

        I liked the Thai place except for the pad thai which I thought was too sweet. The satays and curry were good though.

        When I'm in the mood for some comfort food, I really like the Mac & Cheese with bacon at Blue Mango.

        Thanks for the tips, I'm always looking for new places.

        1. re: jbl

          On a slow Sunday partly on account of the anti-Asian riots last Thursday, I typed in cafe Viva on google and came across this site. Full disclosure: I am the owner! So discard the rest of this post. The pillao we claim to be "different" - from what? Well, come and discover for yourself, and if you identify yourself as a reader of this website, I'll knock 20% off your bill. Must be desperate, right? The riots were scary, but don't let that deter you from visiting Uganda, those were just hooligans. Nothing like Idi Amin, and I was here in 1972 as part of the Asian expulsion. Cheers! Vali Jamal, economist, etc.

          1. re: jamalv

            Hello from a traveller in Kampala, where I am staying for another two weeks. Tonight I took advantage of the Special Chowhound Discount at Cafe Viva, which is across a central green downtown (City Square). I was quite pleased to meet the owner, Mr. Jamal, and had a very nice chat during our dinner about his experiences. It was neat to hear some of his exploits on three different continents!

            So, to the food: Abundant and super-reasonable (especially with the more than generous discount). My dining partner ate EVERYTHING on her plate, and I was amazed, as there was so much food I was bursting. The chicken pillao is quite tender, and the goat was well-executed (did not have the goat-y odor that I usually steer clear from). We also had homemade chapati, which my partner also declared as excellent, and she scarfed down all the avocado salad (familiar to us from the States as guacamole). And I drank all of my fresh-squeezed passionfruit juice, which is a ubiquitous but lovely juice featured here in Kampala.

            We ate so much that we could not even think about the cakes which were featured quite beguilingly in the first-floor display case.

            I took a picture with Mr. Jamal, but I have a camera from 1987, so it's kinda impossible to post the photo. He's quite neat: PhD from Stanford, a stint at an international economics center in Geneva, family suffered during the Idi Amin expulsion, published a book, and now is a big writer for regional newspapers about Ugandan economics and the oil crisis.

            Mr. Jamal has definitely created a friendly oasis at Cafe Viva where folks will feel comfortable. It's a cute joint, with a second floor balcony and a great view of the green. Lots of people were packing the place, and many of them were indulging in coffee and sweets. Next time I'm downtown, I'll be definitely swinging by.

            I know I sound like an ad, but I'm not being over-the-top. It was fun meeting Mr. Jamal, and my friend and I waddled out of there very full! Of course, the Special Chowhound Discount was quite nice, too!

            Now, onward to the pork places....

            1. re: jamalv

              Well, then I must disclose, that we have met before! I was one of a gaggle of young folk hanging out with a couple named George and Shirley. What a small world! I hope to be back to Kampala to sample your wares again soon.

              (Edit: this is in reply to the owner of Viva)

              1. re: basileater

                Yeah, I wondered where that whole group of Canadians went since the whole of last year. Shirley and George come now and again. Prof John Loxley dropped in 6 months ago. I changed things around. The murals are being appreciated. The biriyani is awesome, the penne in corainder pesto, the guacamole, the pillao...We have a saying: Who'll praise the bridegroom? The bridegroom's mother.

        2. I actually always liked the pizza at Mama Mia at Speke Hotel. Nice thin, crispy crusts with fresh toppings.

          Pork joints are very subjective, that said, I usually ate wherever was closest. I also lived near Ntienda, actually Kiwatule, which has some great places. For great roast chicken stop in the Mbira(?) forest on the way to Jinja and get some pieces roasted on a stick, and don't forget the ngonja. It is a huge hassle as all the hawkers swarm the car, but worth it.

          There are really two types of Indian food in Kampala, upscale dinner places and quick lunch thali places. There are quite a few hidden haunts for thalis off Jinja road by Hotel Africana, all pretty good, and cheap, about 4000/=. For a dinner I liked that place on Tank Hill near the new IAA hospital.

