In this Food and travel guide to Accra, I recommend these 3 dishes and 3 restaurants to try in Accra. I based it on my recent trip back home last month and my past experiences. As a reminder I spent a significant part of my life in Accra from Kindergarten to Secondary School. I even worked there for three years and half after graduating from Business School. Accra is my home (read more about me here).
However, my knowledge of Ghanaian food culture was not acquired at the early stages. In fact, although my mother is a well-known caterer (she is one of the people who influenced my passion for food), her cuisine was closer to Togolese than Ghanaian. When I worked in a local bank where the only food that was served for lunch was local, I learned a lot. I discovered banku (fermented corn dough) and grilled fish (at home we only eat banku with okro stew) or Mpoto Mpoto (cocoyam porridge). But I also discovered other dishes that locals eat in the morning before starting work, like Waakye (local rice and beans) or Kenkey with fish stew (steamed fermented dough, so delicious). I must admit what made me fall in love with this rich and diverse cuisine was the context and the stories behind each dish. The origins and the moment of the day when it should be eaten make these dishes even more special!
On the other hand, as a real foodie, I also enjoyed eating out. It was mostly French or Italian or Japanese cuisine that I like to enjoy the most when stepping out (as my mum was cooking local cuisine at home). Anyways let’s get to my recommendations!
3 Must try dishes in Accra
Fufu and goat light soup, palm nut soup or ground nut soup
This dish is also present in other gastronomies on the West African coast like Ivory coast, Togo and Benin. However, the way the fufu is pounded is different. The mortar is flat which forces the person pounding the fufu to turn the dough with its hands, whereas in other countries its deep, so the dough turns by itself. The other difference is what composes the Fufu.
In Ghana, fufu is mostly pounded boiled cassava and green plantain, where for example in Ivory coast it’s only with boiled ripe plantain or in Togo with boiled yam. When it comes to the soup, the main difference between countries would be the seasoning and the consistency (lighter or a bit thicker). However, they are pretty much the same. This dish is known to be from the Ashanti region.
Banku and Okro soup
To be clear you can eat banku with grilled fish or with garden egg stew, however, I and referring to the classic banku and okro soup. Similarly, to fufu it’s a dish you can find on in most countries of the West African Coast from Ivory coast to Benin. Here the main difference will be the seasoning and the way the dough is prepared.
In Togo, the dough is less fermented and softer than in Accra. When it comes to the stew you have different variations: with or without red oil (called Madeshie), thicker or lighter, with spinach or not etc. It basically has to contain chopped oko or okra. My mother does a chicken okro stew to die for, in fact it is my favorite okro stew! But it’s not a traditional dish. Banku is said to be an Ewe dish.
This rice and beans dish looks like something you can eat in the West indies and can be found in Togo and Benin. The difference will be the color and the quantity of beans versus the rice. In Ghana, the rice is cooked with sorghum leaf to bring this burgundy color (it’s removed before serving).
In addition to the rice, you have gari (cassava flakes) spaghetti (typically called macaroni in Accra), fried fish, boiled eggs, meat stew (with goat skin called Wele). I love this dish because it’s served in banana leafs and is so typical of Accra living, it brings everybody together!
3 Must try restaurants in Accra
I discovered this restaurant for the first-time last month and it is hands down my favorite in Accra. You could get lost trying to find the entrance as it’s located under a well-known pub and is quite small. I had to walk three times in front without recognizing it. Once in front, you recognize the English style which raises your curiosity. When you enter the décor is modern and cozy at the same time.
This semi gastronomic restaurant serves delicious food in big quantities (I could barely finish my main dish and shared my dessert!). Can we talk about this crab millefeuille? So good! When it comes to drinks, cocktails were delicious! It didn’t surprise me as the manager Chris Beaney is an old friend with who I have worked in the past. He elevates mixology to the level of art! If you want to make a good impression, this restaurant is your go to place! (Make your booking here)
Probably one of the fanciest and classiest restaurants, I remember when it opened roughly about 10 years ago. We had never seen such a nicely decorated restaurant in Accra! The decor was said to have been designed by Givenchy (wow).The bamboos dropping from the sealing was not something we had seen before.
This Japanese restaurant raised the bar of the Accra food scene. Although quite pricey and not all local Ghanaian could afford to go there every week, it remains a good restaurant for dates, birthdays and special occasions. Make sure to dress smart when going there in case you do not want to look odd! The food and services are good, but the ambiance is what makes this restaurant so unique!
The Mix restaurant
Another restaurant I had the opportunity to try last month was the Mix. It had just opened its doors and hosted Christie Brown’s latest fashion show, so it raised my curiosity. The restaurant is located on the roof a modern building that sells furniture and artwork. I liked the general ambiance that was not overloaded but had a very African modern art feel.
When it comes to the food and drinks, my activated charcoal cocktail was very delicious as well as the mushroom raviolis. The rest was good, I appreciated the effort of the chef who tries to use local ingredients in modern dishes. I could tell he was French as the dessert menu has macarons and éclair au cafés, typical!
Again, this is just my personal experience. There are many other dishes to try, I just listed those that marked my time in Accra the most. I also did not recommend African restaurants in Accra because I usually only eat local food at home or at chop bars (local eateries), however, you can get a full guide from me if you contact me!