          For take away, I became addicted to Chilli's chips liver. So bad for me, but so good. I also have an addiction to Nando's, but that is from years ago living in Harare.

          I agree with the Lebanese place in Garden City, always good, but too expensive in my opinion.

          Of course for local fare I defered to coworkers who often ordered from people who cooked wherever they could, alleys, the street, etc. If possible try the luwombo. Ask for it at every local restraunt, many will have it, but won't advertise. It is something (veg, chicken, meat, groundnut paste, mushrooms, etc) cooked in a banana leaf over a fire so it gets soupy and smoked.

          1. I would suggest "Ekitobelo" (not sure of the spelling)!! Great place for authentic Ugandan food. I believe it located somewhere after Mulago roundabout towards Kololo. My favorites tho would be the pork joints; great with some Pilsner beer!! :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: jerang

              Haven't seen Ekitobelo but I think I know the area you are talking about. Lately my wife and I have been visiting St Anthonys a lot which has really good luwombo and chicken stew. We've been going there for our traditional food fix.

              Prior to our going to St Anthonys we used to go to Christian Take away which she says has been around since she was a little girl. I can never remember exactly where it is but I think its behind Pioneer Mall or somewhere in that vacinity.

              We've also goon a few times to Faze 2 for pork which is pretty good because it is slow roasted rather than grilled, though I think I still prefer Zanzi overall.

              And definitely I need some Nile Special with my pork, makes it all the more delicious.

            2. This is great to see. Thank you all very much. I am heading to Kampala on 1/21 and hope to try several of these spots; I'll report back on those and any other good places we hit. I leave Kampala for Kinshasa on 1/25. Has anybody been there that could offer any suggestions?

              1. Ekitoobero is on Kitante Rd/Yusuf Lule Rd. The last time I was there, which was a while ago, the food was pretty good and the portions were huge. For matooke and luwombo, the luwombo is pretty decent at the Pearl Restaurant at Nommo Gallery up near State House, although it's a bit of a yuppie place. St. Anthony's is also good, and the Sambo Restaurant which is now down on Nkrumah/Nasser Road used to have a good reputation for Ugandan food as well.

                For pork, a lot of people used to swear by Deep Blue near Wandegeya, although I never ate there, and I've heard it's gone downhill somewhat. I thought Zanzi's was pretty good for the money, though I still think the old Outlook (near Ntinda) was better. Some people also like Rhino near Ntinda but I have only tried the Rhino near Nakulabye, which no longer exists. Has any one been to any of the Nakulabye places recently (like Nicodemus or its neighbors)? Also, Rise and Shine between Bukoto and Ntinda is very popular, but I have never been too impressed

                Sadly the Eritrean place which used to be at Kisementi is no longer. I don't know where it went. Also, there was an Ethiopian woman who used to cook out of her home near the old taxi park, and then the building she was cooking from was knocked down. Does anyone know where she might have relocated to?

                4 Replies
                1. re: jbl

                  That's sad news. I used to eat at the Eritrean tent all the time. I hope those families have moved on to bigger and better things. If anyone finds out what happened, please post.

                  I've also heard that Blue Mango is no more. Living in Bukoto, both BM and the places around Kisimenti were regular haunts for me.

                  Am interested to hear about any new places opening up that might replace these old favouries.

                  1. re: basileater

                    Blue Mango was still around (and going strong) when I left in January. I'm heading back for 6 weeks or so in May and will check it out, it would be a shame if it shut down. My wife and I liked going there because it's a nice atmosphere and it has food she will eat (chicken, chips!) and it was close to home.

                    The Bukoto area is building up rapidly these days, a big shopping center was just put in a little north of it close to the Ntinda crossroads. Sadly no restaurants were in at the time I left (it was still pretty empty except for a good size grocery stores and a couple small shops)

                    There's another big shopping area being built just a little before where Blue Mango and Kabira are.

                    1. re: basileater

                      Oh my god! I used to go to the Eritrian tent all the time, between the gapco gas station and la fountain!

                      yeah they closed, but the woman and the family is still there, they focus on there clothing making shop, opposite the tent so if you want to order food you knock on the door tell her what you want she makes it and then you come back later and pick it up.

                      Blue mango closed over rent/lanlord issues in Feb and the owner went back to England, so far nothing has replaced it which is crazy because it was doing really well!

                      One new thing in kampala, Italian to-go cheap places with food and ice cream are popping up, there are now three they are called "ciao ciao" One in Bugolobi, Kansanga, and Muyenga.

                    2. re: jbl

                      Unfortunate report on Ekitoobero: Went there for lunch today with a Ugandan acquaintance of mine. Semi-adequate service but, lord, the food was ABYSMAL.

                      Chicken luwombo: Dried-out stringy chicken with barely any meat on the bone. The breast had what could arguably be only a 1 mm layer of meat. One sad Irish potato. Interestingly, the Ugandan guy at the next table had a huge portion of chicken.

                      The starches, as usual, were plentiful, but the greens were bitter, and although we asked for more vegetables, they said the beans and such we wanted were "not ready." Nevertheless, my lunch partner had noticed that other tables were being served beans. When she asked, she was told that those other parties had come after us. WHAT kind of excuse is that?!? This is even AFTER we had said we'd wait for the additional vegetable sides.

                      What was the most disgusting was the akalo (steamed millet bread): One small bite and it was COMPLETELY FILLED with GRIT. Like I was eating a mouthful of sand. In fact, it was so evenly and finely distributed that I actually thought for one brief, shocked moment that it was supposed to taste like that.

                      Patrons there were mostly white tourists, and the few Ugandans eating possibly were on government expense accounts. There was no reason we should have paid Ush 30,000 for food worse than what I get daily at the canteen.

                      Maybe their evening grill is better, but I'd say: STAY AWAY.

                    3. Report on my tour of Kampala restaurants:

                      (1) Haandi: Nice atmosphere, although it's in an office building. Good food. I usually don't like Indian food in the States, but really enjoyed Haandi.

                      (2) Khana Khazana: Great atmosphere, good food. Go there to impress your date.

                      (3) Nawab at Garden City: Average atmosphere, GREAT food. I loved it. I actually liked it better than Haandi and Khana Khazana. I am not a stickler for atmosphere, which is always trumped by food quality.

                      (4) Le Chateau: AVOID at all costs! Terrible food, frankly. Overly salty, and completely average and overpriced for what you get. Not terrifically Belgian in my book, although the place is swarming with expats. The homemade pate is good, but somehow gravel got into it, so I was picking tiny rocks out of my mouth (discreetly, of course). I ordered the Flemish beef stew, which is one of their most popular dishes per the waiter, and again was oversalted beyond my tolerance. It required a long drive out of central Kampala, and so if you tacked on the special hire costs, Le Chateau was really not worth it. Go there only if you want to tick it off your list to be able to say that you went there to judge it yourself.

                      1. In response to a number of the previous posts, glad to see that the board has gotten so active. A few notes--Blue Mango is now closed. It has been replaced by a place called the Hideout. For those of you who were referring to Ekitoobero, it's now on Nakasero Rd; I have never been partial to it, but I prefer Nommo Gallery or St. Anthony's for luwombo. Also, please avoid the Indian restaurants at Kabira and the Speke, as they have jacked their prices way up. Some updates on new places I've tried and new ones that have opened:

                        1) Efendy's, a new Turkish restaurant, is now open in Centenary Park. It has pretty good Turkish food, especially appetizers and kebabs.
                        2) New York Kitchen, with bagels that aren't quite real bagels but pretty close, and pizza and other new york dishses, is open in the Garden City mall. It's in the parking lot, not a great locaiton, but a change for those in the mood.
                        3) Joglo Pork Joint, in Kiwatule/Naalya. A big open air pork joint with good pork.
                        4) Saagad (sp?) Indian restaurant in King Fahd plaza. Good place for South Indian and other thalis. Kind of hidden but I had some nice dishes with coconut vegetables and some other interesting things.
                        5) Dewinton Road Indian--these are not new, but are decent thali and goan places near the National Theatre.
                        6) Chinese restaurant in Centenary Park--best avoided

                        The Haven in Jinja is a beautiful place to stay and has decent food.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jbl

                          I am a record producer who has been travelling through East/southern Africa for a few months now and have been in Kampala for a few weeks. I have tried pretty much all the restaurants on this list and am shocked by the comments. Here are some of mine. I am an Italian guy so food is pretty important to me so here goes:

                          1. Fez brasserie at Emin Pasha hotel. Good food and wine list but expensive by local standards. Nice for a treat.
                          2. Best Pizza - Mambo point? dude, I'm Italian - how can you even call that pizza. It is shamefully cardboard, tasteless, terrible. Maybe maybe cafe Roma is decent but the best slice (I think only slice) in town is at New york kitchen or I love New york kitchen or whatever you call it in Garden city. Great Diner type place with real New york city atmosphere (in a parking garage for gods sakes) real killer new york style pizza and calzones, cheap and quick and the only real bagel I have ever eaten in Africa period. Also, terrific Pesto and Lasagna and the only good desserts and milkshakes I have ever eaten in Africa. Eat any of the desserts here. Unreal!
                          3. Krua Thai - Ghastly, horrible food that has wayyyyyyyyyy too much sugar in everything.
                          4. Ranchers - Good burgers, skip the rest of the menu
                          5. Arirang - nice place / doesn't resemble Korean food
                          6. Handi - best Indian in town
                          7. Anything in Centenary Park and especially the Turkish - 2 thumbs way down and food poisening lurks there. Horrible beyond words.
                          8. Blue Mango - closed and there is some other joint in its place with terrible food
                          9. Cafe Ban - don't even think about it. Can't say bad enough things
                          10. Cafe Pap - go for the internet and eat ahead of time. Yuck. ok coffee
                          11. Fang Fang chinese - horrible and expensive.
                          12. Pardis - Persian in Garden City - Fantastic persian cuisine and great rice
                          13. Wok - Garden City - disgusting and I got ill after eating there. Skip it.
                          14. Don't listen to these jag offs and go to any restaurant in Kisemente. they are all just horrible including and especially, fat boyz, crocodiles and the chinese there.
                          15. The food at any of the hotels is terrible with the exception of the Serena where the food is good although not great. They do have a great and cheap lunch buffet that is decent if you are in the mood for that.
                          16. Bubbles steak roll - very good meat. So so roll.
                          17. Kyoto Japanese - will make you crave real japanese food which this does not resemble Depressing.
                          Leaving next week. Believe it or not - kampala has a great restaurant selection in general than most of East Africa and its a real nice place.
                          Tony

                        2. I am a record producer who has been travelling through East/southern Africa for a few months now and have been in Kampala for a few weeks. I have tried pretty much all the restaurants on this list and am shocked by the comments. Here are some of mine. I am an Italian guy so food is pretty important to me so here goes:

                          1. Fez brasserie at Emin Pasha hotel. Good food and wine list but expensive by local standards. Nice for a treat.
                          2. Best Pizza - Mambo point? dude, I'm Italian - how can you even call that pizza. It is shamefully cardboard, tasteless, terrible. Maybe maybe cafe Roma is decent but the best slice (I think only slice) in town is at New york kitchen or I love New york kitchen or whatever you call it in Garden city. Great Diner type place with real New york city atmosphere (in a parking garage for gods sakes) real killer new york style pizza and calzones, cheap and quick and the only real bagel I have ever eaten in Africa period. Also, terrific Pesto and Lasagna and the only good desserts and milkshakes I have ever eaten in Africa. Eat any of the desserts here. Unreal!
                          3. Krua Thai - Ghastly, horrible food that has wayyyyyyyyyy too much sugar in everything.
                          4. Ranchers - Good burgers, skip the rest of the menu
                          5. Arirang - nice place / doesn't resemble Korean food
                          6. Handi - best Indian in town
                          7. Anything in Centenary Park and especially the Turkish - 2 thumbs way down and food poisening lurks there. Horrible beyond words.
                          8. Blue Mango - closed and there is some other joint in its place with terrible food
                          9. Cafe Ban - don't even think about it. Can't say bad enough things
                          10. Cafe Pap - go for the internet and eat ahead of time. Yuck. ok coffee
                          11. Fang Fang chinese - horrible and expensive.
                          12. Pardis - Persian in Garden City - Fantastic persian cuisine and great rice
                          13. Wok - Garden City - disgusting and I got ill after eating there. Skip it.
                          14. Don't listen to these jag offs and go to any restaurant in Kisemente. they are all just horrible including and especially, fat boyz, crocodiles and the chinese there.
                          15. The food at any of the hotels is terrible with the exception of the Serena where the food is good although not great. They do have a great and cheap lunch buffet that is decent if you are in the mood for that.
                          16. Bubbles steak roll - very good meat. So so roll.
                          17. Kyoto Japanese - will make you crave real japanese food which this does not resemble Depressing.
                          Leaving next week. Believe it or not - kampala has a great restaurant selection in general than most of East Africa and its a real nice place.
                          Tony

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: hoho

                            Based on the suggestions of this board, finally tried Cafe Viva for pillao; it was quite tasty and definitely the best pillao I've had in Kampala.

                            In reply to Tony's post above, I think his recommendations are generally excellent, although I disagree about Mamba Point, which is a different kind of pizza but is good. Also, the bagels at New York Kitchen are not real bagels, although they are decent, they do not compare to some of the ones I've eaten in New York or Chicago. I also differ about Krua Thai, although I'm not attached enough to it to defend it too passionately. I'm also puzzled as to how Arirang does not resemble Korean food--Bi Bim Bop is not Korean food? Korean barbecue is not Korean food?

                            The places in Kisementi are lousy, as is Kyoto, and many of the other places listed above. There are a few decent items at Fang Fang, most of the rest of the menu is not very good, however.

                            --jbl

                            1. re: jbl

                              I will try your recommendation about Pillao in my last week here. I am certainly puzzled about how you can compare mambo point pizza with NYK pizza but I am curious - do you like the pizza at Di Marco which is in Garden City? To me that was identical to Mambo point pizza. tasteless. I think maybe you might have tried their bagels on an off day. I was talking to the manager there and she said that they are new so maybe you didn't get them fresh but everytime I have eaten them in my hotel room, they are chewy, dense, tasty and fresh. They told me they use a recipe from New York and they boil em just like they do there. I love em. As good a bagel as I have ever had. Give them another shot, maybe go in the morning when they come out of the oven. (maybe I am just smitten with the manager at NYK. She is cute as Heck)
                              Arirang, yes - the food is technically Korean by name but I am willing to wager these folks are not Korean. It is Korean food but the tastes are not authentic. I only went to fang fang once so maybe I went on an off night but we ordered about 10 things and they were aweful one by one. Especially awful - the peking duck. Wow, new heights of awful. thanks for writing back man. Good eatin. I am sure gonna miss Kampala!

                              1. re: hoho

                                Hey just got back from the Belgian resto called Le Chateau. I had a really fine meal there. Fish brochettes with a creamy sauce and a side of potatoes and veggies. It was fresh, tasty and I washed it down with a Belgian Beer. My dining companion had the steak with a mushroom sauce and she liked it. The tab was high for Kampala though. Maybe that is why it doesn't have very good reviews but I didn't think it was too bad. Still Emin Pasha is better for the money and the atmosphere.
                                Tony the Tiger

                            2. re: hoho

                              Jag offs? How quaint. In any event, no one recommended any place at Kisementi. Unless you have somehow travelled backwards in time to sample the wares at the closed Eritrean place, which was not in Kisementi, but near it.

                              Anyway, I think expectations are different for permanent resident ex-pats and tourists. Tourists can afford to be picky, you know you'll soon be returning home to all the pizza and burgers you want. When you're there long-term and pining for something, anything to remind you of home, previously unappetizing items can become quite enticing.

                            3. There is also a new restaurant and Chinese Tea Garden, on Kololo just a little ways off Acacia Ave. I didn't try much of their food, but they serve various kinds of green tea, which was nice, and there were some very tasty little pastries--the pumpkin cakes were particularly good. It looks to be a very authentic place as almost all the patrons were Chinese. I don't know how their food stacks up but their relishes were very nice and the dumplings we had were passable.

                              1. I just had lunch at a Goan restaurant on Dewinton for the first time. The food seemed relatively authentic, from what I remember of my few meals at Goan restaurants in Bombay. The name of the restaurant is the Coconut Shack, and they have a menu of about ten Goan dishes in addition to other Indian fare. Prices are reasonable; the restaurant is just a modest storefront. Food was (appropriately) spicy and I will try it again. Not great, but a nice change of pace if you're in the food for lots of coconut and chili, and to my knowledge the only real Goan place in Kampala.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jbl

                                  After a number of times at New York Kitchen, the following are my impressions. This is a good place for American exiles who can't wait until they get back to the US for some comfort food. A number of things really work at NYK: the potato pancakes, the bagel chips, the pizza, and the service. The pizza is fairly thick crust, compared to Mamba Point's, but tasty. One slice is a meal. It is New York-style, rather than most of the Italian-style pizza available in Kampala, of which Mamba Point Pizzeria's is by far the best, IMHO, but the pizza at Mamma Mia at the Speke is also not bad. NYK potato pancakes are very tasty, and their buttermilk pancakes aren't bad either. I am not particularly sold on their pesto, and I still think their bagels do not match up to real bagels, because they don't have the crispiness on the outside and the real chewiness of a good NY bagel--they are better than anything else on offer in Kampala but still not up to par. The staff at NYK is very helpful and friendly, and the place is very convenient to visit in Garden City. It tends to get a bit hot inside NYK, so you may be better off sitting outside unless it is a very cool evening.

                                2. There are a bunch of (relatively) new Ethiopian restaurants on the Ggaba Road, has anyone tried them? Dukem, Blue Nile (just off Ggaba Rd in Kansanga), Addis Ababa are the names, none of them look like much, but you never know

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jbl

                                    jbl, Would you be interested in sending a greeting to our homeschool group in New York? I've been running a Foreign Lands Club for almost 5 years now and each country I try to find someone who can give them a little message or insight from the country. The topic our family is covering for Uganda is food, so you can focus on that or anything else you'd like to share about life in Uganda. If you can't, I completely understand. Sincerely -K

                                  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR THIS POST. I am off there next week!

                                    1. I just returned from my trip to Kampala and wanted to share some reports on the places I ate while visiting.

                                      Faze 2: This place kind of has something for everyone, although it has a terribly western menu and is relatively pricey. However, I must admit that I enjoyed the setting and the roast pig leg shared among three people was actually quite delectable. Overall, I think this would be a great place to bring visitors or to go with a group of people.

                                      Haandi: Good but nothing overly memorable. The appetizers were quite good but the mains were a bit commonplace. The kulfi dessert was pretty good.

                                      Fang Fang: Given where it is, I would say this place was very good. The soups and appetizers were well done, the mains were well prepared, reasonably sized, and relatively tasty. The service was extremely attentive and there was a lot to choose from. I though the food was tasty and not too heavy, as Chinese can be.

                                      1. Just to add a few more additions from recent dining experiences:

                                        Pork Joints and Scaled up versions of the same:

                                        Zanzi--Not such great pork the last time--flavor lacking and the quality of meat not so high. However, many friends swear by it so I'd be willing to give it another change. The largest pork joint in Uganda, to my knowledge.
                                        Joglo--Pork continues to be pretty good but could use a little more spice.
                                        Cave Down--Very flavorful pork but not the highest quality of meat
                                        Zone 7--Nice setting but pork not up to the standard of the top places, IMHO

                                        Restaurants:
                                        Ashanti West African Restaurant: Nice Ghanaian restaurant that is one of the few places that serves grilled whole fish in Kampala. A pretty extensive menu and good food in a relatively modest storefront. Excellent fried plantains and good pepper soup with tilapia.
                                        Cafe Ballet: Nice little cafe/restaurant open three meals per day with some pretty decent Jamaican food. Order the jerk chicken spicy, and the snapper in coconut milk and the poulet bacchanal are also worth a try. Good plantains and some interesting drinks and desserts.
                                        A lo Cubano: Cuban food stall in the Garden City Mall. Excellent congri rice, plantains, the main dishes are more uneven.
                                        Just kebabs: Tasty kebabs in a small storefront near Club Rouge.
                                        Enjera: Tasty affordable Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurant on Acacia Ave. The food is much more authentic than other Ethiopian restaurants I have been to in town, so just be aware for those used to more Westernized/Americanized menus.

                                        Alas, the best pilau in town (in the form of Cafe Viva) is no longer available as Cafe Viva seems to have closed.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jbl

                                          Thanks so much for posting. On my way to Kampala next week. Although , since I am with a group, I won't have much say in the restaurants, your post and information are much appreciated.

                                        2. Our Kampala Restaurant Reviews:

                                          A lot of posts flying around regarding the restaurant scene in Kampala and around Uganda - we have just spent 3 months living in Kampala and have made the chow-rounds. Many of the previous posts had good advice and some advice we found to be pretty off. We are a thirty-something couple from New York City.

                                          The dining scene for non-Ugandans is pretty varied, relatively expensive and mostly unremarkable.

                                          TOP FIVE KAMPALA RESTAURANTS:

                                          Arirang: Decent Korean in a outdoor nice setting (avoid their Chinese menu). Solid bi bim bop. Definitely try the whole tilapia red chili sauce. Warning: the karaoke can be a bit loud and annoying (unless you decide to jump on the mic).

                                          Oriental Thai at Metropole Hotel on Acacia: Sit outside and enjoy the decent Thai food cooked by the Thai chef. Try the curries and the whole steamed fish. Green papaya salad nice and spicey. Pad Thai just OK. Much better (and cheaper) here than Krua Thai.

                                          Italia in Bugulobi: Best pizzas and pastas in Kampala. Pizza would be good even if NOT in Kampala. Don't bother with the rest of the menu. Their homemade gelato is very good. Put on bug spray before dinner and sit away from bright lights. Big wine list (but only 2 bottles in stock).

                                          Fez at Emin Pasha Hotel: Very good, creative international fare with a North African bent. Beautiful, chill setting, nice bar area, too. Steak is good (hold the sauce), whole banana leaf fish is very good. Appetizers are all very good. Be prepared to pay! And you will pay more if you try to use Visa.

                                          Handi Indian on Kampala Road: Very good Indian, downtown - reasonably priced, great service. Frequented by Indian and Ugandans. A little tough to spot as it is on the second floor of an office building.

                                          OTHER SPOTS WORTH CHECKING OUT:

                                          Iguana behind Kissimenti: Delicious, African buffet lunch at a reasonable price. Lots of delicious options, veggies, chicken, fish and meat in a nice, chill setting with good tunes. Locals and foreigners like this place.

                                          Ibamba Restaurant at the Uganda Museum: Good African lunch buffet. The outside deck and lounge areas are nice for having a drink and waiting for your food - which if you order off the menu may take a while. Skip their breakfast/brunch.

                                          Bubbles O'Leary: Solid Irish pub with decent food - try the steak roll with a cold beer.

                                          Crocodile in Kissementi: We ate here a lot for lunch, it is fine but nothing special. The menu is Western - so if you are tired of the matoke it is not a bad option. It is nice to sit outside here, but annoying when the pirate DVD sellers harass you while you are eating.

                                          Rocks and Roses near the Surgery on Acacia: Nice, outdoor setting for lunch. Good homemade breads (a little doughy) and nice chicken and fish salads (a little too heavy on the mayo).

                                          Le Petit Bistro on Gaba Rd: A bit of a hike from downtown, but if you are on that side of the world and have a LONG time to sit and enjoy dinner - the food is pretty good, especially their steak (try the fillet with sauces on the side).

                                          OTHERS:

                                          Mamba Point: Lame, expensive Italian. NOT GOOD. We ate there twice and were disappointed both times. The setting (outside) is nice and the Italian proprietors are fine, but the food is pricey and not very impressive.

                                          La Fontaine - Unremarkable food, unremarkable menu, decent setting - not worth the price tag.

                                          Ranchers in the Garden City Mall: Some folks like it, but we found their steaks to be pretty bad. They have a good burger, though. Their butcher shop inside is good though.

                                          Khana Khazana on Acacia: Overpriced Indian. Food is good, dishes are small and the service can be a bit overbearing (Ugandans dressed in Indian costumes). Nice setting though.

                                          Krua Thai: Nice setting. Bad thai food. The dishes are small and the prices are big and the only good thing to eat there is the sticky rice and mango dessert.

                                          New York Kitchen: A pretty bad attempt at NYC staples like bagels and pizza. However, if you like sitting in a basement parking lot, this is the place for you.

                                          COFFEE:

                                          Tough to find decent coffee in Kampala. Try:

                                          - Good African Coffee in Lugogo: European style coffee shop. Nice place to sit - food is good, service is good.
                                          - 1000 Cups on Buganda Rd: They roast their own local beans. Good cup. Takes forever, skip the food. Enjoy the crafts in the shop next door.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: stnbrkn

                                            Le Petite Village in Quality Hill Plaza on Gaba Road (around Kansanga/Kabalagala) is good for coffee.

                                            1. re: stnbrkn

                                              I tried Arirang yesterday and sadly it was the worst Korean food I've eaten. The soonduboo was made with regular tofu, had no spice and a really odd flavor. The Galbee was super dry and the marinade tasted more like Chinese food than Korean. The place was nice and the service was decent, but no Korean staff and the food was awful.

                                            2. Indian Summer in Kabalagala on Tank Hill is absolutely delicious

                                              Zinelo's also on Tank Hill is good, ask for their frequent pizza buyer.. easy to get free pizzas. They're milkshakes are pretty good too! Carlhaynes, the indian pizza is Mumbai, it is good but VERY spicy!

                                              I haven't been to Le Village on Gaba Road in Kansanga, but I hear they have the best steak and eggs in Kampala!

                                              1. Lotus Mexicana Cantina in Nakasero is fantastic! Tex-Mex cuisine with an Asian Twist. Beautiful Garden

                                                1. Just a few updates, since i haven't posted in a long while

                                                  New favorite place:

                                                  Gopala Vegetarian Indian Food, Buganda Road--delicious, spicy Gujarati food in modest surroundings. Not sure what they put in this but it's addictive

                                                  Other new worthwhile places:
                                                  Go Greek--Ggaba Road, in Bunga/Kansanga. something new on kampala's dining scene and i didn't try much but it seemed quite promising and it is only four months old

                                                  Enjera (Eritrean/Ethiopian)--Acacia Ave. not really new but i go to this place all the time. very authentic menu and excellent doro wat, some good other dishes that are not usually found in kampala

                                                  Goretti's Pizzeria (Entebbe). not that new but no prior posts on this. grilled fish and pizza right on the beach, a good setting. plus some burundi bottled passion drink that i get a craving for

                                                  Places I like these days:
                                                  Mama Ashanti (for grilled fish and chicken, jollof rice and plantains)

                                                  Cafe Ballet (for jerk chicken and tilapia, jamaican food and juices)

                                                  Kati Kati (for grilled meats and vegs and breads)

                                                  Mamba Point Pizzeria (for Italian thin-crust style)

                                                  Joglo Pork Joint (Naalya)

                                                  Nommo Gallery (Ugandan buffet)

                                                  Pardis (in both Garden City and Nakumatt--the one in Garden City for good Persian food and Nakumatt for excellent moutabbal)

                                                  Aangan in the Food Court at Nakumatt for Indian

                                                  New York Kitchen (for desserts)

                                                  Le Chateau (for ice cream only)

                                                  If anyone has any ideas for great places that I haven't talked about here, would love to hear them because i don't do as much exploring as I used to.